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

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

by Craig Nelson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143117162
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/27/2010
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 594,709
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Craig Nelson is the author of four previous books, including The First Heroes and Let's Get Lost. His writings have appeared in Salon, The New England Review, Blender, Genre, and a host of other publications. He was an editor at HarperCollins, Hyperion, and Random House for almost twenty years and has been profiled by Variety, Interview, Manhattan, Inc., and Time Out.

Table of Contents

Part I

1 Behemoth 3

2 The General's Command 11

3 Anything but What He Is 17

4 The Sons of Galileo 32

5 Mr. Cool Stone 42

6 Don't Eat Toads 57

7 A Way to Talk to God 71

Part II

8 How the Pyramids Were Built 89

9 Total Cold War 111

10 The Bluff at Nobleman's Grave 135

11 The Fluid Front 145

12 The Transfiguration 180

Part III

13 The Great Black Sea 207

14 The Birth of the Moon 216

15 The Eagle Has Wings 232

16 One of Those Sad Days When You Lose a Machine 237

17 "Mr. President, the Eagle Has Landed" 264

18 To Rediscover Childhood 277

19 A tenuous Grasp 291

20 We Missed the Whole Thing 306

21 Through You, We Touched the Moon 316

22 When All Those Curves Lined Up 324

Acknowledgement 353

Notes 355

Sources 377

Index 395

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Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Booknut62 More than 1 year ago
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.
bookgawker More than 1 year ago
"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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent in all respects, but it is best as a history of the relationship between the Space Race and the Cold War.
Paulslibrary on LibraryThing 19 days ago
Great read on not just the 3 astronauts who made the first landing on the moon, but events that lead up to creation of the Apollo program and all the scientists, engineers, and contractors who developed one of the most complex machines ever built by man.
ASBiskey on LibraryThing 19 days ago
While I am sure the publication of this book near the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing was planned, my reading of it coincident with the anniversary was not. Reading about the history and development of the Apollo program leading up to July 20th, and reading about the actually landing within hours of the actual anniversary made this enjoyable, informative read even better. The Apollo program was discontinued before my memory. All my familiarity comes from the media. I found this book to be the best portrayal that I have come accross. It expresses the facts clearly while conveying the varying emotions of all involved well.I think that this is an outstanding book about an outstanding event.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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mryoda More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RocketTerp More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fantastic, informative, detailed perspective on getting to the moon.
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buchie More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago