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Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon

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  • Posted July 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    An Interesting and Engaging Look at Apollo 11

    Craig Nelson's story of the first men on the moon is an engaging read. He provides the reader with a thorough background on the politics and Cold War aspects of the Space Race. He also makes a strong attempt to capture the personalities of those in NASA who were responsible for the America's landing on the moon. Nelson's dynamic account goes beyond the beginning, middle, and end of the moon landing. It finishes by asking some thought-provoking questions about why the Space program has not returned to the moon or explored beyond. Rocket Men is a good nonfiction read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2009

    an epic achievement!

    "what is the purpose of going to the moon?"
    "what is the purpose of a new baby?" says wernherd von braun, cited in this spectacular book. "We find out in time."

    craig nelson, from the vantage point of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, answers that question most eloquently and, along the way, evokes the historical, cultural, and scientific forces that made it possible (and even necessary). I was a teenager in 1969, and i well remember that breakthrough moment (and just as vividly, john glenn in space, which we watched on a grainy black-and-white TV in my elementary school classroom). But beyond those memories i've known almost nothing about the space program and its important place in American (and my own) history. Until now.
    Coming in 1969, when our nation was painfully culturally divided, Apollo 11 was probably the one achievement that could unite Americans in pride. (Sure, there were objections: Remember the Gil Scott Heron song deploring the state of our inner cities, punctuated by the refrain, "And whitey's on the moon"?) But looking back at the past four decades, has America done anything else to warrant the same swell of love and gratification from all bands of the political spectrum? I don't think so!
    Beyond reminding us of this greatness, Nelson shows us just how heroic the pioneers of space had to be. Certainly, until i read this book, i had no grasp of the tremendous human dramas that underlay these epic achievements. ROCKET MEN tells the stories of both the scientists and the astronauts of Apollo 11 in realistic (yet romantic) detail that filled me with long overdue admiration and gratitude.
    this book so blew me away that i was surprised to see some negative reviews on here. weirdly they come from scientists, who i'd expect to be glad to hear their usually unsung achievements lionized. how sad that these readers missed not only the forest (the great cultural sweep of this book) and also the trees (the heroes that animate it) because of their microscopic focus on a few blotches on the leaves (details that no average reader cares about AT ALL--in fact, the eyes of most of us glaze over at the technical parts. Too bad for them--and too bad that they're upholding the the UNFAIR stereotype of scientists as data-crunching geeks, aloof from life).
    I gave this book five stars because it is history that can grab you like fiction.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2009

    One of the best books of 2009

    Excellent in all respects, but it is best as a history of the relationship between the Space Race and the Cold War.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2013

    What it's like to shoot for the stars! There's tons of

    What it's like to shoot for the stars!
    There's tons of behind the scenes stuff here. There is plenty of human emoition in what is a "test pilot" world. It becomes easy to understand that there is a lot more going on then some guys flying a rocketship.
    Still, the story comes down to these amazing guys! Hindsight could be telling us we should have picked a different group. Instead, read about the guys we got for the job and you will know we got the absolute "right stuff"!
    Reads quick and keeps moving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Good follow up if you liked "The Right Stuff"

    Focused mostly on what made Apollo 11 possible, the book not only explains the technical innovations, but also the political motivations that made the space race a priority for the US.

    Entertaining, reads like a train.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    WOW!!!What an enlightening and excellent read

    Despite needing a small bit of editing, this is one of the best books I have read. Simply put. The detail and research is there - and the writing is there. At times, I felt like I was there in the midst of all the happenings. Wonderful story and Nelson gives it good historical analysis and its just due.

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  • Posted December 23, 2009

    Interesting and enjoyable

    Great book. I enjoyed it from the first to the last page. Supposedly there are some technical errors... well, for the lay public, it's not relevent, and they're not easy to find. The book was well written and researched, and revealing; especially to those of us who only knew of the world that already had walked on the moon. I for one took it for granted, but always wondered why we haven't been back. Now I appreciate it... and still wonder why we haven't been back. As a student of aerospace engineering, I also found this inspiring, and a means of making a connection between my studies and my family, who generally don't follow such things. Made for great conversation on big and little topics with the family, as well as among friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Fantastic

    A fantastic, informative, detailed perspective on getting to the moon.

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    The other side of the Moon.

    This is a wonderful book. I was so impressed by the 'back story'. I was just a chold when the walk on the moon happened. This book was educational and very interesting looking into the astronauts lives and the situations faced by all, including NASA.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2009

    Technical Errors

    This book has many technical errors, obviously not written by a scientist or engineer. In places,the text is hard to follow.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 10, 2010

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    Posted January 28, 2010

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    Posted January 13, 2010

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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    Posted July 15, 2009

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