Cover image for A man on the Moon : the voyages of the Apollo astronauts
A man on the Moon : the voyages of the Apollo astronauts
Chaikin, Andrew, 1956-
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Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Penguin Books, 1998.

Physical Description:
xv, 670 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
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Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
TL789.8.U6 A5244 1994C Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
TL789.8.U6 A5244 1994C Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked on the moon. Now the greatest event of the twentieth century is magnificently retold through the eyes and ears of the people who were there. Based on the interviews with twenty-three moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, journalist Andrew Chaikin conveys every aspect of the missions with breathtaking immediacy: from the rush of liftoff, to the heart-stopping lunar touchdown, to the final hurdle of reentry.

Author Notes

Andrew Chaikin was born in 1956. At the age of nine, he became interested in outerspace and the moon when Ed White walked in space on Gemini 4. While studying geology at Brown University, Chaikin worked as an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Upon graduation, he began his writing career, and eventually became an editor at Sky and Telescope magazine in the Boston area.

Chaikin has written numerous articles for magazines, including Science Digest, Popular Science, and World Book. Coauthor of the book The New Solar System, the bible for planetary scientists and space artists, Chaikin's biggest accomplishment as a writer is his book A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts. Chaikin spent eight years researching and writing the book, which chronicles the adventures of the astronauts who participated in the Apollo missions. The classic book became the basis for the HBO 12-hour miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon," which was produced by Apollo 13 actor Tom Hanks. Chaikin served as a consultant on the miniseries, and even had a small cameo in one of the episodes.

Chaikin, also a skilled artist, enjoys playing the guitar.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Chaikin believes we have never truly come to terms with the fact that 24 men have left their footprints on the moon. In an effort to document and understand the shift in consciousness that transformed the moon--a celestial body long associated with goddesses, love, madness, and mystery--into a moving target and goal of the world's most sophisticated technology and determined egos, Chaikin conducted numerous interviews with the moon voyagers and their earthbound colleagues who guided and prayed for them. The result is a can't-put-it-down volume that picks up where Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff left off. These portraits of the men who were willing to be more alone than any human had ever been before are vibrant and compelling. And Chaikin meticulously chronicles each Apollo mission in dramatic detail, describing the dynamics within each trio, the emotions of the astronaut who had to orbit the moon alone while his more glorified comrades romped across powdery moonscapes, and the unprecedented, almost unimaginable experiences of the men who gathered moon rocks and watched the earth rise. This account helps us reclaim the awe these adventures originally inspired, the wonder at such audacity, and the now-ingrained image of the beautiful blue-green Earth spinning hopefully in the austerity of space. ~--Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Chaikin chronicles the historic voyages of the Apollo astronauts, from the program's inception in 1961 to the final mission in December 1972. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Science writer Chaikin spent eight years interviewing dozens of NASA flight controllers, engineers, technicians, and especially all 23 surviving astronauts who flew missions to the moon during the Apollo program. Fleshed out with never-before-published conversations taken from declassified on-board voice recorders, his book provides a vivid account of the first era of manned lunar exploration. Published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first landing, Chaikin's insightful telling refreshes the oft-repeated stories of these pioneering flights with new details, anecdotes, and reflections that convey what the experience was like for the astronauts. He also shows that, paradoxically for one of the most intensively reported stories of its time, how little we really understood what happened on that July night in 1969. Reminiscent of Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox's superb Apollo: The Race to the Moon (LJ 6/15/89), this is a highly recommended purchase for both public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/94; see also Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton's Moon Shot, LJ 4/15/94.-Ed.]-Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A well-known writer on space exploration, Chaikin has gathered together everything about the Apollo Program in this book, which took him more than ten years to prepare. In that time he interviewed all 23 surviving Apollo astronauts as well as scores of others involved on the ground. He is able to describe accurately what went on in people's minds at various times, and records the sometimes vicious politics of astronauts eager to get on Moon flights. His six years on the staff of Sky and Telescope prepared him for clear, precise writing, starting with Neil Armstrong's "small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind" on July 20, 1969. Apparently he made close friends among the astronauts; Gene Cernan, Apollo 17, says: "I've been there. Chaikin took me back." The US public stopped watching, and NASA canceled the last two Apollo missions, but, along with Arthur C. Clark, Chaikin believes that the Apollo success will be "remembered a thousand years from now." The book is divided into 13 chapters and illustrated by 47 glossy plates; these include some of the most dramatic shots taken on the Moon. In a long epilogue, Chaikin describes many encounters of astronauts with unusual audiences, both in the US and overseas. Three appendixes treat astronaut biographical information (birth date, education, etc.); persons interviewed (astronauts, astronaut wives, children, engineers, scientists, etc.); and Apollo mission data (Apollo 7 through Apollo 17; dates, crew, purpose, duration.) In the bibliography, Chaikin lists 60 books he found useful. There are 42 pages of author's notes, and a good, 42-column index. The best yet on the Apollo Program. Highly recommended for academic use at all levels above junior high school, and for general readers. T. Page; NASA Johnson Space Center