Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon

Robert Kurson. Random House, $28 (350p) ISBN 978-0-8129-8870-3
With the 50th anniversary of the trailblazing Apollo 8 mission approaching in December 2018, Kurson (Pirate Hunters) affably reminds readers of the days when America’s dreams and goals lay far beyond Earth’s surface. Kurson sets the stage swiftly: President Kennedy had promised in 1961 that U.S. astronauts would land on the moon, but as the decade drew to a close, the Soviet Union remained the unquestionable leader of the space race. After the CIA reported that cosmonauts planned a lunar flyby late in 1968, NASA altered Apollo 8’s mission. Instead of orbiting the Earth, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders would fly to the moon, orbit, and return. This was an especially challenging journey, because the August announcement meant that NASA’s astronauts and engineers had only four months to prepare. Kurson effectively recreates the era, recalling the tumult of a changing nation, as well as the tension felt by those involved both on Earth and in space, of a mission with little margin for error. Kurson writes in clear, simple language, avoiding technical matters and cryptic NASA jargon to focus on the people involved. Fans of explorers and adventurers will enjoy Kurson’s vibrant, accessible history. Agent: Philippa Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2018
Release date: 04/03/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 565 pages - 978-0-525-58993-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-52700-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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