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Publisher's Summary

Soon to be a major motion picture, this is the first - and only - definitive authorized account of Neil Armstrong, the man whose “one small step” changed history.

When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. In First Man, author James R. Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over 50 hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this "magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) is an unparalleled biography of an American icon.

In this “compelling and nuanced portrait” (Chicago Tribune) filled with revelations, Hansen vividly recreates Armstrong’s career in flying, from his 78 combat missions as a naval aviator flying over North Korea to his formative trans-atmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to his piloting Gemini VIII to the first-ever docking in space. For a pilot who cared more about flying to the Moon than he did about walking on it, Hansen asserts, Armstrong’s storied vocation exacted a dear personal toll, paid in kind by his wife and children. For the near-50 years since the Moon landing, rumors have swirled around Armstrong concerning his dreams of space travel, his religious beliefs, and his private life.

A penetrating exploration of American hero worship, Hansen addresses the complex legacy of the First Man, as an astronaut and as an individual. “First Man burrows deep into Armstrong’s past and present.... What emerges is an earnest and brave man” (Houston Chronicle) who will forever be known as history’s most famous space traveler.

©2018 James R. Hansen (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What members say

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not really 'unabridged'

I own the original hardcover book, for which Audible had previously offered only an abridged version.

I've been eagerly awaiting this "unabridged" version for several months, and downloaded it immediately when it became available. What a disappointment to learn that this audiobook is based on a new, abridged paperback version, published in preparation for the release of the "First Man" film later this year.

Drastic surgery has been done on the original. Chapters have been rearranged and entire passages eliminated. As a point of comparison, the original hardcover length is 784 pages; the new paperback is just 464 pages.

The Armstrong story is fascinating, but this audio production doesn't do it justice. Jeremy Bobb, the narrator, is monotonic, and between his reading style and the butchered editing of the original book, the chapters on Armstrong's early years in the Navy and as a test pilot sound like a resume recitation, full of numbers and obscure abbreviations.

I just finished the audio version of Michael Collins's "Carrying the Fire," which I found to be a better written story with a much more evocative narrator (David Colacci).

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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First Man

The first half is full of names and dates but your patience will be greatly rewarded with the second half.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best overall book on Neil Armstrong!

A significant amount of detailed information relating to Apollo 11 mission and how difficult it was in order to be successful. Most people think about Armstrong as a lucky person to be chosen as the first man to set foot on the moon. None of this would’ve been possible if it were not for the following three attributes of Armstrong.

1- excellent pilot
2- ability to deal with stress during emergency procedures
3- very mechanically knowledgeable with engineering background.
4-Ability to work with different type of people under all kinds of conditions

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Insightful Biography

Thought this was going to be a dry recital of facts about a very interesting person. However, once I got into this book it was hard to put down. Very much appreciate the writing and telling of this book. Also, it is ended in a very wonderful way!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Volume of speaker too low even at max. Reads more like a textbook

Voice too low even at highest setting. Preview keeps playing and will not allow book to play

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Keep listening after the technical part

And you will in for a treat. Exceptionally well crafted bio. This edition follows all of the details of Armstrong's life before and long after the Moon and carefully lays out and sometimes debunks some Armstrong "legends" while expanding on verified events. It has a particularly fine ending as well.

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Great Biography of A Great American

This was a wonderful way to experience James Hansen's epic biography of Neil A. Armstrong. I have read it three times. The preface and ending are perfect bookends to an American Life!

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Great story about a reluctant yet, true American Hero

Neil Armstrong, the name says it all for my generation and before...

I really enjoyed the story. The life and times of a reluctant and thus quiet hero of not just America, but the world...



0 of 1 people found this review helpful