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Apollo: The Race To The Moon

4.48  ·  Rating Details ·  659 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Out of print for fifteen years, this is the classic account of how the United States got to the moon. It is a book for those who were part of Apollo and want to recapture the experience and for those of a new generation who want to know how it was done. It is an opinon shared by many Apollo veterans. Republished in 2004 with a new Foreword by the authors.
Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 1st 2004 by South Mountain Books (first published January 1st 1989)
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H. Honsinger
Feb 15, 2014 H. Honsinger rated it it was amazing
This book is, by far, my favorite book about the early days of America's space program and about the Apollo missions. Unlike most books which are largely narrative of the missions and that focus on the launches, landings, and activities of the astronauts, this book focuses on the development of the launch vehicles, spacecraft, and mission management systems that took the astronauts to the moon. It immerses the reader in three cultures: one formed around the captured German rocket engineers who d ...more
Carl Nelson
Aug 29, 2011 Carl Nelson rated it it was amazing
"Apollo" is the story of how a nation went from having limited space flight capability to landing a man on the lunar surface within the space of a decade, and the people who made that happen. The narrative concentrates on the stories of NASA administrators, engineers, flight controllers, and technicians, with a supporting cast of Presidents, astronauts, and contractors. Rather than telling the story of the astronauts (as many Apollo program histories do quite well), "Apollo" describes who design ...more
Feb 11, 2009 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a growing collection of books about the Apollo program. Apollo, The Race To The Moon, by Murray and Cox, is very much unlike the others. It focuses on the cast of thousands who brought the program to life, instead of on the more famously well-known astronauts. Names like Armstrong, Aldrin and Lovell barely make cameo appearances, while others like Kranz and Kraft run throughout the book. Getting to know them and watching them do something they truly loved is the point here. Not so much ge ...more
Jan 20, 2016 victoria.p rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting and informative history of the Apollo program via the engineers and flight controllers and mission control people.
Jan 28, 2013 Alison rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Utterly fascinating. This book combines the truly awesome (in the real sense of that word) accomplishments of the Apollo missions with the personal stories that add a human element to one of humanity's greatest achievements. Highly, highly recommended.
Aaron Arnold
May 11, 2012 Aaron Arnold rated it it was amazing
What a superb history. After finishing it, I found that it did several things that I liked. First of all, it stayed true to its title and concentrates tightly on the Apollo Program only, tracing its journey from the creation of NASA in the late-50s post-Sputnik panic to the splashdown of Apollo 17. Secondly, it focused on the engineers who designed and guided the Apollo rather than either the astronauts who flew it or the politicians who oversaw it - this was a side of the story I'd never heard ...more
Just A. Bean
Very well written and enjoyable. Though it doesn't have room to be comprehensive, it gives good coverage to the program design that led up to Apollo with special attention to Mission Control. It's full of interesting and often funny stories, and weaves the technical challenges in very well. Doesn't cover the later missions basically at all. It also doesn't cover the astronauts, so pairs well with Man on the Moon.

Would read again.

This book is somewhat unusual in that it a history of the Apollo project from the perspective of NASA employees on the ground rather than from the point of view of the astronauts. Most of the people described worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston (called the Manned Spaceflight Center at the time) or at the Kennedy Space Center. Most of the events described are focused on launching rockets or the command of the mission once the spacecraft had been launched. The astronauts did not command

King Ævil
Dec 29, 2007 King Ævil rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Apollo buffs who wish to know more about Apollo "behind the scenes"
Shelves: apollo, 2008
Apollo tells the story of the Apollo program from the point of view of the engineers, technicians and programmers who built the spacecraft and made them fly. This book is a worthy companion to more popular accounts of Apollo that focus on the astronauts; I recommend it to anyone familiar with Apollo, who wishes to round out her knowledge. Do not be fooled, however, by the blurbs on the cover: the focus is far more on Apollo as a triumph of science and engineering than on hair-raising tales from ...more
Oct 23, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
A fantastic effort by the authors, who have managed to create a highly readable, entertaining account of arguably the most technical, dense achievement in human history. I am about as lay a person as you can get when it comes to physics and rocketry but the subject matter is approached in a manner that allows the lay enthusiast to absorb the gist of just how difficult some of the challenges were facing NASA during the 60s. Interviews and commentary from members of the program pepper the narrativ ...more
Apr 14, 2009 Kenny rated it really liked it
A colleague of mine referred me to this book and it exponentially increased my appreciation for the Apollo program and the inspiring story of how America put a man on the moon. It starts with Kennedy's bold assertion in 1961 that the U.S. could put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. It then focuses not on the astronauts who receive most of the glory for achieving that goal, but rather on the teams of engineers who designed the spacecraft, the rocket, the launchpad, ran mission contr ...more
May 05, 2008 Jeffrey rated it really liked it
This isn't the Apollo book you might expect ... all the usual stars of these books - the political bigwigs, the famous names and the astronauts - barely make the story. Instead, this is the story of all slide rule-toting engineers, eccentric designers and hard-nosed flight controllers that really made things work behind the scenes. Absolutely enthralling for anyone more interested in the science and how-it-worked behind the zenith of America's space program.

The only downside is that in covering
Wonderfully written account of the behind-the-scenes people who made President Kennedy's 1961 promise to put a man on the moon reality just eight years later. This is not a glamorous story about brave astronauts, but rather a nerdalicious account of all the scientists and technicians who, working with less computational power than I have in my cell phone today, were able to send humanity into space. This book left me with a much better understanding of what a mammoth accomplishment this truly wa ...more
George Bradford
Feb 25, 2008 George Bradford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apollo
Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox wrote this book. It was originally published in 1989 and was out of print until the authors republished it in 2004. It is an essential text on the United States' Apollo Program.

This book is the story of the engineers, scientists and technicians who made the dream a reality. It is not about the astronauts. In fact, the astronauts are conspicuously absent from the story. The focus here are the legions of people who worked in obscurity to conceive, design, build
One of the very best (of the many) Apollo books I've read. This was the first mainstream book to really get behind the scenes of the Apollo program and see the works from the inside, as told by the insiders. Highlights include an explanation of the pogo problems with the Saturn V rocket and what was done to correct it; a review of the Apollo 204 fire (publicly known as 'Apollo 1') and its aftermath; and a very good overview of 'the trench,' the workspaces at launch control and mission control wh ...more
Jul 06, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing
Loved the book. There are numerous stories about the Apollo program from the perspective of the astronauts, and of the big news stories (Apollo 11 and 13). This book looks at the people behind the program. The engineers, the leaders, the risk takers, the strong personalities...
It is a fascinating look behind the scenes. Brilliant people, in the right place at the right time. You'll understand why a program like Apollo will never happen again.
A must read for any space nerd, such as myself.
Mar 29, 2014 Mof rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, space
Charles Murray before he started writing about racist stuff wrote some interesting books. Or maybe the subsequent ideas arose from this. The Apollo project was one of the last spectacular triumphs of the exclusive male white world. There is only one female in the story and no minorities. Not even an Asian.
Still it is a good read about one of the last triumphs of big government. Big goals, aggressive timeline and delivered. This was about government taking risk and achievement. But as the new Ca
Jan 12, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing
This is trhe definitive book if you want to know about the Apollo teams on the ground. This is not about the astronauts, although they are obviously mentioned, but the background men (and women) who engineered, designed, administered, controlled, manufactured, etd, etc everything to do with the manned space programme in the 1960s.
There is a marvellous ands detailed account of how it all began, the Kennedy speech and the preceding programmes, Mercury and Gemini, without which the Apollo missions
David Pedreira
Jun 07, 2014 David Pedreira rated it it was amazing
Amazing book about the behind the scenes of the Apollo space program. It doesn't focus on the astronauts (like the authors say, there are plenty of books for that), but on the people who worked on Apollo. It's a great read and written in such a way that makes you feel compelled to turn to the other page. While I'm a fast reader, I finished it in just a week. Perfect book for kids interested in Space too.
Gautam Soman
"Apollo: The Race to the Moon" by Catherin Cox and Charles Murray is one of the most comprehensive accounts of what is widely considered as the most notable achievement of human race.

Cox and Murray provide a deep insight into the NASA technology management for Apollo program, covering in detail the development histories of Saturn V, Apollo spacecraft and the art & science of mission control.
This is a must-read book for every NASA buff and Apollo-enthusiast.
Dec 09, 2012 Kathy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, as I grew up with the space program and I find our exploration of space (both manned and unmanned) fascinating. This book tells a story not often told, the story of the people on the ground, mostly during Apollo. (I thought Gemini was pretty darned exciting and it never gets its due....most authors seem to focus on Mercury or Apollo.) The writing and the story-telling are pretty times, the authors got a little too technical for most readers, but I enjoyed it.
Dr Bitetto
Sep 01, 2015 Dr Bitetto rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
Recommended to Dr by: A Friend
This book presents the inside scoop into the actual reasons for the Apollo Program.
This is written from the stand point of may of those that were involved in the space
program and what it was actually intended to do for the United States and the rest of
the "free world"...
This book is spell binding in its use of story telling format and is also both readable
and understandable by anyone with a GED.
Nasos Delveroudis
Jul 05, 2015 Nasos Delveroudis rated it really liked it
Finally a book which does service to the geniuses behind the panels, those who designed the Apollo project and made it happen. The astronauts may have been the top of the iceberg but underneath you had not only hundreds of thousands who worked their butts off, but also some truly remarkable personalities and minds.

An excellent work, any Apollo reading is not complete without that book.
Jan Van Ryswyck
Dec 23, 2015 Jan Van Ryswyck rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is the story about the people who made moonflight possible. It's not about the astronauts, but about the men and women on the ground who put their lives on hold to engineer and guide Mercury, Gemini and ultimately Apollo space flights. Great stories about the birth of NASA. Highly recommended if you're into the history of space flight.
Patrick Lum
Feb 02, 2016 Patrick Lum rated it it was amazing
An incredible, meticulously researched account of the Apollo Program from the view of the engineering, design and mission control teams. Can get slightly too technical at times especially for one unfamiliar with orbital mechanics and the like, but wonderfully conveys the impressive, impossible fulfillment of an scientific dream while keeping the human side of the story right at the forefront.
Jessica Bowles-martinez
Jan 25, 2013 Jessica Bowles-martinez rated it it was amazing
Out of print but available on kindle. Its the story of the engineers and it helped me understand where some requirements came from and the logic for some things that seem at first to not make sense. Very interesting too. Makes engineers superheroes.
Sarit Arora
Sep 01, 2012 Sarit Arora rated it it was amazing
A view of the appolo program through engineers and technicians point of view. Lot of lessons for managers and engineers to accomplish something big specially when their team feels low after a setback. I am amazed that so many lessons are so relevant today. Can't wait to finish the whole book.
Purple Osprey
Oct 22, 2015 Purple Osprey rated it really liked it
Why no pictures in my ebook?
I'm not an Apollo buff or even an American, I just stumbled across this book by accident. It is both thorough and selective at the same time. Obviously, an enormous amount of work went into it, but it is probably not for the casual reader.
Oct 18, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, space, e-book
Have read this book many times. It's a superb account of the engineering effort behind Apollo. The one area that's insufficiently covered, I think, is the guidance computer effort at MIT, especially the software development, which was a precursor to so much that followed.
Apr 19, 2013 Caleb rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book detailing the engineering and managerial aspects of the Apollo program. The authors interviewed some 150 people involved in the program and combed through all kinds of archived material to weave a great narrative that covers the Apollo program from start to finish.
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