425 pages, 25 b/w photos
In the Shadow of the Moon tells the story of the most exciting and challenging years in space flight, with two superpowers engaged in a titanic struggle to land one of their own people on the moon. While describing awe-inspiring technical achievements, the authors go beyond the missions and the competition of the space race to focus on the people who made it all possible. Their book explores the inspirations, ambitions, personalities, and experiences of the select few whose driving ambition was to fly to the moon.
Drawing on interviews with astronauts, cosmonauts, their families, technicians, and scientists, as well as rarely seen Soviet and American government documents, the authors craft a remarkable story of the golden age of space flight as both an intimate human experience and a rollicking global adventure. From the Gemini flights to the Soyuz space program to the earliest Apollo missions, including the legendary first moon landing, their book draws a richly detailed picture of the space race as an endeavour equally endowed with personal meaning and political significance.
The Gemini program has always been NASA's quiet, superachieving middle child, overshadowed by the space cowboys of the Mercury years and Apollo's lunar prospectors. French, an executive at Sally Ride Science, and Burgess, author of Fallen Astronauts, chronicle the missions on which American astronauts learned how to live in space for more than a few hours; steer a spacecraft around the Earth at almost 20,000 miles an hour; rendezvous with a companion ship; and navigate to another world and return safely. The authors relate that during the early Gemini missions, in the mid-'60s, several crews came close to ending in tragedy before NASA had the bright idea to have Buzz Aldrin practice in a Baltimore swimming pool for the final flight, Gemini 12. The book also covers the Apollo program and the U.S.S.R.'s simultaneous space efforts. Although the authors interviewed surviving astronauts, family members and NASA staff for some fresh material, space aficionados will know most of this saga by heart. For young readers born decades after man last walked on the moon, this is a readable introduction to the first years of America's leap into space.
- Publishers Weekly.
"For both space superpowers, human spaceflight was filled with remarkable triumphs as they strove to place the first person on the moon. There were also devastating tragedies to overcome. Through diligent research and pivotal interviews the authors recount that extraordinary era in this superbly crafted and eminently readable book."
- Rex Hall, MBS, former president of the British Interplanetary Society.
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