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Gemini Steps to the Moon (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) [Paperback]

Thomas P. Stafford , David Shayler
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2001 Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration
In Gemini - Steps to the Moon, David Shayler, the author, tells the story of the origin and development of the programme and the spacecraft from the perspective of the engineers, flight controllers and astronauts involved. It includes chapters on flight tests, Extra Vehicular Activity (EVA), rendezvous and docking, as well as information from NASA archives and personal interviews.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2001 edition (1 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852334053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852334055
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 572,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the reviews:

"David J. Shayler has written a fascinating book which tells, with a fresh perspective from the end of the twentieth century, the achievements of Project Gemini. His book, which is based on extensive research of NASA archives and interviews with some of the Gemini astronauts, relives the pioneering years of American manned spaceflight." (John O’Donoghue, Astronomy & Space, July, 2002)

"David Shayler has an easy style of writing and an excellent way of putting over what could have been a difficult subject. … With plenty of line drawings and black and white images, this book does the subject proud. It should appeal to anyone with an interest in spaceflight and to those wishing to understand how the US got to the Moon in under a decade from the first crewed spaceflight. … I expect it to become the bible on Gemini for spaceflight enthusiasts everywhere." (Paul Money, Astronomy Now, September, 2002)

"David Shayler is well qualified to write a book about Gemini, and he has succeeded admirably. He deals with the project in all its aspects; the initial steps, the design and planning, the astronauts themselves, the flights … . It is clear that a tremendous amount of research has been involved; the text is well-written, accurate, and very detailed. … serious students and scientific historians will find it invaluable as a reference work, and it should certainly have a place in every scientific library." (Patrick Moore, The Observatory, Vol. 122 (1168), 2002)

"David Shayler brilliantly wrote the essential history of Gemini with his newest book … . a highly entertaining and readable account of a unique program … . The author has ensured the book contains an extensive study of these goals and the flights on which they were carried out. Often the information was completely new to me. … Gemini: Steps to the Moon is a book that I can highly recommend to anyone interested in a little known era in the history of spaceflight." (Kate Doohan, CRCSS Space Industry News, Issue 93, March, 2002)

"David Shayler’s superb history of the Gemini Project is subtitled ‘Steps to the Moon’ … . An up to date biographical index of all astronauts involved in Gemini and its potential USAF developments is incorporated as an appendix. Shayler has obviously researched widely. His history is full of fascinating details that were previously unknown to this reviewer. … With Shayler’s history you need never research Gemini again for it’s all here!" (John O’Dwyer, News Bulletin of the Astronautical Society of Western Australia, Vol. 27 (4), 2002)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Immense detail; good unbiased descriptions. 26 Feb 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A long book, with immense detail of the NASA program which was the proving ground for the subsequent Apollo missions. This is much more an academic book than a coffee-table browser.
Shayler splits the subject into sections which correspond with the aims of the Gemini program - rendezvous, extended duration, Extra Vehicular Activity (spacewalking), etc. and examines each flight's level of success therein. Therefore, there is something of a 'Groundhog Day' feeling as you re-visit each mission more than once throughout the book.
The 'human' angle to the program is best left to other books such as the many astronaut biographies, but Shayler does offer usefully unbiased descriptions of the more dramatic missions: Armstrong's steely recovery of the frightening Gemini VIII and Cernan almost working himself to death outside Gemini IX, for example.
The precision engineering and planning warrants numerous tables of dry statistics, but there are photos and illustrations throughout - about 200 in total, all in black and white.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good 5 Feb 2008
By Birmingham Book Reader VINE VOICE
As someone who is really interested in the Gemini space missions I have found this book very helpful.
It is not an easy read - being rather technical. Which is alright as it is aimed at this level. Many helpful tables and pictures.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Comprehensive Review Of Gemini Available 20 Mar 2005
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gemini was an incredibly important and successful program, but unfortunately is forever cast into the shadows by the even greater achievements of Apollo. There have been several other publications written on the subject of Gemini, but most are official NASA histories that are extremely difficult (and expensive) to obtain. In this book David Shayler documents all aspects of Project Gemini from inception to conclusion. He details not only the technical aspects of the Gemini spacecraft (and spacecraft subcomponents) but discusses the development, testing, and capabilities of the Titan, Atlas, and Agena vehicles which were so crucial in obtaining program goals. Each mission is discussed in detail, and there are many illustrations (including some I have never seen anywhere else), tables, and graphs providing most any information desired.

The book is lengthy, but is never boring, and I reveled in the thorough treatment given to this crucial program, a program that truly was a giant step to the moon. My only critiques of the book are fairly miniscule. There are numerous typographical errors in the text, most of which are quite obvious, so I am rather surprised they slipped through proofreading. There are also a couple of insignificant errors in the crew biographies (notably regarding Armstrong's post-NASA teaching career) that don't dramatically detract from the book as a whole, but would be good to correct in future editions.

I highly recommend this book, and salute David Shayler for writing such an outstanding book on such a critical program.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great material, but oh, those errors! 5 Jun 2009
By Jonathan H. Ward - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I echo the previous reviewers' sentiments about the wealth of information about the Gemini program in Shayer's book. There are diagrams and illustrations in here that are hard to find anywhere else.

What's really frustrating to me, and which I think seriously jeopardizes this book as "the" reference on Gemini, is the number of typos and glaring factual errors. It's one thing to have extraneous punctuation marks, but many pages contain at least one major factual error. This may be due to poor editing, but nonetheless, the person reading about Gemini for the first time is going to be exposed to some blatantly wrong material.

As an example, the first sentence of page 254 says, "The recovery of Gemini 8 would be achieved at a contingency site in the Atlantic, just ten hours after launch." [Error: Gemini 8 landed in the Pacific Ocean, not the Atlantic.] There are many, many other places where units of measure are left off, or reference is made to an incorrect mission.

The other shortcoming of this book is the poor reproduction of black and white photographs. They look like someone printed them out on a home laser printer and then photocopied them.

I do think there's a lot to commend this book for the advanced reader, one who is not reading for accurate historical narrative but rather for technical data, and one who has the savvy to fill in the missing data or recognize glaring technical errors.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything About Gemini 4 Jun 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have always been interested in the Gemini program, yet little information seemed to exist about it. This book is incredibly comprehensive. It does not read like a novel like Andrew Chaikins, Man on the Moon. It is divided into indepth sections on the booster, the capsule, EVA, recovery, etc. Don't get me wrong, it captures the drama in each mission well but it is not always approached in a sequential manner regarding missions. It reminds me of the Apogee book series on each mission but this has all Gemini related topics rolled into one book.
If you like to read about the exact reasoning behind scrubbed launches, every success and failure related to hardware like the Ageena docing module or boosters, the issues faced on each EVA or which suit was used on which mission, how they differed and why then this is your book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Project Gemini !! 7 Sep 2006
By S. Manos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to read about Gemini, this is by far THE book to read!. EXTREME Detail on everything Gemini, and tons and tons of fascinating photos. Highly recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too technical for me 6 April 2013
By Solipso - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Enough of the teenage enthusiasm I had in the 1960s for America's space program has not remained for me to finish reading this book. Though I needed fifty pages to become honest with myself, I finally yielded to my feelings and gave up. Yes, as other reviewers have noted, this book is a cornucopia of information about Gemini. The trouble is that I do not read for information. I read for entertainment. If the author's perspective were more with the astronauts and less with descriptive details about every other aspect of Gemini, I may have continued reading. But for me, he focuses too much on the technicalities of the program and not enough on a narration of the human adventure.

Note, I DID glance at upcoming pages to see if the narration would become more agreeable, but I was not encouraged. I understand, however, that for such a technology-heavy subject, some readers thirst for for the very information that left me dry. Likely their aptitude for technology is higher than mine, and their appreciation for GEMINI: STEPS TO THE MOON will correspond. Out of consideration for them, therefore, I have given this book a neutral three-star rating.

5-3-13, edited postscript:

I have just finished reading Andrew Chaikin's A MAN ON THE MOON, and it left me satisfied that my negative review of Mr. Shayler's book is justified. Yes, the subject matter of Apollo may be more interesting than that of Gemini, but it is Chaikin's prose that makes his book better. Though technology enters into his story when it should, Chaikin focuses on the human element. Chaikin was selective, whereas Shayler seemed determined to include any and every technical detail he could find.
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