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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2006
Up there with the Michael Collins biography as one of the best astronaut books, this first-person tale of Gene Cernan's NASA career engages not least because of the drama of his three famous missions.
Co-author Davis has helped Cernan tell a complicated story in easy to understand language. Throughout, one picks up on the sheer enthusiasm of this astronaut: his awe and wonder at what he was lucky enough to do. Often self-depracating, he admits difficult moments - the horror of the spacewalk outside Gemini 9 and the frightening malfunction as he approached closer to the Moon than anyone before during Apollo 10, but conveys extremely well the controlled elation of the triumphant Apollo 17, including his and mankind's last steps on the Moon ... for now.
There are thirty-seven photos, the usual mix of family and space-related, the latter set containing little new for the Apollo enthusiast but no less relevant for that.
Do give this book a try. It's clear, interesting and bubbling over with enthusiasm.
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on 23 January 2000
Forget the "attacks" on some other astronauts (and in my reading I found no attack on Jack Schmitt, quite the opposite). Forget just wanting to read about Apollo. DO read this book for a personal and honest account of how one man felt and how he journeyed from his roots to another world.
I grew up watching the space race from the UK and this account of it from the inside strikes true. I have read some other readers comments, who seem to think it was Captain Cernan's job to agree with them rather than say how he felt. I don't understand their desire for this.
I don't care that the author didn't get on with some of his colleagues - I don't get on with some of mine! For a truly genuine and exciting read, telling it from the heart and not from the populist point of view I have read little better about the USA space programme.
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on 19 November 2002
Eugene Cernan flew in space three times,twice to the moon. He was pilot of Gemini 9, Lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 and commander of Apollo 17. This is a book charting his missions and experiences from the early days of Gemini to the ultimate goal of landing on the moon. Bieng the last person to step foot on the surface.
It's one hell of a book! exiting and well written. Another book you won't be able to put down.
Only downside, picked up by other readers, is the lack of pictures from the missions and especially the final landing.
I didn't buy the book for the pictures. If you want pictures buy "A MAN ON THE MOON" the 3 volume set,but i'm not reviewing that. If you want a truly exiting,wild ride of book buy this one!!!!
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on 24 June 2001
I have read many books on the history of American manned spaceflight. This is one of the most enjoyable. Gene Cernan tells his own story in such a way that when you have to put the book down, you look forward to the next opportunity to carry on reading it. Many of the familiar historic events are there, told by the man who enacted them. Here is a proud ambitious professional and his story is fascinating. In the last few pages, one feels for Cernan. A man who pines for 'his' moon like a long lost love to whom he knows he can never return. Buy it. Read it. I promise you will enjoy it.
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on 1 January 2014
I have read various books of the Apollo programme and this along with Mike Collins, and Gene Kranz stand out in my opinion.

Gene Cernan's book has some honesty and openness which is admirable as well as showing many of the risks he took in the space programme.
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on 24 October 2001
Having been a close follower of Lunar landings and space flight in general I was very keen to aquire the autobiography of my hero, Eugene Andrew Cernan. The book is an honest, open story of an ordinary boy who landed on the moon. Cernans desciptions of emotions as he passes through flight training, Gemini and Apollo are a pleasure to read. No technical claptrap, just the information you need to gain a fascinating insight to a remarkable man. The biggest problem with this book is simply not being able to stop reading it!
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on 7 November 2003
Fantastic reading for anyone interested in the Space Race of the 60's and 70's.
Gene Cernan is a true American Hero. His story gave a really good insight into his determination to succeed in life.
The story of his and the other familys having to endure the stress and worry of the space programme gave the whole book a more 'human' touch.
I also liked the 'no messing' approach to his 'lingo' in this book. One of my best reads to date.
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on 16 July 1999
Gene Cernan is one of America's most experienced and successful astronauts. His three missions were among the most ambitious, successful and exciting of all time. He spent more time, along with partner Harrison Schmitt, than any other man walking on the moon. It was, therefore, with great disappointment that I read this book. What I expect from a book by an astronaut is to really feel and understand what the unique experiences they went through were like. With the notable exception of Mike Collins' autobiography almost none of the astronauts books really provide this. Only 12 men have ever stood on the moon and yet they have not really conveyed what this and other aspects of spaceflight were like in their autobiographies. His dismisses his epic Apollo 17 flight in a few pages and spends more time talking about the politics of crew selection, giving crude descriptions of his wife's figure and other trivia. Also there is a lack of illustrations showing the alien environment he explored so well. In a more positive light, he reveals for the first time the real dangers the Gemini spacewalks entailed and gives a good description of the problems Ed White encountered in Gemini 4 and his own nightmarish experience in Gemini 9.
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on 14 December 2014
This is an absorbing book, giving a keen insight into the early days of manned spaceflight and a gripping account of Cernan's participation in some - at times - extremely hazardous events. His account of his Moon landing is especially vivid. Cernan is not afraid to say when he's frightened, he is honest when he himself makes a mess of things, and he does not gloss over differences with other astronauts. He is also candid about the single-minded, self-absorbed ambition which drove the first astronauts (and perhaps still does). Normal family obligations were pushed aside in the quest for a flight into space. They must have been difficult men to live with, and at times one gets the impression that the Gemini and Apollo designers' main problem must have been how to stuff two or three of these enormous egos into a small capsule.
Oh for someone as articulate as Chris Hadfield to be aboard Cernan's missions to relieve the simplistic banter which is all those crews seemed to be capable of!
Cernan's patronising dismissal of scientists is irritating: he seems to think that only 'Right Stuff' test pilots should have been allowed to venture into space or on to the Moon. While the earlier proving flights were very obviously the province of test pilots, by the time Apollo 11 had demonstrated that man could travel to, walk on, and return from the Moon, it was certainly appropriate for scientists to accompany the pilot of the lunar lander.
This is a 'must-read' book for anyone with an interest in space exploration. It is sad to reflect that the fickleness of public interest has allowed almost half a century to elapse since Cernan climbed back into a lunar lander for the last time, with no early prospect in sight for a return to our nearest neighbour in space.
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on 16 July 2015
The first book I've read on the subject despite being fascinated with the topic.

Cernan comes across as a straight shooter who says what he thinks (controversially at times) about other big names at NASA.

I enjoyed the book and you can't help but be impressed by what these men achieved in that era when men were men, women were men and kids were men. If they only knew then how pathetically risk averse we would become would they have been allowed to push further?

How sad that our generation will never know this kind of adrenaline pumping, dangerous but necessary exploration.
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