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The Man Who Ran the Moon: James E. Webb, NASA, and the Secret History of Project Apollo
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The Man Who Ran the Moon: James E. Webb, NASA, and the Secret History of Project Apollo

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  89 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
One man, more than any other, created the giant space agency we know today as NASA: James E. Webb. The Man Who Ran the Moon explores a time when Webb and an elite group of charismatic business associates took control of America's Apollo moon project, sometimes with disturbing results. In 1967, NASA was rocked by disaster and Apollo was grounded. Webb was savaged in a Congr ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 24th 2006 by Basic Books
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A good, and at times a very good book centered on the man who is still widely regarded as NASA's greatest administrator, James E. Webb.

Bizony makes no bones about the fact that his purpose here is to promote Webb's legacy--James Webb was a very effective but quiet leader, who preferred to stay out of the public eye. Bizony has an interesting thesis, arguing that Webb should be regarded as one of the premier politicians of the second half of the 20th century.

That's a lofty argument, and Bizony ma
To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, this is a first-rate second rate book. As a book, I give it low marks in terms of argument. It simply lacks a strong message. It's prose is merely ordinary, in line with the decayed standards of modern American non-fiction writing and editing (I think the editing has fallen down more than the writing, good editors cause authors to improve their writing).

This is a shame because the one sterling aspect of the book is its content. Whether or not one is interested
There are no particular secrets revealed in this book, which is basically a biography of the most effective administrator of NASA, James E. Webb. Despite the title, I enjoyed the book. Webb was the administrator during most of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He had previously been an official in the Truman administration. The main "secrets" revealed would be various somewhat sleazy connections between a lobbyist (one Mr. Black) for the main contractor for the Apollo program, North Ameri ...more
Oct 23, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it
This was an interesting behind the scene look at the politics of NASA. While reading astronaut biographies, Webb always seems the mysterious head, only seen from a far.

I wish that Congress would either let NASA turn into a private company (Think of all the inventions they have helped create. If that pattened those, they would have the money.) or let NASA have an active space program of it's own. I like that Webb had a vision of how to build NASA, encourage the academic community to support scie
Dennis Boccippio
Dec 30, 2010 Dennis Boccippio rated it really liked it
Readers will find little new in "The Man Who Ran the Moon", although its focus on an often-overlooked but central figure in the Apollo program - NASA Administrator James Webb - is a welcome supplement to the popular histories of the era. Webb's views on the organization and management of the newborn agency are almost as interesting as his political dealings through the 1960s. The complex interplay between aerospace contractors and the Federal government is also given more exposure than conventio ...more
Tom Callen
Jun 01, 2016 Tom Callen rated it liked it
Kind of dry material which read more like a stuffy college history textbook than a memoir. However, I'm glad I read it. I gleened insight into the early days of NASA I had never really known. The private meetings with JFK, then Lyndon Johnson, all seeming to threaten the existence of NASA at every turn.

This is a book that I'm glad to add to my collection of books related to the Apollo-era of NASA that I own. However, not sure someone with no (or even a passing) interest in NASA would enjoy this
Aug 02, 2011 Todd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent historical account of the space program and the forgotten man who ran it in its very infancy. A recounting of things that were not in the paper how the president (Kennedy) wanted to "beat" the Russians to the moon. And how Kennedy also wanted to us the NASA programs to deflect from other issues. Then LBJ using the programs to also deflect from an Asian War.

A good read, that is at times a bit dry. But he makes it through those periods quickly. Short chapters which make it easy to read in
iain meek
Mar 08, 2014 iain meek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good history of NASA and the Space Race focussing on James Webb, who led the outfit.


thanks to Camden libraries
Jan 04, 2015 Stefan rated it really liked it
great insight to a lesser known but probably one of the most influential people of the great space race. Author clearly did some exhaustive research
Dec 25, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: space, biography
Enjoyable and easily readable early history of NASA. Piers is very good on space history.
Rod Pyle
SImply the best book available on James Webb, without whom we would never have set foor on the moon. Well researched and lovingly written by Bizony, one of the best in the business.
Aug 28, 2007 Bob rated it liked it
Good overview of Webb's career at NASA, but glosses over other important figures like Abe Silverstein in favor of high-profile names like von Braun and Gilruth.
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Piers Bizony is a science journalist and space historian who writes for magazines such as Focus and Wired as well as the Independent. His award-winning book on Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was described as 'full of sparkling enthusiasm' by the New Scientist and 'excellent, in every way worthy of Kubrick's original precision-crafted vision' by the Evening Standard.
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