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Publisher's Summary

On July 20, 1969, the world stood still to watch 38-year-old American astronaut Neil A. Armstrong become the first person ever to step on the surface of another heavenly body. Perhaps no words in human history became better known than those few he uttered at that historic moment.

Upon his return to Earth, Armstrong was honored and celebrated for his monumental achievement. He was also, as James R. Hansen reveals in this fascinating and important authorized biography, misunderstood. Armstrong's accomplishments as an engineer, a test pilot, and an astronaut have long been a matter of record, but Hansen's unprecedented access to private documents and unpublished sources and his interviews with more than 125 subjects (including more than 50 hours with Armstrong himself) yield this first in-depth analysis of an elusive American celebrity still renowned the world over.

In a penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual. In First Man, the personal, technological, epic, and iconic blend to form the portrait of a great but reluctant hero who will forever be known as history's most famous space traveler.

©2005 James R. Hansen; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Rather than overwhelming, this accumulation of details gives flesh-and-blood reality to a man who is more icon than human. With the recent renewal of interest in manned space travel, this book is a must for astronaut buffs and history readers alike." (Publishers Weekly)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall

Not great, but pretty good

The book reflects Armstrong's personality: interesting but tends to bog down in detail a little every now and then. The only thing I really didn't like was the narrator changing his voice to reflect the different characters, including women. Wasn't necessary & is a distraction.

Overall, it's a pretty good book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • West Newton, MA, USA
  • 01-15-06

Very Interesting Audiobook

I grew up with the space program and can rememebr exactly where I was when Apollo 11 went to and landed on the moon. This is a very open and honest book about all the good aspects to Neil Armstrong (which made him a great pilot and astronaut) as well as the pieces of his personality that created distance from others including his family members. The added benefit to the download is that unlike the book - you can actually listen to NASA audio of the Apollo 11 and Gemini 8 missions - gave me goosebumps for the actual Apollo 11 landing in July 1969

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

"Wapakoneta" of a story!

I didn't want it to end. I was completely wrapped up in every word. FANTASTIC!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ken
  • Englewood, NJ, United States
  • 07-05-09

Well done

Enjoyed it immensely. The story moves quickly. There is enough background material to understand the particulars of the mission. Some criticism of Armstrong. Good use of other biographies. And excellent use of audio archives. Kennedy's speech at Rice University, actual audio from the Apollo 11, etc.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Vik
  • San Jose
  • 08-16-17

Excellent biography

This book really gives you the insights behind the Apollo program as well as Neal Armstrong and his life. Excellent read. The Audible version is also very well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • Co Tipperary, Ireland
  • 02-14-12

Intelligent use of the aural media.

What made the experience of listening to First Man the most enjoyable?

The use of actual audio from the period. Just enough to add to the story, but not so much that took from the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Neil Armstrong Accomplishments

If you are fan of the early NASA space program you are likely to enjoy this book. This was an excellent book about Neil Armstrong's background and accomplishments, starting from his childhood. Perhaps due to his quiet nature, there is not much about the Neil Armstrong the person. The book focuses more on the things he did. From his early love of flying, the Gemini space program and of course, the Apollo space program. There are many interesting facts and escriptions of the space flights that were new to me. Especially about the training for Apollo 13 and the details of their flight and his relationships with his Apollo 13 crew mates. It was sad to see that NASA did a poor job of rewarding the astronauts for their heroic efforts so it was good to know that Armstrong is now living a very happy civilian life. I'm not sure in today's media centric society if someone like Armstrong would be picked today - but after reading this book it was clear he was the right man to accomplish the task.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jim
  • Barstow, CA, USA
  • 11-07-05

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

A must read. Learn about the most famous person alive, Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the Moon. A very enjoyable book. If you are a space fan, this book will top your reading list for many years to come.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great! Especially for the next generation

What made the experience of listening to First Man the most enjoyable?

There are layered in "real" play backs when they were in certain parts of their <br/>mission.

What did you like best about this story?

Armstrong; Aldrin, and Collins are truly American heroes. Too much to list <br/>about was the best about the entire story of what they accomplished.

Have you listened to any of Boyd Gaines’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Well written. Excellent format as well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When they lesft for the moon: takeoff<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>

Any additional comments?

Listen to it. You'll be glad you did! Why they are all from Ohio is interesting.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent story of an amazing man

After hearing the audiobook I will definitely buy the book as well. The reader was a little dramatic at times but I enjoyed it very much. Highly recommended.