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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

on 27 July 2017
Its a bit salty in places.However ,well worth a read.Must own if youve already been through the astronauts and mission control biographies and looking for a fresh angle.
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on 11 May 2005
The author, title and the CUP imprint led me to believe that this would be a relatively straight history of the Apollo lunar landings told by the BBC's Space Correspondent throughout the programme.
Turnill's book is much broader in scope and more personal than that though. It's really an extended memoir of his involvement with the American space programme, from their earliest satellite launches through to John Glenn's return to space. The centrepiece of the book is the description of the Apollo lunar missions, though, through the viewpoint of media coverage, Turnill's experiences at the Cape, and his personal relationships with many of the astronauts, engineers and mission control staff. A central theme in the book is Turnill's strange relationship with Wernher von Braun.
This is one of the most readable and informative books on the US manned space programme I've ever read - while not being as detailed as Heppenheimer's "Countdown" or Burrows' "This New Ocean" which attempt to tell the whole story of the space age, and broader than Chaikin's "Man on the Moon" which just concentrates on Apollo; Turnill concentrates on the men who built, flew and controlled Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, the way the media reported them, and how von Braun's grand design for the space programme was compromised by the disappointments of budget cuts and the shuttle programme.
The prose is excellent, with Turnill offering a mixture of often amusing anecdotes, straight reportage and interesting background and analysis - he's clearly done a lot of research as well as reminiscence and it's obvious that he's respected by many of the astronauts and engineers.
If you just want a book on Apollo, there are others that have much more detail, but if you want an accessible, readable history of the US manned space programme pre-Shuttle, this is it.
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on 1 December 2002
We all know of the Moonlandings but not really about them. With this book you get to look behind the scenes through the eyes of an articulate BBC correspondent that was there for the whole thing.
Not only do you get all the ups and downs of the Moonlandings and the tension that was present, you get an intriguing look into the world of a BBC correspondent and what was really happening without the political spin placed on the events by the governments in question.
If you are interested in astronomy, the Apollo program or just looking for a good read I would recommend this book.
It does get a little tiresome at times though but it is worth the boring jejune bits for the interesting aspects of the space programs.
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on 26 February 2006
This book starts with a slightly distracted foreword by Buzz Aldrin, which hardly mentions Mr. Turnill but describes the ex-astronaut's view of future space travel. The book itself goes on to detail the American side of the space race - its missions and personalities - while paying due respect to the Soviet effort and the German rocketeers.

Throughout, the author underpins mission descriptions and transcripts with stories of his experiences as the BBC's Aerospace Correspondent. This is an unusual viewpoint and the battles for air-time in the context of 1960s broadcast technology are often humorous.

The book feels rather self-indulgent at times, even for an autobiography. Mr. Turnill's career was undoubtedly a privileged one but there may be slightly too many hints of self-praise for some tastes.

Not heavily illustrated but some of the black and white photos are interesting and rarely seen.
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on 26 June 2015
very good quality and fast delivery would recommend
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