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Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,953 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Moon Shot is a damned fine book! Even those of us who thought we were thoroughly covering the story never heard all the tales to be found within these covers... Gripping, authoritative, suspenseful, poignant and skilfully told, this is the ultimate inside story of the US space programme - Walter Cronkite

July 20, 1969. Eight years after President John F. Kennedy promised Am
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published 1994 by Virgin Books
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Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'll give this two stars, but that's a bit of a charity rating. If it wasn't for subject matter that truly interests me, I probably would have closed this one permanently after the first few hundred pages.

It didn't take long for me to realize how poor the writing is. It's bad enough to induce groans and eye rolls all too often. The number of times a 'many tongued, fire spewing monster' carried the astronauts to a 'higher astral plane of lavish weightlessness' is actually embarrassing. It reads l
Philip Hollenback
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, science
A more accurate title for this book would be "Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard are the Most Bad-Ass Astronauts Ever There Were, by Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard".

So yeah, obviously this is the US space program from the perspective of two of the original astronauts. There's a ton of amusing stories in this book. A number of them showed up in "The Right Stuff" so I guess Tom Wolfe talked to the right people when he wrote that book.

Some of the prose gets a little flowery and kind of overblown at point
Moon Shot is the ghostwritten account of Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton's experiences at NASA during the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. This is, of course, fascinating stuff, and I had difficulty putting the book down in terms of the subject matter.

However, the writing is TERRIBLE. It is SO BAD. SO BAD, you guys. It's ridiculously flowery in the way of newspaper writers who have no clue how to write something other than a newspaper column. The book gushes like mad over the astronauts, almo
Things I Liked:
I'm pretty much a fan of space books and will get some enjoyment out of anything written about it. Though I haven't read much of anything nonfiction for a while, I still get a buzz from reading a flying in space. This book had a pretty good look at what astronauts experienced - the ups and downs of flying and failing and not making it. I liked reading about the earlier programs, Mercury and Gemini that don't get a lot of attention. I thought it was an interesting and even excitin
C.H. Cobb
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the unfortunate consequences of a world in which more and more books roll off the presses each day, is that all too many good ones are forgotten too soon. Such is the case with Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon. It’s an exciting chronicle of the American manned space program from the arrival of Werner von Braun and his team of rocket scientists on our shores, to the final flight of Apollo.

It’s not primarily a story of technology, it’s more a story of men: the polit
Fascinating subject matter, but it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a history or a novelization. I'm glad I read it, though, I learned a lot about the space program that I hadn't known before.

One thing at the end almost ruined the book for me, though. Right after a really lovely passage about Deke Slayton finally getting to view the Earth from space and musing about how there are no borders from above, no nations, no politics, just one beautiful world, the book immediately turns to a sca
Augusto Barros
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just became one of my favorite books! An inside report of the american space program, specially the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Written in a very nice way to present the personal point of view of Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, including their personal dramas of being grounded when history was being written and their colleagues were being sent into orbit and to the moon.

I watched 'The Right Stuff' again this weekend, and it's really a poor picture of what happened to the Mercury 7 astro
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very entertaining story. It is very well done also.
Dee Arr
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Anyone looking for a detailed, blow-by-blow of everything that happened during the space race and slightly beyond may be slightly disappointed. This book reads more like a novel, capturing the excitement of what was nothing but fantasy to most people in the 1950s. The different missions of Mercury and Gemini leading up to Apollo 11 and beyond capture more of the human element, the glories and the frustrations of a group of men attempting to make the impossible possible. The culmination of two op ...more
Heather Domin
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm waffling between 3.5 and 4 stars. My personal fangirling makes me read anything to do with these people (and these two in particular) through rose-colored glasses, so of course I enjoyed the hell out of it; but to be honest the writing was a bit overdone for my taste. It's narrative prose (the "nonfiction novel") and somebody really wanted it to be dramatic. Which is fine of course - this stuff is dramatic! - but when you're reading long conversations you know can't possibly be verbatim, it ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great first hand History of how we got to the moon

Well written. Story of two astronauts, Shepard and Slaton, and how they overcame adversity and got back into space after being medically disqualified. It recounts through Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo the success and tribulation of American space flight. Over the last few pages the authors eviscerates the Obama Administration for gutting NASA and stopping manned space exploration.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The exuberant prose style can be a bit hard to take after a while, but it does have an inimitable 'I was there' feel (b/c at least two of the author were in fact 'there') which might be lacking in other books on the same topic.
Kayla  Tran
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contains some fascinating and entertaining stories about the space race. Some of the writing was a bit over the top, but overall it was amusing to read. Some of the dialogue was questionable and I'd rather have a summary of what happened rather than made up dialogue.
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Sort of boring, with flowery language that seems out of place at times. Did not finish; I have better things to do with my time.
Du Nguyen
Moon Shot by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton is their tale on the history of NASA, themselves and the race to the Moon.
This book is really great in the story told about NASA. All from the humble beginnings, how JFK pumped in more money to the Moon landing and the end of the Apollo program.
Some of the most interesting content I found was about the analysis of the political situation when JFK needed something to boost his popularity and put forth the mission to land a person on the Moon within the
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another vantage point, and going farther into the history of, the Space Race. Told majority from Deke Slayton's pov -- with interweavings from Alan Shepard -- it's an insider's look at the journey to the stars. Fine, extraordinary men doing extraordinary things, never lionized, and with their setbacks, peccadilloes, and triumphs. The narrators (Slayton & Shepard) allows room for awe, introspection, and grandiosity among the recounting. It's all a comfortable fit and adds nuance and thought-p ...more
Robert Smith
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting first person POV

I have watched the quest for space, cheering the triumphs and mourning the disasters, from Mercury through the ISS. Although this book is not a comprehensive history, it is a good sampling of history, technology, personal stories and even a few Russian milestones that we rarely heard about. All in all an enjoyable look back on an exciting era.
Adam Christian Smith
This book was kinda like an abbreviated version of everything I already know about the space race. I'd consider it 8-10 year old age reading.

But I'm well read on the subject. It's not bad writing or anything like that. But if you've read "In There Own Words", "The First Man" or "Rocket Men" you'll find this kinda lacking.
Mark Park
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great History! Great analysis at the end!

This book did start off slowly for me. In the end I received great history and enjoyed reading it. I enjoyed the analysis at the end. Why has the Obama Administration left us with no way of getting an American off ISS. We must rely on the Russians.
Jeff Wombold
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Being a space enthusiast this book has special meaning to me. As a child,I used to get up to watch the launches and to this day I am engrossed in anything related to science and love science fiction. It is unfortunate that the space race had come to a crawling halt. I learned many things I never knew from this book and highly recommend it.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's always amazing to hear first person accounts of how things worked in the Space Race. To hear it from the perspectives of Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton was particularly enlightening as their careers spanned the entirety of NASA's glory years. Phenomenal book!
Keith Bell
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my 2nd or 3rd time through and I appreciate the account more each time. Well written with insider insight without drama or over the top technical jargon. The final chapter and especially the final 3 pages are very inspiring.
Shain Wozniak
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's always lovely to hear what astronauts have to say about their experiences and space travel. If you love that stuff as much as I do, you better read this book.
Jim Swike
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story written by Alan Shepard about the Apollo Space Program, and the brave men that made it to the Moon and back. A great primary account, enjoy!
Susan Smith
Jun 09, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by:
Lots of detail I did not know and cool to read about Deke's eventual flight.
The subject matter is so interesting! How did they manage to make the book so awful?? The writers had no real sense of what makes a good story. All the astronauts came across as one dimensional, including the two who were actually involved in the writing. It's like they couldn't decide if it was a memoir or a history so it's mostly about Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, but they manage to not actually tell very many interesting stories and instead recount dialogue that reads as though it was inven ...more
There are some events in the history of mankind which can never be duplicated. Only one person could be the first to orbit the earth in a spacecraft, or drift outside its confines, or walk on the face of our moon. The 1950s through the 1970s were a special time in the great, epic story of our race. A few dozen men with skill, nerve, and willingness to put their lives on the line to experience the impossible, for themselves and their fellow human beings, stepped up for perhaps the greatest endeav ...more
Juliana Philippa
Kindle version is ON SALE for $1.99:
Moon Shot: the Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon
© 1995 Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton. Introduction by Neil Armstrong
383 pages

The Apollo program has been in the news as of late given the death of Neil Armstrong, who with Buzz Aldrin was one of the first men to land on the moon, but my own reading in this subject for the past couple of months was prompted by seeing From the Earth to the Sky, which I've since begun to watch again*. Moon Shot stands apart from the books I've read previously -
Julie &
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this book - takes you from the beginning of the Space program to Skylab, thru the eyes of 2 astronauts who participated during that time - Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard. Good read!
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Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (November 18, 1923 – July 21, 1998) (Rear Admiral, United States Navy, Ret.) was an American naval aviator and astronaut who became the second person, and the first American, in space. Ten years later, he commanded the Apollo 14 mission, and was the fifth person to walk on the Moon.

Original Mercury astronaut named in 1959, the first American in space during a suborbital
More about Alan Shepard...

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“It didn’t matter who liked whom, or on what side a man might find himself, because they were all on the side of a world of very definite finite resources, and they would all suffer terrifying consequences if they drained to bare bones the world that had conceived the life of the human race, fostered and nurtured that life, which now threatened to contaminate and destroy—” 1 likes
“When heavy cloud decks enveloped the planet, they created a whole new surface that had never before existed, of high mountain ranges, tumbling ravines. Sometimes the clouds would create huge cliffs, sheer walls miles high into which shadows fell to give them a startling sense of solidity, as though the whiteness below was some Antarctic winter mountain scene now spread across all the visible world. No oceans, no land surface, only that startling, shifting panorama, and then, suddenly, it became something else. Ethereal clouds. Some were misty, others wispy, but most were ghostlike. They appeared everywhere or strangely vanished, then showed up again, brushing the edges of islands and the shores of continents. They were members of the cloud family, a living race dancing and floating above the planetary surface. Astonished, awed, he had the strangest thought that perhaps this is what the angels could see . . . Deke gloried” 0 likes
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