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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A great big brick of a book telling the story of America's quest to put a man on the moon in nearly 600 pages could seem quite intimidating, but it is a great read and never gets dull or outstays its welcome. The style is very free-flowing and takes you through the Apollo programme mission-by-mission introducing the main players and the main achievements and disappointments as you go along and you are left with a really excellent feeling of how the whole amazing enterprise was put together and executed by a group of brave and clever people whose contribution to the expansion of human knowledge and the development of modern technologies is sometimes rather overlooked nowadays.

Technically, of course, it is three books in one as that is how the text is split up. Book one takes us through from the dreadful catastrophe of Apollo 1 through the various steps along the way towards the soaring success of Apollo 11 and the quite amazing technological leaps that had to be made to make that possible. Book two takes us through the middle "consolidation" period of lunar exploration with Apollo Missions 12-14 and includes dramatic descriptions of the ill-fated Apollo 13 which many people now regard as NASA's "most shining moment". Book three covers the astonishing successes of the last three moon landings, Apollo Missions 15-17, building on what had been achieved before and slowly uncovering more and more about the fascinating geology of the moon and leaving you with a slight sense of loss that the programme was not allowed to continue - not least when you discover what the Moon could still offer us in terms of solutions to our energy crisis for example - if only we'd been brave enough to stretch our minds to the possibilities on offer to us.

The book finishes with an epilogue telling where the former Astronauts were in their lives at the time of original publication back in 1994. This is a very thought-provoking and insightful piece which maybe should have been updated for the new edition in 2009, but wasn't. Possibly, as some of the main players involved are now no longer with us, it is more meaningful to remember them as they were then, but some kind of acknowledgement that time has once again moved on might have helped clarify things a little to a new audience. Nonetheless, a lot of what those Astronauts had to say was very meaningful and Ken Mattingly's comments about the lack of continuance in the engineering process ("If you don't build things, you don't know HOW to build things") seems to sum up the frustrations felt by many former key players from that generation.

The appendices are very useful giving all the biographical details of the various astronauts and a list of the relevant data of each of the Apollo missions in a handy "list" format which is useful to have. All-in-all this is a very satisfying and beautifully written book to have as an overview of this most fascinating of human achievements.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2009
For the twentieth anniversary of Apollo 11 there was a lovely bunch of excellent Apollo histories. For the 25th anniversary there was little beyond this one. The reason was clear - this book wipes the floor with all the others. It is written in a beautiful style, rushes the reader along with panache and never lets up.

But just being a good read wouldn't be enough for all those space geeks like me who lap this sort of stuff up. It is replete with technical details explained in such a way that you would barely know if there has been a technical factlet just gone by. And the author did such wonderful research that there is enough new anecdote to keep even the jaded Apollo fan going. If you buy only one general Apollo hstory, buy this one.

And definitely buy it in the three volume illustrated version. This has Chaikin's original text with a slew of fantastic photos beautifully reproduced. Expensive, perhaps, so do what I did and get your wife/husband/partner/etc to get it for you as a present. You will love them forever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2000
If you're at all interested in the Apollo missions to the moon, you will thoroughly enjoy "A Man on the Moon". It is a very well researched account of each astronaut's personal experiences, most notably including a refreshing view of Apollo 11 and the dramatic Apollo 13, without the overly technical details that some similar works have. The photos help the reader to visualise the Apollo experience. I was genuinely upset when I finished reading this book, as it was absolutely fascinating!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2009
A Man on the Moon (The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts) Andrew Chaikin.

Critically acclaimed book by renowned Aerospace author and scientist Andrew Chaikin. I read the previous edition of this book a few years ago and it's great!

Reading somewhere between history, biography, popular science and a thriller this is a well respected, bestselling book on the Apollo space program with a few photos in the middle.

Definitely 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2001
The first book I have read in ages that I simply couldn't put down! The amount of effort put in by the author to accumulate information for this book is evident as the Apollo missions are explained one by one from the tragedy of Apollo 1 through to Apollo 17. This is a must for anyone interested in space exploration.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2001
An excellent book that provides what must be one of the most extensive insights into the Apollo moon missions that exists in any format. Excellent photographs, commentary and interviews with those that were actually there. A book that you will keep for in your collection for life
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2009
Excellent book, written in a non techie and flowing style that is easy to follow and hard to put down. I particularly enjoyed the triumph of Apollo 11 and the near disaster tension of Apollo 13. My only disappointment is the failure to make any mention anywhere in the book (including astronaut profiles) of the passing of the charismatic Pete Conrad due to a motorcycle accident some years ago. Nevertheless highly recc'd and probably the best on the subject.
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on 27 July 2015
Impeccably researched, and delivered in clear, objective prose, Chaikin has produced a glowing tribute to the awe-inspiring era of the Apollo missions. I have read this book once only, a couple of years ago, and yet it stays with me even now. I recently visited the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, and as such have had my interest in all things "Spacey" renewed afresh, but I hold this book in such high regard that I am almost reluctant to revisit it for fear of it falling from the pedestal on which I have placed it.

Whether you are an expert, or a novice, this book is accessible to all on every level. It recreates, in a way I never would have thought possible, the anticipation of the astronauts as they underwent their training, the exhiliration and the emptiness of space, the heart-stopping moments leading up to each moon landings. But it doesn't stop there. Everyone remembers Armstrong's immortal words from the surface of the moon. But Chaikin takes the time to explain what happened next. Why and how each mission differed. You'll even learn some geology along the way.

A feat of magnificent achievement, this book is a deserving compliment to the moon missions it describes. My favourite book ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2014
This is, quite simply, the best account of the Apollo programme that I've ever read. Chaikin's interviews with key characters in the programme really bring the events to life, and it makes for an extremely engaging book.
It's a book that I return to time and time again, and the only reason I'm buying another one is because the pages were falling apart on my old copy.
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on 31 December 2010
This really is the best book on the subject. It somehow manages to cover such a wide range of subjects and areas whilst remaining at all times, detailed yet interesting, complex yet light-hearted and above all very very informative. This book is particularly interesting (when compared to its peers) with its accounts on Slayton and the way in which crews were selected for each of the missions.

This is rarely covered in any detail. I would say that this is not an engineers book, there are others that cover the detailed workings of the machines they so succesfully created but more than makes up for it with its accounts of the astronauts, managers and directors that took the craft to the moon and back again all those times.

I am a fan of space flight and obviously the mercury, gemini and apollo missions but I can honestly say that this is one of the most entertaining informative and exciting books I have ever read on any subject! I defy anyone to not at least enjoy this book let alone love it like I do.
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