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Apollo 12 - On the Ocean of Storms (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) [Paperback]

David M. Harland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Mar 2011 Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration
In July 1969 the ‘amiable strangers’ that made up the crew of the historic Apollo 11 flight successfully achieved the first manned lunar landing. Several months later, three close friends set off on an even more challenging mission. Free of the burden of making history, the Apollo 12 astronauts were determined to really enjoy their experience while taking care of business. This is the story of their mission, told largely in their own words. Their exploits and accomplishments showed how conservative the inaugural mission had been. With its two moonwalks, deployment of the first geophysical station on the Moon, and geological sampling, Apollo 12 did what many had hoped would be achieved by the first men to land on the Moon. The Apollo 12 mission also spectacularly demonstrated the precision landing capability required for success in future lunar surface explorations. In addition to official documents, published prior to and after the mission, APOLLO 12 – ON THE OCEAN OF STORMS draws on the flight transcript and post-mission debriefing to recreate the drama.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 548 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (3 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144197606X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441976062
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 2.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,134,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David M. Harland lives in Glasgow in Scotland. He holds a bachelor's degree in astronomy and a doctorate in computer science, both from St Andrews, the oldest university in Scotland, which is located on the end of a peninsula and thinks it lies at the centre of the universe. After working in academia and the computer industry, he "retired" in 1995 to write full time on his childhood interest in space exploration. He has published several dozen books, mostly with Springer-Praxis. He has also edited books by other authors. On a personal level, he has a fondness for cats, so long as they don't scratch.

Product Description


From the reviews:

“The book is entitle; Apollo 12 On the Ocean of Storms. Strangely, this is the first time that the full story of man’s first trip to the Ocean of Storms – has never been written down. … Springer Praxis has developed a virtual library’s worth of books regarding space flight. Apollo 12 On the Ocean of Storms is a very worthy addition to this collection … . At 530 pages and with dozens of color images, the book is well-worth … .” (Jason Rhian, AmericaSpace, March, 2011)

“More than 40 years ago Apollo 12 made man’s second Moon-landing, and it could be as long again before humans return. But David Harland is keeping the memories fresh with a series of books covering each of the landings, this being the second. One can relive the whole mission in 500 dense pages from lift-off to analysing the 74lbs of moon rocks they brought back … . Some of the early planning chapters are so detailed … and reads as excitingly as a good novel.” (Reginald Turnill, Astronomy Now, September, 2011)

“Space historian/writer Harland (NASA’s Moon Program, CH, Dec’09, 47-1969) tells the complete story of Apollo 12, from planning stages to travel back to Earth. … this mission was very successful: the scientific objectives were accomplished, and part of the Surveyor probe was returned to Earth for analysis. The book is nicely illustrated with halftone and color photographs. A welcome addition to the library of space history enthusiasts. Summing Up: Recommended. All general readers and undergraduate students.” (J. Z. Kiss, Choice, Vol. 49 (1), September, 2011)

“Harland turns all the minutiae into a ‘you-are-there’ experience. He diligently and unobtrusively provides background and explanation to make each of the step-by-step events interesting, and makes us constantly feel enlightened rather than instructed. We are very lucky to have this fellow turning these volumes out on a regular basis. … I daresay that all readers without exception will find illustrative material of interest here. … Apollo 12: On the Ocean of Storms is a fine case study of an important mission.” (David West Reynolds, Quest: The History of Spaceflight, Vol. 19 (1), 2012)

“I would recommend that all serious space historians find room on their bookshelves for this in-depth retrospective. … The author has drawn on numerous primary sources, including the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, a record of surface operations which includes a transcript of all recorded conversations between the moonwalkers and mission control. … As a stand-alone historical account of an individual mission, the book is one of the best I have come across.” (Peter Bond, The Observatory, Vol. 132 (1226), February, 2012)

From the Back Cover

With its two moonwalks, deployment of a geophysical station and geological sampling, Apollo 12 did what many had hoped would be achieved by the first men to land on the Moon. It spectacularly demonstrated the precision landing capability required for the success of future lunar surface explorations.

Apollo 12 - On the Ocean of Storms

  • contains over 30 page of color images, including high-resolution scans recently produced by NASA from the original Hasselblad film;
  • covers the mission from its planning through to completion;
  • includes conversations among the crew in the spacecraft that were not transmitted;
  • in the definitive 'popular' account of this mission.

This is the first time in 40 years that the story of the Apollo 12 mission to the Moon has bene told in its entirety, using official documents, flight transcripts, and post-mission debriefing to recreate the drama.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic voyage! 19 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an in depth record of the Apollo 12 mission which saw the second lunar landing. Everything is here, all the detail about the spacecraft (some of this was over my head to start with but I did in fact learn a lot); how the mission was planned and carried out; the pinpoint landing that allowed the astronauts to retrieve part of a Surveyor craft that had landed on the Moon two years previously, the trials and tribulations of obtaining samples and the success of the experiments they deployed.
Best of all, for me, it follows Pete Conrad, Al Bean and Dick Gordon on their voyage to the Ocean of Storms, from an electrifying launch to their successful splashdown. This all navy crew famously got along the best of all the Apollo crews and it really shines through here. I had many a laugh at the humerous conversations between the crew and Houston; it is obvious that every one involved really enjoyed being a part of this mission. I met Dick Gordon a couple of years ago and he hasn't changed one bit!
If you like this can I recommend also "The First Men on the Moon, the story of Apollo 11" and "Apollo Eecom, the journey of a lifetime" (written with Sy Liebergot). For Space Shuttle enthusiasts, Davids' "The Story of the Space Shuttle" is another valuable addition to your library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Apollo 12 2 Feb 2014
By Rene
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I call it thle mission that was the "first Real Landing on the Moon" as Apollo 11 was a safe-landing mission - with no real time spend on the surface....only a little over 2 hours. Unfortunately the camera (tv) "failed". The Photos though are interesting if you are interested in the conspiracy-angle of Things to do with the Moon. Check out the visors on numerous photos - looks like a lot of spotlights reflecting the visors (rows of lights) - well that aside - the book tells all one wants to know about this mission - and the detailed conversations and geology on the surface. Really nice format and the photos are good. Harland has done it again. A recommendable job. If you are interested in Apollo - this is a must-have book.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book I've Been Waiting For... 14 April 2011
By Vincent DeSimone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Of all the Apollo lunar landings, I have had the most interest in Apollo 12. This is partly due to the lack of video of the event on the surface but it is mostly due to my deep respect for the three crewmen. They were a perfect match-up. Now, we have a book dedicated to this mission alone and it does not disappoint. David M. Harland is just about the perfect author to tell this adventure and it is a worthy addition to the Springer Praxis series of books dedicated to space exploration. At 522 pages, it is detailed yet easy to read, and it is loaded with color and B&W photos.

I can't wait to read his take on Apollo 14!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book -- full of details I have never read about before 31 Mar 2011
By James Knapper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a great book on Apollo 12, the mission that had so many interesting stories to tell: From a lightening strike at liftoff, to a dusty, pin-point landing, to an encounter with the unmanned Surveyor spacecraft launched years earlier. David Harland has a gift for telling the story of this exciting flight, using material from many sources and perspectives all flowing together into one seemless tale. Also, many of the pictures from the Moon are in color; something I rarely see in boooks about Apollo. The pictures as well as the excellent drawings created by the author are worth the price of admission alone. I own a huge library of space related books from official NASA histories to the Apogee NASA Mission Reports and Praxis books. This is certainly one of the best ones I have had the pleasure of reading. I learned so much I never knew. I can't wait for the next book in the series!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Most Significant Lunar Adventure 28 Mar 2011
By B. Pohnan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David M. Harland has produced a very thorough and readable account of this benchmark Apollo mission. Apollo 12 set the tone for NASA's remaining lunar landing missions. Apollo 11 showed that the U.S. could land human beings on the moon and return them safely to Earth. Only four month later Apollo 12 demonstrated that we could: land astronauts at a specific site; conduct effective, pre-planned geological field trips; retrieve selected artifacts from another spacecraft; assemble and set up a complex package of scientific experiments on the lunar surface.

Harland reaches launch day by page 79. Before this he has breezed through Kennedy's commitment, crew backgrounds, the Apollo program, landing site selection, mission patch design, vehicle call signs, the scientific experiment package, the launch vehicle and crew training. While most of these are standard fare, it is indeed unfortunate that the author did not provide more insight into Apollo 12's controversial landing site selection.

The story of how Conrad, Al Bean, and Dick Gordon might have been the first lunar landing mission crew is retold in a short dissertation. A more obscure, but equally interesting scenario that Harland could have included is: had Armstrong and Aldrin failed to land during the Apollo 11 mission, NASA Administrator Thomas Paine would have given that same crew another shot, on Apollo 12. Had this occurred, Conrad, Bean and Gordon would have been reassigned to the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission.

From launch day to the first "rock fest" Harland spends 433 pages relating the by-the-checklist execution of this most complex and challenging lunar adventure. His somewhat bland, but nevertheless complete, narrative is punctuated by a truly inspired selection of photographs and diagrams, most of which are reproduced with striking clarity. Two gems (for this reviewer) are: a diagram of Al Bean's portion of the command module's control panel (page 108) showing the obscure SCE switch that all but saved the mission during the launch crisis; and an eerie picture of Pete Conrad (page 240) about to descend the ladder onto the pristine lunar surface. As an aside, I do wish Harland had included a retouched image of Dick Gordon's part of the control panel showing the illuminated caution and warning lights after the lightning strike.

Despite Harland's dry style (thank God for Conrad's, Bean's and Gordon's irrepressible personalities), I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I have thoroughly studied this mission (along with one other) over the past forty years and can state that there is no aspect about Apollo 12, of which I am aware, that is not covered in Harland's book. He even cleared up one misconception for me.

That being said, there remain two caveats to consider. One is that Harland ends his narrative far too abruptly. While he briefly discusses the lunar samples collected by Conrad and Bean, he provides no suitable context for what this mission meant to lunar exploration in the Apollo era. He also does not include any follow-up about what happened to the principals of Apollo 12 afterwards. The second is that there is no bibliography. For a book whose content comes from many sources (although, apparently, no face-to-face interviews), it is, to me, unconscionable not to list them in detail.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now we know. 27 Oct 2013
By B. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Very well written account of Apollo 12. This book tells the stories within the story. It gives the details that are often times omitted in these historical events. Maybe a little technical at times, but that's what makes this book interesting. It had to take a lot of research and interviews to get it right and this Author nailed it. The photographs were great. Looking forward to another Apollo mission by the Author.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book from start to finish but mainly for Apollo/NASA fans 28 Jun 2012
By Colin Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mr Harland has done a wonderful job with Apollo 12 - On the ocean of storms. The book takes you from before liftoff through splashdown and ends with some data on the lunar rocks and material gathered by the astronauts during their two traverses.
The book is written in a way that is akin to How Apollo flew to the Moon by Daivd Woods. Its a step by step account of what happened during the Apollo 12 flight but in easy to understand English, even though the book is littered with acronyms (You can't help that when writing a book about NASA).
This is an excellent read. Not quite as good as How Apollo flew to the moon but a close second. The book probably is only for Apollo or NASA fans however. Although well written I don't think the average reader would find it that interesting, If Mr Harland ever decides to write similar books regarding the other Apollo flights, I will definately be in line to buy them.
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