Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * T he riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind's historic first mission to the Moon, from the bestselling author of Shadow Divers .
"Robert Kurson tells the tale of Apollo 8 with novelistic detail and immediacy."--Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian and Artemis
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FORBES AND THE ECONOMIST
By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy's end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon--in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas.
In a year of historic violence and discord--the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago--the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America's greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who'd dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight.
Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America's finest hours. In this real-life thriller, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first time--and arrive at a new world.
Praise for Rocket Men
"In 1968 we sent men to the Moon. They didn't leave boot prints, but it was the first time humans ever left Earth for another destination. That mission was Apollo 8. And Rocket Men, under Robert Kurson's compelling narrative, is that under-told story." --Neil deGrasse Tyson
" Rocket Men is a riveting introduction to the [Apollo 8] flight. . . . Kurson details the mission in crisp, suspenseful scenes. . . . [A] gripping book." -- The New York Times Book Review
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Kirkus Book Review
An exuberant history of a major turning point in early American spaceflight, possibly "the riskiest and most thrilling of all the Apollo missions."Man's first flight to the moon occurred seven months before the actual landing. While not ignored, the Apollo 8 mission has never achieved the iconic status of Apollo 11. This enthusiastic account aims to remind readers of its significance. "This is the best space story of all, I thought, and I wasn't the only one," writes journalist Kurson (Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship, 2015, etc.). He notes that after the national horror at the 1957 launch of Sputnik, everyone assumed that the Soviet Union enjoyed technical superiority and was racing to beat us to the moon. In fact, only the latter was true. Kurson opens the narrative in summer 1968 with a top-secret intelligence report that the Soviets might attempt a manned circumlunar flight by year's end. The Apollo mission was scheduled for 1969, but George Low, one official, maintained that the U.S. could match the Soviets. Some NASA leaders objected, and almost everyone agreed that "Sending Apollo 8 to the moon in December might be the boldest and riskiest and most important mission NASA ever attempted." Since beating the Soviets to the moon was Apollo's purpose, it had to be tried. The author offers biographies of those involved, a nuts-and-bolts account of four months of training and the flight itself, which was not without glitches, and digressions into events of 1968 America, torn by strife over civil rights and the Vietnam War. Most readers know how the story turned out, so Kurson strains to generate suspense, and space buffs will quickly realize that this is a journalistic account aimed at a mass audience (clue: the astronauts' courtships and family lives receive prominent attention).An overly breathless yet entertaining account of a pioneering space mission that deserves to be better known. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
New York Times Book Review
SMALL FRY: A Memoir, by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. (Grove, $17.) In her account of growing up as the daughter of an artist and the Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, the author offers an eloquent meditation on being caught between her parents' two worlds, and struggling with her father's emotional negligence and abuse. Full of uncanny intimacy and a distinctive literary sensibility, the book was one of the Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2018. THE HELLFIRE CLUB, by Jake Tapper. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $16.99.) In his first novel, the CNN anchor tells the story of a McCarthy-era congressman with dark secrets. He's soon confronted with the depth of Washington's corruption, seeing where money, ambition and power intersect. A parade of notable characters make appearances: Herbert Hoover, the Nixons, Roy Cohn, President Eisenhower. A BITE-SIZED HISTORY OF FRANCE: Gastronomic Tales of Revolution, War, and Enlightenment, by Stephane Hénaut and Jeni Mitchell. (New Press, $17.99.) This Franco-American couple (one a cheesemonger, the other an academic) tell the story of France's most iconic dishes and wines, and the historical, political and cultural forces that shaped them. Their discussions of oysters, champagne and more are lighthearted and memorable. LETHAL WHITE, by Robert Galbraith. (Mulholland/ Little, Brown, $18.99.) J.K. Rowling, writing under a pseudonym, returns to her detective hero Cormoran Strike. Strike is approached by a mentally unstable young man, Billy, who believes he witnessed a crime as a child. As Strike investigates, he's drawn into class politics, which Galbraith handles with a wry wit. Our critic Sarah Lyall called "Lethal White" "a big, stuffed-to-the-brim, complicated bouillabaisse of a book, not least because of the busy inner lives of its protagonists." ROCKET MEN: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon, by Robert Kurson. (Random House, $18.) Over 50 years after the Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth's orbit, Kurson tells the story of its remarkable journey, from the ferocity of blastoff to the astronauts' unexpected frailty in space, and captures the paradoxes and the glory of the first lunar orbit. IMMIGRANT, MONTANA, by Amitava Kumar. (Vintage, $17.) This thoughtful and entertaining novel follows an Indian graduate student in the United States as he negotiates a new life, capturing his growing estrangement from his homeland and family. As he tells it, his story is anchored by the women with whom he falls in and out of love, and the book has the feeling of a thinly veiled memoir.