Customer Reviews


29 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for everyone interested in space exploration!
My first memory of watching TV (aged 4) was the lunar landing in 1969. Ever since then, I have been interested in the technology (now seemingly primitave) and characters of the people who made this possible - most significantly Neil Armstrong. This book is long overdue, and portrays Armstrong as a down to earth (pardon the pun) person, who probably finds the adulation...
Published on 2 Jan 2006 by Mr. Peter Squire

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Word Of Warning
This is a tough book to read and if you are looking for a cosy biography of the great man, forget it. As others have pointed out, there is an incredible amount of detail and for that reason it can be very hard going at times. Some of the information given is such that you read the words but almost immediately forget them because you want to move on to the action.
It...
Published on 4 April 2009 by Jimmy Stix


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for everyone interested in space exploration!, 2 Jan 2006
By 
Mr. Peter Squire (Chislehurst, Kent United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
My first memory of watching TV (aged 4) was the lunar landing in 1969. Ever since then, I have been interested in the technology (now seemingly primitave) and characters of the people who made this possible - most significantly Neil Armstrong. This book is long overdue, and portrays Armstrong as a down to earth (pardon the pun) person, who probably finds the adulation rightly accorded to him as difficult to understand as he simply would view being the first man on the moon as fulfilling his job. The book deals in detail with Armstrong's painstaking flight training, including combat missions over Korea in the 50s, and also explores the relationship between him and the two other members of Apollo 11 with interesting insights. The story of how Armstrong became first out of the lunar module in preference to Buzz Aldrin is explained in full. The book only increases my admiration for the first man, and given the thoughtful and precise way in which his story has been told I recommend this book to you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hugely detailed examination of Armstrong's life, 3 Dec 2005
Th enigma of Neil Armstrong is that he is, simultaneously, both the best and least known astronaut. His historical status as Commander of Apollo 11 is assured, yet he remained a largely unknown quantity in terms of personality even to some of his closest colleagues.
In this massively detailed book, Hansen investigates this dichotomy, devoting many chapters to Armstrong's early life and his experiences as a Navy pilot in the Korean War, as well as his early career as a test pilot. Hansen considers, amongst other factors, whether Neil's relationship with his father, nomadic early life and a family tragedy, have influenced his personality.
The chapters which deal with Armstrong's 2 spaceflights, on Gemini VIII and Apollo 11, are covered very impressively, as well as his time flying the X-15. Hansen approaches each chapter in intricate detail, meaning that this book may well not appeal to the casual reader, but for serious space history enthusiasts, it is an absolute must.
Overall, Hansen has succeeded in his ambition to produce a scholarly and historical biography of one of the most well known and important people of our age
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Word Of Warning, 4 April 2009
By 
Jimmy Stix (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong (Paperback)
This is a tough book to read and if you are looking for a cosy biography of the great man, forget it. As others have pointed out, there is an incredible amount of detail and for that reason it can be very hard going at times. Some of the information given is such that you read the words but almost immediately forget them because you want to move on to the action.
It does take almost a third of the book to get to the Apollo program as we get to find out about Neil's childhood, his studies, his time in the Navy and then as a test pilot first.
Having said all that there is much to admire here and a phenomenal amount of work clearly went into researching and writing this account of one of the great heroes of the 20th Century. This is not just about Neil though and it tells the tale of all those who helped make that momentous landing possible, the people who Neil met along the way to what he became and his friends and family too.
I enjoyed much of it though because I have a particular fascination for the space race having just missed out on it. 1967 was a little late to appreciate anything of it really.
I have only given it 3 stars because I feel a little less of that detail would have made it better. Not the most accessable of books but, in places, a great insight into a clearly very private man and his incredible story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but perhaps not perfect, 17 Oct 2007
By 
Birmingham Book Reader (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Having looked forward to a 'life of Neil Armstrong book' for most of my life being a real Apollo fan. I did enjoy reading First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong. This book is well researched, has some good pictures and for the first time the reader can learn about the 'real Neil Armstrong'. There is much more to Mr.Armstrong than being the first man on the moon.

A great read - will be liked by space buffs, maybe a little dry for those who are not!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An overdue biography, 25 July 2006
Neil Armstrong occupies a unique place in history and like Yuri Gagarin, no matter where we travel in the future, he will always be first. His enigmatic personality is examined in the closest possible detail here. The well-known 'distance' between the members of Apollo 11's crew is discussed of course, but as with much of the book, readers are encouraged to examine the evidence, to think for themselves and to make up their own minds. There are several inaccuracies (the comment about the death of Yuri Gagarin in 1967 is wholly inaccurate) but the book is nonetheless a triumph and a must for the 'serious' student. The author's achievement in getting Armstrong's co-operation is remarkable. I never thought it would happen. I'm not sure how Buzz Aldrin will feel about it though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 2 Sep 2009
By 
This review is from: First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong (Paperback)
For anyone interested in the space race and also military aviation this is an essential purchase.

In addition to covering the life and personality of Neil Armstrong it provides a wonderfully detailed look at his Gemini and Apollo missions with contributions from many of the other personalities involved - Aldrin, Collins, Scott, Cernan, Kranz, Slayton, Bean etc etc. Not only that, it provides another angle on the community of astronauts and the politics within NASA and strives to reveal the truth behind many of the myths that surround the quest to land on the moon and the mission itself.

It's a weighty paperback but an easy read and only concentrates on technical detail where it would be an omission not to.

Highly recommended and most enjoyable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 27 Jan 2006
By 
P. Phillips (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The anticipation of this book made it almost impossible for the book itself to completely satisfy and on many levels the author does seem to fall quite short of the mark.
What is obvious is that Neil Armstrong was, and still is, an intensely private man and also a very humble human being who fully understood and appreciated the enormous effort it took to place he and Buzz Aldrin on to the Moon and return them safely.
History will hopefully remember Neil for the exceptional individual he is and respect, finally, how he has dealt with the fame of being 'The First Man', with quiet dignity.
Maybe it's because of his nature that this book ultimately falls short on the human level. I don't feel as though I know Neil Armstrong any more now then before I read about his quite remarkable life. I still don't know who Neil Armstrong really is, what he actually felt as he planted that first step or how he felt when gazing back at us from the surface of the Moon.
If this to be the only chronicle of Neil's life then it is a tragedy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating because the subject matter is, 20 April 2009
By 
Mark Meynell "quaesitor" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong (Paperback)
Space geeks will adore this book; the non-scientific will sometimes struggle. This is a book packed with scientific, military and aeronautical details that can at times be rather bewildering. The detail of research is verging on the obsessive. But then the point of this authorised biography was to set the records straight (as far as possible - and Armstrong himself read through the various drafts to check facts, but not to change opinions or impressions).

But if you persevere through the occasional fog of stats and details, there is much to enjoy about this. In particular, the few chapters describing (almost minute by minute) the heroic Apollo 11 flight are gripping. One of those instances where knowing what happens doesn't diminish the excitement (especially after knowing what happened to Apollo 1 and Apollo 13). There are also (a few) fascinating insights into the inner-workings and politics of NASA - as well as the rivalries between the various astronauts: eg the impact on Buzz Aldrin of being the SECOND man on the moon. But Armstrong seemed to float in orbit above all of those problems and was just driven 'to get the job done'.

What is striking is how hard Armstrong is a person actually to get to know. An incredibly reserved and private (though not necessarily shy) person he is - reading this book won't necessarily help one to understand what makes the man tick. But then that's probably because few ever have completely. He clearly suffered horribly when his daughter died and his first marriage disintegrated - but they seem to have driven him further into himself and his work, rather than to other people.

So I enjoyed this book, even though i glazed over from time to time because of the pervasive detail and less than felicitous prose. This is an important record of an extraordinary life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but often heavy going, 6 Feb 2012
By 
M. Kidger "bristolcity" (Madrid, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong (Paperback)
I was 9 years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon and fascinated then, as now, by the whole story. In fact, I think that I watched every single broadcast bar one of the Moon landings. This book though disappointed me. It is not that it lacks detail: there is a huge amount of detail; although, surprisingly, in the question of the Moon landing very much less than in other places. At times though the detail gets tedious: was it really necessary to research his grades through university and give a lengthy (several pages) description of his results? When there was a flying incident, is it really necessary to go into quite so much detail, especially rumour and innuendo about whose fault the accident was; some of the quotebacks from colleagues come across as simply bitchy (similarly, there are some comments in the text about a competing book, which was published around the same time that also come across as unnecessarily bitchy)? In contrast, in other moments, such as the strains after the death of his daughter, or the marriage breakup, there are just brief and tantalising hints of Armstrong's role being culpable, without any of the detail given about other events. There is a neat, if very brief, section on debunking some of the Moon legends. One is left though with a feeling of disappointment that the crew of Apollo XI was so curiously disfunctional, something that the book makes no real attempt to hide: why for this mission of all missions was the crew not picked to be a team that knew, liked and trusted each other?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong, 15 May 2006
By 
J. Otto (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What a brilliant book. Well written and a fascinating read for the whole 769 pages. Armstrong's accomplishments as a test pilot,engineer and astronaut are well known, but Hansen explores and reveals fascinating facts of the life of this elusive American celebrity. The biography describes his flying career in depth. His 78 combat missions over North Korea and then on to his test flights of the rocket-powered X15. His piloting GeminiV111 for the first-ever docking in space followed this. And after years of careful preparation, the flight to the airless Moon,where man would leave their first footprints on another world. But through all this, Armstrong had to deal with the tragedy of losing his young daughter.

Hansen also explores Neil's family history as well as his fellow test pilots and astonauts - all fascinating revelations. And many of you will be interested in the UFO sightings made by these three astronauts and the attempts to hush up their claim.

I urge you to read this biography of reluctant hero Neil Armstrong. I enjoyed it. So will you
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong
First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen (Paperback - 5 Jun 2006)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews