Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon The inside, lesser known story of NASA s boldest and riskiest mission Apollo , mankind s first journey to the Moon on Christmas inA riveting account of three heroic astronauts who took one of the most dangerous space flights ever, from the New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers In early , the Apollo program was on shaky footing President Kennedy s end of decade deadline to put a man on the Moon was in jeopardy, and the Soviets were threatening to pull ahead in the space race By August , with its back against the wall, NASA decided to scrap its usual methodical approach and shoot for the heavens With just four months to prepare a fraction of the normal time the agency would send the first men in history to the Moon In a year of historic violence and discord the Tet offensive, the assassinations of MLK and RFK, the Chicago DNC riots the Apollomission was the boldest test of what America could do With a focus on astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, and their wives and children, this is a vivid, gripping, you are there narrative that shows anew the epic danger involved, and the singular bravery it took, for man to leave Earth for the first time and to arrive at a new world How is it even possible to make a book about space that I don t love Here are some ways Continuous, unrepentant use of idioms and clich s If you re quoting someone or deliberately reflecting the patterns of speech of your subjects think Tom Wolfe inThe Right Stuffthat s one thing If you re reaching for the easiest phrase in the phrasebook, that s lazy This was definitely not the former Indistinguishable voices Every line of this book felt uniform in tone and pattern This do How is it even possible to make a book about space that I don t love Here are some ways Continuous, unrepentant use of idioms and clich s If you re quoting someone or deliberately reflecting the patterns of speech of your subjects think Tom Wolfe inThe Right Stuffthat s one thing If you re reaching for the easiest phrase in the phrasebook, that s lazy This was definitely not the former Indistinguishable voices Every line of this book felt uniform in tone and pattern This doesn t ever happen in real life, and I always notice when I m fifty or a hundred pages into a book and can t even remember which character said which line in a dialogue because they all sound identical and have done so throughout Invisible research This is ostensibly a book documenting actual things which happened In space And yet I was about a quarter of the way in before I found the first evidence of research quotation marks, block quotes, footnotes, asterisks, end note citations, lines like in early interviews, x was prone to saying y And there were only a handful of moments throughout this book s hundreds of collective pages when Kurson made reference to documentation I literally had no clue that this book was based on interviews until I read the author s note at the very end of the book I received an early copy, so there were no appendices or indices or end matter other than that note so there might beto find in future finished editions HOWEVER It won t ever be enough to salvage the book from its lack of internal cues throughout And it bothers me that Kurson adopted a journalist s supposedly objective reporting voice for conveying the internal feelings of people who have long since died and never recorded their feelings about these events in public And just like the dialogue, these italicized internal thoughts felt uniform They felt like Kurson s voice It felt like a lie every time Poor Susan Kurson was clearly interested in developing her character, and he repeatedly REPEATEDLY notes how much Frank loves her And I really think there probably is something fascinating about her, but her development of Alzheimer s means that she was not able to contribute her own thoughts and feelings to this book Which means that every line and thought attributed to her struck me as you guessed it artificial As projections of Kurson s own thoughts and feelings Telling, not showing I honestly can t remember a single evocative image from this book It consists of hundreds of pages of Kurson telling his readers that things happened without him conveying or evoking the emotion of those moments If you re not going to saturate your book with research or are going to base it entirely upon personal interviews conveyed anecdotally and without confirmation and you re not going to try and impress upon your readers the experience of the moment, what s left You re not a McCullough or a Wolfe, obviously If I d had a hand in editing this book, I would have recommended trimming the summarizing waaaaay back and finding a compelling through line This book has no narrative heart It s technically correct in many ways, but always tedious.I read sections of this book aloud to my roomies while at a graduate course intensive They found it reductive in its approach to women and the idioms clich s frustrating to parse I don t read very many nonfiction books and I haven t listened to many audiobooks, but I m sure that this one will remain one of my favorites in both categories Before I listened to this book, when I thought of space missions and the moon, I thought of the moon landing and Apollo 11 the planting of the American flag, Neil Armstrong s comment.one giant step for mankind While I remember Apollo 8, I had no idea of it s importance in laying the groundwork for future missions While I alway I don t read very many nonfiction books and I haven t listened to many audiobooks, but I m sure that this one will remain one of my favorites in both categories Before I listened to this book, when I thought of space missions and the moon, I thought of the moon landing and Apollo 11 the planting of the American flag, Neil Armstrong s comment.one giant step for mankind While I remember Apollo 8, I had no idea of it s importance in laying the groundwork for future missions While I always thought that astronauts as a group were brave, I never really thought about their individual stories, their personalities, the affect on their families, especially their spouses, the intense training or what went into preparing for their mission Even though I knew the efforts of NASA to prepare, plan, build, test and manage from mission control had to be enormous, I never gave it a lot of thought I didn t think a lot about the historical context of these space missions All of that changed in such an impactful way for me while listening to this absolutely amazing account.I was captivated by the intimate look that I got of the crew Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, how they grew up and became astronauts, how they met and fell in love with their wives, how their wives were impacted by what their husbands were doing, the sacrifice of family time The wives of these men deserve a lot of credit and are heroes in their own right Their personal stories are moving I was on the edge of my seat as Kurson so skillfully gave me a sense of being there I was surprised that some of the technical and scientific parts were made understandable and interesting and amazed at the scope of things that went into making decisions The way the mission is brought into historical context is simply stunning I hung on every word as the picture is painted of a fractured time in American history with events that I remember the race to space with Russia, John Kennedy s dream of landing on the moon, the Vietnam war, civil rights protests, race riots , demonstrations in Chicago, unrest in the country, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King This book doesn t just tell us about Apollo 8, it tells the story of our nation in 1968.I loved the Epilogue finding out what the crew did afterwards and where they were in their lives at the time of the 50th anniversary of the mission I very much appreciated the author s note in his own voice, how he was inspired to write this book Kurson s research is extensive including time spent with Borman, Lovell, Anders , people from NASA, reading a multitude of documents, watching videos and so muchThis is a story of extraordinary men and their families, an extraordinary event in history The narration by Ray Porter is absolutely wonderful Thanks to my Goodreads friend and book buddy, Diane S, whose terrific review led me to this book Space, planets, NASA are not usually subjects to which I gravitate.So why then did I not want this book to end, finished it ready eyes and gave it all the stars Well for one, I m firmly convinced this author cannot write a bad book, can make any subject interesting It s also because though this is about Apollo 8, it is also about real men, their wives, families and our country in the tumultuous year of 1968.Kurson includes the three astronauts backgrounds, their training, their flight, but al Space, planets, NASA are not usually subjects to which I gravitate.So why then did I not want this book to end, finished it ready eyes and gave it all the stars Well for one, I m firmly convinced this author cannot write a bad book, can make any subject interesting It s also because though this is about Apollo 8, it is also about real men, their wives, families and our country in the tumultuous year of 1968.Kurson includes the three astronauts backgrounds, their training, their flight, but also what they were thinking, eating, even how they had to go to the bathroom Why NASA chose Christmas for this first flight to the moon Their wives and their backgrounds, fears for their husbands All the terrible events of that year and how divided our country was by the Vietnam war, and racial issues Kurson let s the reader in on little tidbits of interest, making for apersonal read His writing, this story, taking and immersing the reader back into this time, these men and others at NASA who were in control central At books end Kurson himself takes over, explaining how he became interested in this story, his research, his interviews with these three men who at the time of his writing were all still alive This was the only crew of astronauts who all stayed married to their original spouses Teary eyed You ll have to read it yourself to find out why It s, imo, fantastic as was the narration by Ray Porter Absolutely loved this book A meticulous, uplifting pardon the pun and beautifully written account of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts who made Man s first Journey to the moon I knew when one of my friends here at Goodreads whose reviews I respect and love reviewed and rated this book 5 stars that it was one I wanted to get my hands on sooner rather than later and was so happy to have sourced this one on Audible.I read this along with my husband and we discussed and marvelled over the details eve Absolutely loved this book A meticulous, uplifting pardon the pun and beautifully written account of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts who made Man s first Journey to the moon I knew when one of my friends here at Goodreads whose reviews I respect and love reviewed and rated this book 5 stars that it was one I wanted to get my hands on sooner rather than later and was so happy to have sourced this one on Audible.I read this along with my husband and we discussed and marvelled over the details every day and to be honest I am going to miss the suspense and drama and company of this wonderful book Robert Kurson tells the story of the Apollo 8 and its crew and their amazing and riveting first mission to the Moon.This book reminded me in ways of my reaction to the book Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption and while both books are totally different, I wondered going into this one did I really want to read a book about Rockets and space and the moon and yet the moment I started listening to this book I was hooked, I enjoyed reading about the men and their families, the challenges that they and their families and NASA faced with this mission What it meant to Science and the average Joe all over the world I wasn t very familiar with the Apollo 8 and the Astronauts but obviously knew they flew a very successful mission and yet the suspense created in this account had me totally gripped and at times so anxious for these guys although I already knew the outcome of the mission On finishing this book I was as proud of the Rocket men as every American must have been back on Christmas 1968.This is my second book by this author I also enjoyed his book Pirate Hunters Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship.Really enjoyed the sense of time and place and the reminders of events and people mentioned in the book Above all I loved reading and discussing this one with my husband who is a huge fan of all things space and science and he found this an entertaining and informative read too The audio read by Ray Porter and Robert Kurson and was extremely easy to listen to and the narration really added to my enjoyment of this book

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