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In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight) Hardcover – 15 Oct 2007


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In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight) + Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969-1975 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight) + Wheels Stop: The Tragedies and Triumphs of the Space Shuttle Program, 1986-2011 (Outward Odyssey: a People's History of Spaceflight)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 427 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (15 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803211287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803211285
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.8 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 499,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"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 "My husband told the authors stories about his Apollo 8 mission that he had never even told me!" Valerie Anders, wife of Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders "Our lives and those of future generations were forever transformed by the events so vividly related in this book. These were the tense, often inspiring days of pioneering human space travel, and the authors are to be congratulated for their unerring portrayals of many larger-than-life personalities involved in that historic endeavour." Cece Bibby, the first woman to work at the Mercury launch pad "French and Burgess present a first-rate, detailed, and very personal account of the space race to the moon ... Strongly recommended both as a study of the social interactions among this unique group of people and as a gripping series of anecdotes that describe the exciting, dangerous steps behind the successful moon landing." CHOICE "There's a wealth of information and insights about the people and missions in each chapter, at least for those who haven't immersed themselves in space history." Jeff Foust, The Space Review.com "Authors Burgess and French are even-handed and equitable, and have done an excellent job in covering a vast expanse of material... The opportunity to get the true stories from the astronauts themselves is a luxury that will sadly not be available forever, and In the Shadow of the Moon has done an excellent job in gathering and eliciting the stories of these men, not just the 'official reports,' but the personal touches that render them more human... The authors have a touch for weaving revealing and captivating personal narratives amidst the nuts-and-bolts space history." Michael Patrick Brady, PopMatters.com "[T]he authors craft a remarkable story of the golden age of spacecraft as both an intimate human experience and rollicking global adventure... [T]heir book draws a richly detailed picture of the space race as an endeavor equally endowed with personal meaning and political significance." QUEST "French and Burgess have written yet another excellent book... [They] bring the history of space flight to life. I eagerly await another exceptional book from these authors."--Kate Cooper, Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation "The writers have gone beyond old soviet propaganda to tell the untold stories of heroic cosmonauts through new and recent interviews. This volume captures the anxiety and haste shown by both nations at the height of the space race ... This series will be read by future generations when they want the complete perspectives of the original generation of space explorers." Space Times

About the Author

Francis French is the former director of events for Sally Ride Science, and the current director of education at the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Colin Burgess is a former flight service director with Qantas Airways and the author of many books on spaceflight, including "Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon," available in a Bison Books edition. He is the coauthor with Francis French of "Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965" (Nebraska 2007). A NASA astronaut from 1963 to 1971, Walter Cunningham was a crew member on the first manned Apollo flight.

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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Myer on 14 Aug 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the Shadow of the Moon by Francis French and Colin Burgess is the next book in the Outward Odyssey series that started with the April 2007 release of their book Into That Silent Sea. That book has received high ratings not only from those who have read the book but also by those who lived it. Just take a look at the reviews left on this webpage for that book. The authors of these two books gained much of their information from first hand interviews given by the men and women of the early Space Program.

In the Shadow of the Moon picks up the story of the Space Race right where Into That Silent Sea left off (although both can be read as separate, stand alone books) I like that the book has been written in chronological order. At first it might seem strange that the manned Gemini missions of Gemini 3 through Gemini 12 were detailed with out any chapters about the Russian flights but that is how it happened. The Russians flew no missions in the 20 months that the Americans were flying the Gemini Program.

In Shadow of the Moon covers all of the Gemini Missions and the early Apollo Program as well as the Russian flights of the same timeline. The Gemini Program was a great success but only after some close calls and hard work were the Americans ready to move on to Apollo. But did they move too fast?

Before I read this book I thought the best account of the Apollo 1 fire was from Jim Lovell's Lost Moon but I must say that French and Burgess have a more detailed account of the fire. The loss of the Apollo 1 is covered in the chapter titled The Risk Stuff. After detailing the events of that evening French and Burgess let others who were there tell their stories. Those people include Robert Stevenson. Robert was one of the last people to have contact with the Apollo 1 crew.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Moody on 18 Oct 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm on the last few pages of the book and I must say I hate to see it end!

In particular, I thought the Gemini section was brilliant! Along with quite a few missing links from otherwise well-documented tales, what I really enjoyed were the unique and exclusive comments from some of the astronauts who flew the missions, especially those of Stafford and Cernan. This not only lends credibility to the book, but it also brings the reader to the "inside" of the stories.

I've always felt that Donn Eisele was sort of The Invisible Man on Apollo 7 because so little has been written about him. But now, I have a much more complete picture of his personality, his domestic challenges, his professional aptitude, etc. Donn's a complete member of the crew in my mind now! I thought Walt Cunningham's comments were extremely helpful by providing the reader with an insider's view of key events surrounding the Apollo 7 mission.

This book really goes a long way in quenching the thirst for those of us who are "space literate", but I can see where it would fun to read and informative for those who wouldn't know Neil Armstrong from Lance Armstrong.

Lastly, the authors never let us forget that there were real human beings flying in those spacecraft; not robots programed to perform their tasks until their batteries died. To me, that is probably one of the key things that makes this book special.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Professor on 12 Nov 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very informative and good read - not only for those interested in space/the space race but for anyone interested in people.
What motivates such very different individuals to put themselves in such dangerous situations one can glimpse in this book. How they remained so focused, professional and humerous in extreme conditions is beyond me.

A very well written book that I recommend to those of us who remember these times - and - for others it will take you for a most enjoyable journey back in time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zero-G Me on 2 Jan 2008
Format: Hardcover
What authors French and Burgess have managed to accomplish with their book "In the Shadow of the Moon" is a sense of being there.

This book transcends a third-party recounting of events. French and Burgess have created an extraordinary interface between the reader and the people sharing their stories. "In the Shadow of the Moon" does an exquisite job of bringing us into the fold, allowing a rather personal access to these astronauts' lives and innermost thoughts: helping us to better understand an experience we will never have ourselves.

The authors' skillful marriage of informing and storytelling help to ensure that it is a book that will be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their interest level in space history. The authors did an excellent job of introducing background information on a mission, and then following it up with personal interpretation by someone who was there. The authors' thorough research is apparent, but it is woven so well with the narrative that it allows the reader to simply take it in, absorbing it effortlessly.

By writing this book, French and Burgess share with humanity that which few have experienced. But more than that, they help us all understand a little better the magnitude of our venture into space: the accomplishments of the few, holding meaning for us all.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kate Cooper, Apollo One Memorial Foundation on 17 Dec 2007
Format: Hardcover
French and Burgess have written yet another excellent book. In this latest, they bring to light the lives and stories of the lesser-known astronauts and cosmonauts as well as others participating in those early years. Rather than stressing the different country's programs, the authors tell the stories of Earth's early space endeavors. The indepth stories of Russia's early space program and those who flew were fascinating.

The report of the Apollo 1 crew and the fire was accurate and thorough. I was especially pleased to see how well they brought the story of Roger Chaffee, who was the newest and youngest (at that time) astronaut, to light. Few know that Roger was still two weeks short of his 32nd birthday that terrible, fatal night and yet had accomplished so much in his naval career and in his influence on the space program.

French and Burgess bring the history of space flight to life. I eagerly await another exceptional book from these authors.

Kate Cooper, Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation
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