Audie Award, History/Biography, 2016
This acclaimed portrait of heroism and ingenuity captures a watershed moment in human history. The astronauts themselves have called it the definitive account of their missions. On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Based on in-depth interviews with 23 of the 24 moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, A Man on the Moon conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail.
©2007 Andrew Chaikin (P)2015 Audiobooks.com
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
This book is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall panorama of the extraordinary efforts made by NASA to land a man on the moon before the onset of the year 1970, and then the subsequent missions in the early 70s.
You look up at the big moon in the sky and it doesn’t look all that far away, but if the earth was a basketball, then the moon would be a baseball a distant 23 feet away, or a quarter of a million miles to full scale. And the technology available to get the astronauts there (and back) was fairly rudimentary by today’s standards; all foil, duct tape and steaming, simmering rocket fuel. The computer on board Apollo 11 contained less hardware than a pocket calculator, with a paltry 64 kilobytes of memory.
This book takes you through all the missions leading up to the 1969 moon landing (and beyond), and it becomes clear that the men inside the rockets were taking a very big risk every time they sat on those colossal vats of liquid hydrogen and got blasted into space. Manoeuvring out of earth orbit and then into lunar orbit required very precise burns of this rocket fuel to alter their speed and direction, and if these were miscalculated or if there was a malfunction, then they would have drifted into the blackness of space until their oxygen fizzled out, like Major Tom.
And the glamour of space flight loses some of its gloss when you hear the graphic descriptions of globules of urine, vomit and diarrhoea meandering randomly around the cabin. After several days cooped up inside the cabin the smell got so bad that one navy swimmer who released the astronauts from their command module in the Pacific Ocean wretched when he opened the hatch.
But there is also the sheer amazing exuberance of that first historic walk out onto the lunar surface. With Armstrong and Aldrin; two serious, highly intelligent and rigorously trained aviators bouncing around in the moon’s one sixth gravity like toddlers on a trampoline, and the surrealism of them being so ridiculously far away and so isolated, and yet being watched by 600 million viewers on live TV and having a phone chat with President Nixon. It’s so bizarre that it’s no wonder there are some cretins who think the whole thing was a hoax.
Like the moon, this story waxes and wanes in cycles of climax (the first moon landing and the Apollo 13 near-disaster) and anti-climax (Apollo 12, the second moon mission and Apollos 14-17, when moon geology becomes the main focus and the Apollo programme just gradually peters out). But despite these anti-climaxes, the audiobook tells the full story in rich detail, and you really feel as if you were there on the moon with those first pioneers. Recommended.
Chaikin's approach to the book, which isn't a straight history of Apollo. This is not a dry, dusty history, but rather a character-driven exploration of the program, with all of its brilliant successes and heart-breaking failures. Nor is it hagiography. The Apollo astronauts are real people, with all the flaws that that entails, and Chaikin does a great job of capturing their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
Though not a "character" in the literary sense: Pete Conrad. The chapter on Apollo 12 is my favorite.
Superb inflection and a recreation of the astronaut's speaking styles. Pinchot's reading was very nicely done and he does a great job of capturing the personalities of the astronauts. He doesn't try to do impressions, though. It is his interpretation of the astronauts, but accurate ones if you've ever heard one speak.
Yes, but I'm a manned space flight nerd. Your mileage may vary.
This is an outstanding story with excellent narration! Each vignette about the different Apollo episodes was a great story in itself. The book inspired me to find and watch YouTube videos on each of the launches. Very inspirational!!!
As a child growing up in the 60's I experienced the moon missions on TV, and back then they seemed "nominally" great. But now, as an adult, listening to this book, this audacious feat, the details, the human side, all add up to a story that is beyond amazing.
No one astronaut stood out, but the ones with a Texas drawl were my favourites.
Great tone, a "welcoming" story teller.
No, too long to listen to in one sitting.
Just as Steve Jobs once said when developing the iPod, "music is transformational", audio books are very much transformational as well. If you have a hobby as do I (building RC airplanes), you can enhance your hobby with audio books. I have been very pleased with this new experience.
retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so
I bought this because i wanted a change from World War 1 or 2, or badly written novels. I'm old enough to remember watching the Apollo 11 landing ( we here in Canada were as interested as the rest of the world) but like most others, my knowledge of the Space Program went no further than watching the Tom Hanks Apollo 13 movie. I was surprised with how ( for the most part) engaging it was. I agree it was written for listeners such as myself ( not too scientific or technical) and I quite liked learning about the astronauts as people, their fears, courage, determination, families. Some parts near the end dragged ( the discussion of geology and collection of samples from the moon) but overall......worth a listen
This book chronicles the full set of Apollo missions. It is very broad in scope, which is both a strength and weakness. There were many times that I wanted to know some of these astronauts more deeply as people, and other times I wanted more scientific detail. I realize, though, that the book that gave what I wanted might have been 2-3 times as long, and it already was more than 20 hours! Still, a number of the astronauts were profiled in depth, and this book is full of interesting scientific detail. It is cool that it covers the whole Apollo program. There were so many great parts, with even the slower moving pieces still interesting and easy to listen to. It is hard to write a great book which covers so much, and Chaikin did a pretty good job of it. I quit many audiobooks from boredom, but this had my interest throughout. One other flaw - it felt like the author tried to minimize anything negative about the astronauts, and it had a little bit of a sanitized feel to it. I didn't mind because these astronauts were pretty heroic. Overall, this book was interesting and uplifting, and had a great narrator. I will look at the moon differently now.
I really enjoyed every bit of the book. I've craved something that went deep; but I also wanted lots of details, yet a good story. This book delivered them both! This is the only book where I really felt like I was part of the story - I really felt as if I was there - with the astronauts - on the moon!! No other astronaut book gives you that kind of depth and intensity. The narration was top-notch and really helped move the story along. For anyone wanting a complete retelling of the Apollo program there is no better book.
The story is epic and expertly written by the author. Some technical details, yet more of the human factor - stories and anecdotes that bring the men of the Apollo program to life.
Author employs a somewhat too dramatic reading style that at times is completely at odds with the written material. Still, his style is decent enough and does not subtract too much from the experience.
Overall a wonderful audiobook that I can highly recommend to those curious about the manned missions to the moon, or to anyone with an interest in magnificent tales of courage, ingenuity and exploration.
An excellent and detailed work on the history of the NASA moon program. Good narration, and the author is obviously educated (and enthralled) about the subject. This three-volume set was the primary source material for HBO'S miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.
Story strives for emotion but only achieves a sickening sentimentality. This combined with the readers use of inflection at the end of every sentence for impact made me feel queezy at times.
"A great book"
If you have any interest in the History of the Apollo program this book is a must read. Very well researched and written I was disappointed to finish it so soon
This is an excellent book! Exciting history and the story is told in such a way that you even feel part of the adventure, I loved it!
"Fills in all the blanks of those Apollo missions"
Just about right for the detail, personal insight and the realization that we have lost the drive to seek and explore. The next chapter is still waiting to happen.
"Its all in the details"
Brave amazing legacy
The details of the characters.
His voice is easy enough to listen to.
Hold on to your seats.
I really enjoyed this audiobook, immerse yourself and enjoy the adventure.
"Awesome and aspiring book"
The book really caught my imagination. The narrator was really great too, he did a really decent approximation of accents in the book where needed, and I honestly can say I loved every minute of the book.
It takes you on a very personal journey through the Apollo missions from the perspective of the astronauts themselves, I never really appreciated the magnitude of what they'd accomplished until listening to this. Thoroughly recommended.
"A informative insight"
This book was the best I have listened to in regards to the Apollo program. So many unique insights into the inner workings of the Apollo Astronauts who were just the face of the entire mission.
Superb! Packed, PACKED with detailed accounts of everything Apollo. Really really good. Anyone who likes space flight and engineering and exploration will enjoy this book.
Without a doubt the best book written about the Apollo program with some fantastic stories. Clearly passionately written by a knowledgeable author and superbly read.
"Why did we stop visiting the moon"
The descriptions of each phase of the Apollo programme were excellent and you could almost feel part of each flight. Very well read and easy on the ear. I remember watching each event on the TV when they happened. I was not aware of the real detail particularly the scientific aspects. Roaming around the moon was so well described you could easily imagine being with the astronauts. Why did they stop the programme, the technical achievements were understated at the time. We could and should have learnt so much more. The views of each crew were very well portrayed which shows the research was excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable book.
"Known story comes back with loads of details"
I have spent countless hours reading about Apollo program. I you can find almost anything about it. But this book came with different approach. You will live the story with astronauts themselves as the book comes with amazing details about everyone of them.
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