Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight” as Want to Read:
Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  389 ratings  ·  107 reviews
Much has been written about Neil Armstrong, America's modern hero, history's most famous space traveler, and the first man to walk on the moon. Yet shy of fame and never one to steal the spotlight Armstrong was always reluctant to discuss his personal side of events. Here for the first time is the definitive story of Neil's life of flight he shared for five decades with a ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published July 1st 2014)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Neil Armstrong, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
A Man on the Moon by Andrew ChaikinFailure is Not an Option by Gene KranzThe Right Stuff by Tom WolfeLost Moon by Jim LovellCarrying the Fire by Michael  Collins
Space Books
154th out of 260 books — 83 voters
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris HadfieldA Man on the Moon by Andrew ChaikinCarrying the Fire by Michael  CollinsMoondust by Andrew      SmithLost Moon by Jim Lovell
Best Astronauts Books
35th out of 61 books — 64 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,998)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jul 26, 2014 Grumpus rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: David Rubenstein
Shelves: biography, audiobook
Nothing influenced my life more than the early NASA programs, especially the Apollo missions. I still remember myself as a young 8-year-old, watching the moon landing along with the rest of the world. I was the perfect age upon which this historic event would ensure maximum impact.

A fond memory is going outside with my Dad and looking up at the moon and wondering if we could see the light from the craft circling the moon while Neil and Buzz where on the surface. I was in awe. Surprisingly, these
Beth Sniffs Books
Neil Armstrong, A Life of Flight will be published on July 8, 2014 -- just in time to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first lunar landing! The narrative is 350 pages with a very generous amount of large, high-quality, black and white photos included throughout.

Neil Armstrong was a very private person. And to the best of my knowledge, unlike many of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts, Neil did not personally author anything on his spaceflight experiences. He is also noticeably absen
I have said it several times before I find anything aviation related to be intriguing. I someday do plan to finish up getting my pilot's license. Thus this is why for fans of aviation you should check this book out. Everyone is familiar with Neil Armstrong but do you know the "real" man in the suit?

Sometimes when you read a book you just know that author or writer is the right person for the job and you could not picture anyone else telling the story with such justice. Well this was the case wi
Elaine Mulligan
Epic - As a child whose parents pulled them off the beach to watch Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the Moon July 20, 1969, at 3:18pm ET. And woke them up later that night to watch Armstrong take the first steps on the Moon at 9:56pm ET this book is pure delight.

The author Jay Barbree is the only reporter to cover all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings. Neil Armstrong said “Barbree is history’s most experienced space journalist. He is exceptionally well qualifi
Got this as First Reads win. The author incorporates quotes from an older Neil seamlessly into events of young Neil's life. Unfortunately, there are a number of grammatical errors. I also found a lot of the technical language hard to follow. Otherwise, this is a well written, very factual book about one of the most important men in our history. It's taking me longer to read than I normally would read a book because I don't usually read biographies, but I definitely recommend this to anyone.
This is probably the Neil Armstrong biography we want to read. The author, who has covered the space program for 50 years, knew Armstrong well, and is able to give a close view of the man's character. If you're looking for dirt or deep details of his everyday life, you won't find them here, and who, really would want that. Instead, he covers mostly the career, with enough details about his personal life to make you better understand the man. The main touch points of the life -- Korea, Edwards AF ...more
This is not a biography. About 40% of the book focuses on the moon landing. Add in Gemini 8 and two spaceflights take up almost 60% of the book. Once the moon landing is over, the rest of Neil Armstrong's life - more than half his lifespan - is dismissed in a bare 50 pages.

That said, I am a complete space nerd. I loved the thorough coverage of the moon landing! Many of the photos were new to me and they were stunning. The stories of Neil, Buzz, and Michael working together were fascinating. The
John M.

For those who have never ready anything about the space program before, this is a good introduction.

For those who have read other 60s-era astronaut bios or histories, this book is nice to read but not necessary.

If you're looking for a biography of Neil Armstrong, this is probably not the book for you.

Jay Barbree was good friends with Neil Armstrong. I know this because he said so in the book. For someone who is such a good friend, I expected more insight into the man himself. Most of the book i
I received this book as part of GoodReads First Reads giveaway.

That was most excellent. This book is primarily a story about the American and Soviet space programs during the space race in the 60's but it is also biography of Neil Armstrong.

The author talks about the space program at a high and low level. He talks about the rivalry between the United States and the USSR that really drove the race to the moon but he also talks about the on the ground life of the astronauts in the Mercury, Gemini
I received "Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight" as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

Written by journalist (and close friend of Armstrong) Jay Barbree, A Life of Flight is an account of Neil Armstrong's life and career (with a focus on the latter).

Listed at about 340 pages, the book is probably actually significantly less than that due to the addition of many photographs (a nice touch, I might add). As alluded to above, the book doesn't include much information on Armstrong's early life; rather, it jum

As an air mechanic in the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, I fell in love with aircraft. At Christmas 1968 when Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders reappeared from the dark side of the moon in the first lunar orbit, I fell in love with space travel. The author covered every manned space flight by the US and knows intimately the life of the first man to step on to the moon. This is his story of a truly remarkable human being. How much more went into the training of the astronauts than I
Dave Kramer
Like so many, I can recall exactly where I was when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon's surface. (And let's not forget Michael Collins, circling above, keeping their ride home safe and ready to swoop down and rescue them should their craft fail to achieve its planned altitude after liftoff from the moon. His potential role is just one of the things that I learned in this book.) Dating myself, I was at a Boy Scout camp, watching on a black & white portable TV screen that on ...more
Byron Edgington
Here we have a biography of the first human being to step onto another celestial body. This bio of Neil Armstrong arrives on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission, which Armstrong commanded. Barbree was (and is) a correspondent for NBC TV, and and a co-writer with Armstrong, Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard of the New York Times bestseller Moon Shot. Avoiding the standard cradle to grave timeline, Barbree’s book covers Armstrong’s aviation career, beginning with his ...more
I first became avidly interested in the U.S. space program when I was a kid in the mid 1970s with early memories of watching coverage of the later Apollo moon landings, and have followed its history since that time, so I am part of the natural audience for this book. That interest in the space program, and in learning more about the famously publicity-shy Armstrong, who died in 2012, is what drew me to this book. If you have that level of interest and want to delve more into some details of the ...more
Disclaimer: I received this ARC for free through the Goodreads First Readers program.

I have been a space geek since my early teens, focusing mainly on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo era. Knowing that Neil Armstrong tended to stay out of the public eye, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this definitive biography. And I was not disappointed. I flew through the pages in a sort of wide-eyed wonder, so thrilled that I couldn't help but quote from the book to anyone in the room.

As some other reviewer
Katherine Wacker

In Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight, Jay Barbree tells the personal and public story of a private man, beginning with Armstrong’s service in the Korean War. After becoming one of the most talented test pilots in the country, he was selected for the NASA program. Barbree gives a wonderful account of the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong was perhaps the most famous person on earth at the time, yet few people knew of his fights for survival or of the tragic death of his daughter. A Life of
J. Else
I won an advanced reader copy from Goodreads. As such I will overlook the large amount of typos and sentences that were incomplete.

The story itself focuses on Neil Armstrong's life during the space race of the 1960s. As someone born in 1978 I never experienced these moments. To read about them with a focus on Neil Armstrong's insight and thoughts was a rare delight. The author clearly knows his stuff, most especially the man who walked on the moon first. I really enjoyed the personal aspect to
May 30, 2014 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Space fans; history buffs
Full Disclosure - I received a copy of this as a First Reads Giveaway.

Right from the introduction I was hooked on this book. I grew up with the space race and moon landing. Having read a great deal about it, I was curious about the man that all of the other astronauts seemed to admire so much. But I knew what a private person he was. The author was there, as a part of the space race and moon landing. He showed a lot of respect for Neil Armstrong's privacy, statements in confidence, and focuses o
Read Ng
This was a GoodReads giveaway.

Growing up, the race to the moon was such a memorable series of accomplishments to me as a young boy. The excitement and the danger all astronauts went through was astounding. I so vividly recall looking up at the moon that summer evening and thinking of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and later watching him take that first step.

This book reads very quickly. It provides great insight into a very private hero. There is a great blend of the entire space program lea
Russell Goulet
It is hard to believe that it has been 45 years since Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Jay Barbree brings back those memories and adds tons of valuable information in his book Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight. The book provides an insider's view of the U.S. space program and all that Armstrong brought to it. Reading Armstrong's take on the events and happenings was quite interesting. Barbree brings a different perspective to all of the information and provides facts and details in a very eas ...more
Anne Goetz
This was a high-intensity recap of America's space program and the many roles that Neil Armstrong played in it. I enjoyed reading about the quiet character of a man who achieved so much, starting with so little. I was five years old when the last moon mission took place, and though I recognized the names of the astronauts and understood the giant leaps America took in the sixties and seventies, I had no idea what went on behind the scenes. This book tells it all in riveting detail. If you're int ...more
It is July 20, 2014. I just finished a fascinating biography of the first man to step on the moon, Neil Armstrong, on the 45th anniversary of that historic event. This biography was engaging and kept my interest throughout most of the book, and included glimpses into the lives of others involved in the history of flight and the space program, from the Gemini capsules to the space shuttles. Additionally, this biography showed snippets of the successes and failures of the Russian/Soviet space prog ...more
This is a great book. I would recommend this to anyone who was looking for a biography of Armstrong, or even a general book about the early space program. Barbree's writing style is very casual and fun to read. You can really feel how much he loved his friend in every page. His accuracy may not have been 100%, but there weren't any major errors in the text. This book really felt like you were having a conversation with the best friend of someone who recently died. There will be tears, laughter, ...more
Melinda Elizabeth
Jay Barbree starts off by telling the reader that he was a longtime friend of the somewhat reclusive and quiet Neil Armstrong. He affirms that he was long held in his confidence and that there were many tales told to him from the brilliant Armstrong. The sad truth of this novel is that with this tempting tidbit of information we are provided, we’re not let in to Armstrong’s confidence, and the novel retells information that you’re able to find from any other source.

However you do need to give a
My second book on the life of this remarkable American hero. Jay Barbree does a formidable job here of capturing the drama and incredible courage these pioneers of our space program put forth to accomplish which stands to this day as our most dynamic achievement, putting man on the moon. The book is focused on Armstrong but as it was such a team effort we are reintroduced to the many co-heroes who did their part in equal measure to accomplish the goal. Armstrong because of his unique personality ...more
Don Best
A book written from the heart of a journalist friend to Neil Armstrong ( and the space program ), Jay Barbree. There is nothing really new revealed in the book regarding the space program if you have followed it. But it is an excellent review of the life of a quiet man that had a dream and desire to be part of the hugely ambitious space program to reach the moon and return. And contrary to what is viewed as being a success in our society today, did not step on the backs of others, did not push h ...more
Neil Armstrong A Life of Flight, is an amazing fantastic book. I will be honest I was nervous if I would like this book or not, even though for many years I've been amazed and loved the subject of space travel especially the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. This book has the great balance of writing about Neil Armstrong without writing too much about Neil Armstrong. Which I believe is Neil was alive today that is what he would have wanted. A book about his life but more about his life of flight a ...more
I'm one of the biggest Neil Armstrong fans on the planet. In fact, I am the proud owner of a real Neil Armstrong autograph.

How do I know it's authentic? Easy - he signed it for me, right in front of my face, in May 1980 when I met him in the sauna at a Marriott hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It wasn't until years later when that I read about this vow never to sign another autographs after about 1973, following various run-ins with forgers. So to get his autograph in 1980 was pretty special in
Van Edwards
Great book. This biography is not so much about Neil Armstrong, but about the space program in the sixties. This was a time of invention, innovation and bravery that we have haven't really seen since. Men like Armstrong made it their business to push themselves - and mankind - further into space. The high point of the book is the moon landing and somehow it's become easy to forget what a spectacular and incredible feat this was. Because of how our government has grown, I have serious doubts that ...more
I grew up as a child of space race. I followed Walter Cronkite cover the Gemini missions and then the Apollo missions. We had our heros in the form of men like Neil Armstrong. It was an amazing time to be a witness to the start of space exploration. This biography of Neil Armstrong was written by a man who covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings. He was Neil's friend and he writes that this booked was planned for twenty years.

It is a very easy read, with short chapters that
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 66 67 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon
  • Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard--America's First Spaceman
  • Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--the Creators of Superman
  • Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race
  • Flight: My Life in Mission Control
  • Rocketman: Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond
  • First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
  • The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight
  • In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969
  • Apollo: The Race To The Moon
  • The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space
  • The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason, and Byron's Daughter
  • Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
  • Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon
  • Going Home To Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969
  • A Rare Titanic Family: How the Caldwells Survived the Sinking and Traveled the World
  • The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight
  • The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission
Jay Barbree (born 1933) is a correspondent for NBC News, focusing on space travel. Barbree is the only journalist to have covered every manned space mission in the United States, beginning with the first American in space, Alan Shepard aboard Freedom 7 in 1961, continuing through to the latest mission, Atlantis's STS-132 mission in May 2010. Barbree has been present for 132 space shuttle launches, ...more
More about Jay Barbree...

Share This Book

“From deep within the solar system a large planetoid was headed Earth’s way. It was on a collision course and it was unbelievably massive—possibly the size of Mars itself. Had there been humans on Earth then they would have spotted this intruder millions of miles out. They would have watched it grow in size night after night. Soon it would have filled the sky. There would have been no escape, no reprieve. Instantly they would have been staring doom in its face as—at an oblique angle—the planetoid squashed the young Earth.” 0 likes
“we” 0 likes
More quotes…