Cover image for The last man on the moon : astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's race in space
The last man on the moon : astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's race in space
Cernan, Eugene.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 356 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL789.8.U6 A52435 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Eugene Cernan is a unique American who came of age as an astronaut during the most exciting and dangerous decade of spaceflight. His career spanned the entire Gemini and Apollo programs, from being the first person to spacewalk all the way around our world to the moment when he left man's last footprint on the Moon as commander of Apollo 17.

Between those two historic events lay more adventures than an ordinary person could imagine as Cernan repeatedly put his life, his family and everything he held dear on the altar of an obsessive desire. Written with New York Times bestselling author Don Davis, this is the astronaut story never before told - about the fear, love and sacrifice demanded of the few men who dared to reach beyond the heavens for the biggest prize of all - the Moon.

Author Notes

Eugene Cernan is an aerospace executive, consultant and lecturer. He lives in Houston.

Don Davis was a newspaper and wire service correspondent whose assignments ranged from Selma to Saigon and Cape Kennedy to the White House before becoming a New York Times bestselling author. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Robin.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Cernan entered the astronaut corps in 1963, after being commissioned in the navy through the Purdue ROTC and serving as an A-4 Skyhawk pilot. As an astronaut, he had a distinguished career, attempting a long-duration spacewalk on Gemini 9, skimming the moon aboard Apollo 10, and walking on the moon as commander of the last landing, Apollo 17. With Davis' help, he gives us an eloquent testimony of heroic deeds performed by an essentially modest man. He also offers a new perspective on the small-group politics within the astronaut corps, the quirky and sometimes bizarre personalities involved in the space program, the narrow margins of safety on which flights were often launched, and the psychological meat grinder through which NASA and the customs of the time put the astronauts' wives (Cernan's own marriage did not survive). This is the kind of book of which we can hardly have too many--the stories of those who truly did go where no one had gone before. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gemini and Apollo astronaut Cernan, helped by Davis (A Father's Rage, etc.), takes readers with him on one great space adventure after anotherÄincluding Gemini 9's "Spacewalk from Hell," Apollo 1's fire, Snoopy's hair-raising swoop by the lunar surface. Readers experience the agony of life-or-death decision making in the Apollo 13 control room, exult with Cernan and geologist Jack Schmitt throughout the mission of Apollo 17 and meet legendary characters of the astronaut corps and the technical and political leaders who shared their glory. Cernan reveals the risk-taking, competitive personality and oversized self-confidence that drove his success as a test pilot and astronaut. He also acknowledges his failings as a husband to his first wife, Barbara, whom he presents as a quiet, strong homefront heroine who always found the right words in public despite her private difficulties. However, careful readers may see more of Cernan than he intended to display. His admiration and friendship may justify letting Wernher von Braun and Spiro Agnew off the hook for what many consider their political and personal misdeeds, but his unforgiving view of Buzz Aldrin seems to stem from personal animus. Why must the last man on the moon demean the second? ("[Aldrin] came flapping into my office at the Manned Spacecraft Center one day like an angry stork..."). Despite the bad taste of Cernan's words about Aldrin, this is an exciting, insider's take on what it was like to become one of the first humans in space. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Jane Dystel. Author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved