cover image Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments

Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments

J.L. Pickering and John Bisney. Univ. Press of Florida, $45 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8130-5617-3

In a story told primarily through photos and captions, historian Pickering and journalist Bisney (coauthors of Moonshots and Snapshots of Project Apollo), chronicle 1969’s heady days of “moon fever.” Across 10 well-organized chapters, the selected images capture the country’s mounting excitement; the meticulous preparation of astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins; and finally the moon landing itself and the crew’s return to Earth. Subjects range from the magnificent—the Apollo 11 rocket at sunset or twilight on the launching pad—to the mundane—the astronauts signing rental car forms at a NASA base. Some of the most affecting images are simple portraits of Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins, which amply capture their discipline and determination. In the introduction, Bisney notes that he and Pickering don’t claim to include any new material from space, as all “in-flight photography” has been publicly available since 1969; NASA buffs familiar with such images may find fresh interest in, for instance, those of the astronauts enduring a 21-day isolation period after their return and then being feted around the world. The reader is left with an ample sense of the astronauts’ fame and, thanks to Pickering and Bisney’s wise selections, of their lasting accomplishment. (Mar.)