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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed and compelling account of the Lunar explorations
At last,a book about the Apollo missions that does not dwell on ... one-small-steps or the "unfolding human near-disaster" that was Apollo 13. These are all great topics but they have been done to death. What Harland has done is chronicle the real reason - well, it later became the real reason - that Nasa went to the Moon. Once the euphoria of beating the...
Published on 7 Oct. 2000

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the book it could have been
There are dozens of books on the moon landings. Just about all the angles have been covered: the development of the spacecraft, the astronauts, the science. Harland has written about the science and tagged it to the astronauts' explorations. The science, however, has been better covered elsewhere, notably in Donald Wilhems's "To A Rocky Moon"...
Published on 20 July 1999


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed and compelling account of the Lunar explorations, 7 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
At last,a book about the Apollo missions that does not dwell on ... one-small-steps or the "unfolding human near-disaster" that was Apollo 13. These are all great topics but they have been done to death. What Harland has done is chronicle the real reason - well, it later became the real reason - that Nasa went to the Moon. Once the euphoria of beating the Russians had worn off, six missions were sent to explore the surface of another planet. One failed, but the 10 men who followed in Aldrin's and Armstrong's footsteps managed to revolutionise our knowledge about the big white disc in the sky. Most of what they did was geology - so there are plenty of rocks here. If you don't know your pyroxenes from your olivines you might struggle a bit, but there is a helpful glossary. You are struck by just how damn hard these men worked in the precious hours and days they had on the lunar surface. there is human drama in this book, but it is in the imagined sweat and tears that must have been exuded to get these results. Finally, you are left reeling by the tragedy of "what might have been". Apollos 18-thru-20 were cancelled, and the Saturn 5s that were to carry further lunar missions now sit rusting in a Nasa carpark. As Harland points out, "they got bored with exploring another planet".
If you are interested in the Moon, or simply in why humanity goes into space, read this book.
***
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy and unusual treatment of exploration at its greatest, 16 April 1999
By A Customer
On the morning of 16 July 1969, three men left the Earth to go and walk on the alien soil of another planet. The mission was called Apollo 11 and after it returned from the Moon, NASA made a film recounting the trip and its wider impact on the world. Reflecting on that morning's departure, the film-makers asked "In what age of Man will the meaning of this morning be realised?"
Over a quarter of a century after the event we are beginning to see reappraisals of Armstrong & Co's achievements: on the Internet with the extraordinary "Apollo Lunar Surface Journal"; on the screen with the highly successful and technically acclaimed "Apollo 13" with Tom Hanks, who widened the story with HBO's "From The Earth To The Moon" TV series; and now, increasingly, in print. David Harland's book is an unusual mixture in this genre, but an astonishingly successful one.
Harland - obviously capable of writing a novel if he wants to - manages to blend storytelling, dialogue and the thread of the travelogue with careful and accurate description of the science within which the Apollo program operated, and the science it subsequently gave rise to. Though he concentrates on the ambitious final three expeditions, he relates the story of all the missions which landed, telling the reader of the frustrations as well as the elation which visited the crews during their brief visits to the Moon. After each mission, he discusses what was learned and how it fit into the theories of the time. Harland rounds off his tale by introducing more recent robotic exploration to help the reader share our widening knowledge of the Moon and how it relates to the early history and current evolution of our home planet.
The Apollo crews were taught how to read the story in the lunar rocks by looking at their "context"; where and how the rocks lie. Likewise, Harland takes context to his heart and, by staying with the chronology of events, places the manned flights of Apollo into the context of lunar exploration before and since. As he conveys the pioneering, can-do spirit of this extraterrestrial adventure, Harland wields his master stroke in liberal dollops throughout the book by his unusual presentation of the Apollo photographic collection. At many points during their busy expeditions the Apollo crews took sequences of pictures in a circle from where they stood. These "panoramas" of square photographs could be joined together to form wide vistas which, except in analysis rooms as poor paste-ups, were rarely seen by the public. Exploiting widely avalable photo-retouching software, Harland has painstakingly made up many dozens of these pans which, as well as giving the reader the context of the crew's activities, display the splendour of the ancient landscape over which these ment walked, drove and worked.
The book is a technical tome, but should not be dismissed as such as it is a very unusual one. To borrow the words of a gentleman who was lucky enough to spend three days calling the spectacular vista of the lunar Apennine mountains his home and who provides an afterword to the text, it is a tale of exploration at its greatest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring the Moon, 2 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) (Paperback)
I bought this book - I though to myself - which book to buy to have all the missions in one book - and one book was obvious - again Harland made the book for me - fantastic. Detailed chapters on each mission - not too detailed but detailed enough - with lots of photographs - to get your knowledge-level up to standard about these fantastic trips to the moon. The mission got more and more progressive and I have always liked the Apollo 17 mission the most - Maybe because this was the "real" geology-mission. I have always though that the geology was the interesting part of getting to a place which looks desolate and barren. But the moon turned out to be an interesting place - when you have read the last mission-chapter - you will know why.

Thouroughly recommended for expanding your level of knowledge about the Apollo mission and the Moon.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account of the Apollo "J" Missions, 26 Mar. 2011
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APOLLONAUT (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) (Paperback)
This very readable account of the Apollo Moon landings concentrates on the science and exploration, primarily at the final three landing sites on the so-called "J" missions. That in itself is a refreshing departure from the approach of many other books, films and documentaries. If you ever get frustrated with an anotherwise enjoyable account of Apollo when you realise they're going to fit Apollos 15, 16 and 17 into the last few pages (or screen minutes) then you know what I'm talking about. The explorations of the "J" missions deserve a full account, and this is it. Abraham Lincoln once reviewed a book with the comment: "People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." For any fan, admirer or student of Project Apollo, this book is required reading and your book collection is incomplete without it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the book it could have been, 20 July 1999
By A Customer
There are dozens of books on the moon landings. Just about all the angles have been covered: the development of the spacecraft, the astronauts, the science. Harland has written about the science and tagged it to the astronauts' explorations. The science, however, has been better covered elsewhere, notably in Donald Wilhems's "To A Rocky Moon". Importantly, there are parts of this book which are badly edited. Some of the landings are covered badly. The landing of Apollo 11 jumps right in. The landing of Apollo 16 is mentioned only to state that the final moonwalk would have to be cut short because of a problem before the landing. The problem is barely discussed. The casual reader will feel something is missing. Something better could surely have been done.
There are many plus points. The book concentrates on the more scientific but less well known later missions. It has good sections on the mission data and a wonderful bibliography. The pictures, reproduced in black and white, are generally very good, well chosen and illustrative of the text. It would have been easy to overlook many images. But there is always the feeling that the book is not quite finished to the highest, polished standard. Harland can write but perhaps he lacked the confidence to make the book all about the exploration of the lunar surface. He could have expanded the robotic exploration. He could have cut back on some of the rather lengthy discussions of the moonwalks.
For the casual reader, I would recommend some of the more general accounts that are available. For the reader seeking more detailed information about the moonwalks, there is much here of interest. However, be aware that there are other books that are better.
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Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration)
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