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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 13 May 2009
For most of my childhood I wanted to be an astronaut. I only abandoned the idea when I eventually realised that I wasn't even American.

Reading Dan Parry's book may not have compensated entirely for my Earthbound career choice but it did at least bring me one step closer to understanding what life as an astronaut would have been like. Mr Parry's account of the Apollo programme is so throughly researched, so crammed with insider testimony and interesting detail, that you'll be convinced that he must have stowed away aboard the Eagle in '69.

This book revells in the details of the mission (I can now diagnose a 1201 alarm code, which will come in very handy next time I'm in a lunar module) but such trivia only serves to highten the reader's understanding and sense of being there. You certainly don't have to be a space geek to enjoy this book as Dan Parry never loses sight of the fact that this is a story of human endeavour, not rocket ships. His tension filled narrative encompases not only Apollo 11's famous crewmen, but their wives and those on the ground who rose to the challenge of sending men to the moon and returning them safely home.

A recommended, informative and enjoyable read.
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on 8 May 2017
As a kid i grew up with the Apollo missions and this book is one of the best I have ever read about that time..packed with facts its an amazing read...
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on 19 June 2009
When We Left Earth: NASA Missions [DVD] [2008] [Region 1] [US Import] [[ASIN:B001BEK86A When We Left Earth: NASA Missions [Blu-ray] [2008] [US Import]

I was only 9 years old when man first landed on the moon. Forty years later I realised how little I actually knew about the Apollo 11 mission. Dan Parry's book `Moonshot' reads like a novel. It is the story of the men who made it to the moon, the technicians who backed them up and of those who perished in their efforts to make a moon landing possible. Despite being a page turner, Moonshot is packed with technical and historical detail. A quick search of the author's name reveals that he was a producer of Discovery Channel's `When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions' and researched the forthcoming History Channel / ITV drama `Moonshot'. He has immersed himself in his subject and it shows. Parry's easy style makes this book is an excellent read and it certainly plugged my knowledge gap.
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on 1 August 2009
Last year I read a couple of Apollo-related books - the outstanding 'A Man on the Moon' by Andrew Chaikin (an anthology of every moon landing) and the riveting 'Moondust' (about the 'Moonwalkers') by Andrew Smith. These books more than satisfied my yearning for information about those amazing events and achievements. They were just great. My needs were satisfied, I moved on to reading other stuff.

So I got hooked up by the spirit of the 40th anniversary of the landings and felt I ought to get into it a bit more by reading another Apollo book. I chose Moon Shot because it seemed the most obvious title. But I had a few doubts - what could this book possibly add to the other two? I am a bit of a space buff, know my stuff etc., and I've read two top books that seemed to cover all the bases. So what could this one give me? Would I be bored and feeling that I was reading just a re-hash of what I already had read?

Well I need not have feared. In just the same way that the film Apollo 13 had the ability to hook you, suck you in, hold you spellbound and then drag you to an emotional climax (even though you knew the ending), this book grabs your attention and cleverly reels you in.

Dan Parry tells it ever so well. He intersperses chapters on the history of Apollo leading up to the landing with chapters on exactly what was going on in the spacecraft - each new chapter getting closer to the moon and the ultimate goal. I felt something of a 'timeline' going on - with a sense of building excitement, anticipation and trepidation.

Other parts deal with the background and personalities of the astronauts leading up to the mission, and they seem to be interwoven extremely well - enough information to give you what you need to build the experience but no so much that it gets in the way as the events unfold.

Like so many other people I am completely in awe of the achievement. How could they do all that, 40 years ago? Even today, surely it would be a daunting technological undertaking? I remember the event so well - my dad got me and my older brother and sister up in the middle of the night to watch it on TV. I was nearly 12 at the time but I can remember only too well my heart thumping in my ears. It was just awesome.

And Dan Parry I think has come closest for me to recapturing how I felt. When in the latter half of the book Neil Armstrong is trying desperately to find a landing place (they overshot the intended zone by a couple of miles) with fuel down to tens of seconds - I kind of felt that same feeling as I had 40 years ago. Would he do it? Oh, please, don't let them crash! But I know the answer, don't I? That's got to reflect on Dan Parry's skill as a story teller surely?

And when the transmission came: "Houston. Tranquility Base. The Eagle has landed" I felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck. Just like I did a lifetime ago.

So, thank you to Dan Parry for achieving what I didn't think was possible: to thrill me with a book about Apollo in a quite crowded and very well covered market. I heartily recommend this book to anyone wanting to feel the magnificence of the undertaking or just to rekindle some of those emotions so many people experienced during that magical time.
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on 4 August 2009
I thought this book was excellent - informative and concise, brilliantly written by Dan Parry, and generally a great read.

I was surprised to discover how little I actually knew about the moon landing before reading Moonshot, but through the events detailed and the descriptions of the different personalities involved, I now feel well-educated! Definitely a book worth buying.
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on 3 March 2014
I have just read this to my 9 year old son over the course of several weeks ( 2 or 3 nights a week). He lapped it up, as did I, and we now know much more about Lunar Orbit Rendezvous and why it was chosen, why and how Neil picked the exact spot he did to land, and much more besides, including the individual personalities of the three astronauts, and not forgetting the mission controllers and others who made it all possible.
I did not really have to censor anything, although others may wish to note I was faced with question 'What's a brothel, Daddy?' in response to the revelation that one of Collins's childhood homes was close to one! The tragic fate of Apollo 1, and occasional details of the astronauts' personal bereavements, and the stresses they were under, are sensitively handled.
Note this book ends with the return of Apollo 11. There is nothing on Apollo 12 to 17. While the story of that 11 flight is the main focus of the book throughout, it is interweaved with an account of the development of the Mercury, Gemini and prior Apollo flights. I found the frequent switches from the exciting missions back to the slightly-less-interesting history a little distracting, but I presume the idea was to ration the more exciting bits, and it wasn't really a problem.
All in all, a wonderful book, which I have been privileged to share with my son. Thank you, Mr Parry!
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on 10 July 2009
Even though this was a spur of the moment buy, it's become one of the best books i've ever read. For anyone who knows all the ins and out of space, or anyone who (like me!) just finds the whole idea a little bit cool, this book caters for everyone. A fantastic read which looks at the science, the circumstances, and the very people who made it happen - it's highly recommended! x
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on 17 March 2014
I thought I had read it all when it came to the first moon landing, having been fascinated by the Apollo programme all my life. But this book by Dan Parry was a revelation, filled with absorbing context, insightful anecdotes, and enough little-known facts to keep any space fan turning page after page.

It glosses over some famous aspects of the first moon landing, presumably for the sake of brevity, but what remains is a gripping, well-researched, well-annotated and masterful account of the story around and behind that epic day. Dan Parry is to be congratulated for writing so engagingly about technical matters, and for his ability to put the reader in the situation he describes, whether in a cramped space craft, or alone on the far side of the Moon, or on the surface of the moon itself.

I can't wait to see if he has written about other aspcets or adventures in the Apollo programe. This book is to be thoroughly recommended.
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on 1 August 2013
This is an excellent addition to the many books covering Apollo 11.

What makes it stand out is the mix of suspense with a lot of information and background stories mixed in.

The author tells the action as it happened but in the intervals the background details are filled in to put each part of the story in context.
The book both reads as an action novel and also a documentary at the same time.

You will really hold breath and feel the excitement and the relief when the lunar module lands safely on the surface of the moon and then takes off safely and joins up with the command module.

This is definitely a must read for anyone interested in the Apollo programme.
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on 17 June 2009
There have been many books written about the first moon landing since 1969 and you might wonder what's special about this one. It's not the most comprehensive or the most authoritative but it is probably the most readable and enjoyable.

Despite the fact that we all know the story and the ending, Dan Parry manages to make the narrative taught and compelling. There's plenty of technical detail in this book but only enough to help the reader understand exactly what's going on. Fantastically well researched; reading this book is the next best thing to being up there with them.

If you want to relive your childhood or learn more about this amazing feat, this book will not disappoint; it's written for everyone, not just for geeks. A welcome addition to the 40th anniversary celebrations.
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