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

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  2,872 ratings  ·  202 reviews
The never-before-told story of the courage, dedication, and teamwork that made the journey to the moon possible--an intense human drama of the sacrifices and risks asked of a remarkable group of astronauts. Shepard and Slayton, part of the pioneering space program from the beginning, tell this fascinating inside story. 32 pages of photos.
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published December 31st 1994 by Turner Publishing, Inc.
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  2,872 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Daniel Villines
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Imagine finding Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton sitting in bar, nursing a couple of beers, and talking about old times. You notice them, they seem friendly, and you walk up and ask, “How did it all happen? What was it like?” This book is the story they would tell.

Moon Shot is a book taken from the minds of two people who’s youth culminated in similar achievements. They were both aviation test pilots at the dawn of the Jet Age, when the frontier of space represented the boundary of the envelope. It
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
Philip Hollenback
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, history
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
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
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
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
Oct 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Interesting and factual...until the last chapter

I enjoyed this chronicle of the early American space program up until the Apollo Soyuz mission. The introspective narrative around Shepherd and Slayton have it a memoir feeling and the struggles these two men endured to fly were inspirational.

Then the afterword came. A vicious and biased screed accusing the Obama administration of purposely destroying NASA. Barbree showed his partisanship and pettiness. To point the finger at an administration faci
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a very entertaining story. It is very well done also.
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Focussing on the contributions of Mercury 7 astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, who both moved into the administrative side of NASA after being grounded for medical reasons, this book offers a decent overview over the early American space programme from its beginnings through the Apollo missions. However, it pales beside Andrew Chaikin's superb A Man On the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, which is both far more detailed and better written. If you'd prefer the quicker, more goss ...more
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
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.
Chris Dean
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent first-person descriptions of the early days of America's space program. While some sections can get technical for the passing reader, it is still a glimpse of an important (if not forgotten) part of our history.
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Apollo Moon Landings by journalist Jay Barbree and astronauts Alan Shephard and Deke Slayton. This book was a fascinating account of one of the greatest achievements by humanity to occur in my lifetime; the launch of humans into space, followed by a landing on the moon, and then a joint mission by American astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts.

I was born at the right time, 1957, to remember every space launch with child-like wonder. I can reca
Raina Guffey
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Book So Good It's Out of This World!!! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🚀🌛

Many nonfiction books about historical events I am already familiar with can be written in such a textbook way that I become bored with the simple regurgitation of the facts and lack of new information or insight and I sometimes find it difficult to finish reading the book. This was certainly NOT the case with "Moon Shot"! From the moment I began reading it I was hooked. I suddenly found myself immersed in the late 1950's flying high in the sky wit
Paul Dlugosch
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall an entertaining read. I do agree with some that the writing at times got a little flowery. For those interested in the beginnings of the US space program and the origins of NASA this book provides a good start. The early astronauts are real American heroes and even a little insight into their personal struggles and challenges made for very interesting reading.

The book touched a little on the prevailing politics at the time which provided some context but didn't go so far as to take focus
Pamela Conley
Sep 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I am struggling with how to rate this book. The content is fascinating and gives you an inside view you can only get from an astronaut that was there. Those story lines and personal narratives are excellent. This book also does a skillful job or interweaving the USSR/Russian space missions with the NASA space mission to provide an understanding of the culture and politics of the "Space Race" in a way I haven't seen presented. If I was going on content alone this would be almost five stars only l ...more
Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon is a memoir and history of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs of the 1960's and 1970's, written by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton (two of the original seven American astronauts, and Jay Barabee, who was a newsman for NBC during this same period. An introduction by Neil Armstrong, who was the first man on the moon, is included.

Please be aware that this is not great literature; it is a personal point-of-view history of the space
I wasn't sure whether to give it two or three stars so I guess I would put it somewhere in the middle.

Being a book written by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, I thought this would be a great read and a good resource to learn more about the life of an astronaut during the Mercury days and what it was like to work with the other astronauts later on, but to my disappointment I found very little of the latter in this book.

It started out well, offering a more detailed and interesting picture of the e
Rick Davis
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated by the space program and growing up my parents allowed me to stay home from school to watch the Gemini and Apollo launches. I still remember sitting in our living room and watching with anticipation as the Eagle landed on the moon and Neal Armstrong climbed down the ladder. Moon Shot relives those moments and encapsulates the United States involvement in the space race. The book also details the determination and persistence of thousands of people involved in the sp ...more
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
The true story of the moon missions from the astronauts who made the trips.

I like reading books about the space missions and astronauts. When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I have to admit the stories are told from Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard’s point of view. They tell their versions of how things happened in NASA. I liked that I got to understand Alan Shepard better–he was a very complicated person. I also got to understand Deke Slayton better. I wasn’t around when these men went o
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this revised edition of the 1994 book, astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton narrate the story of America’s space exploration from the time of the first suborbital flight until shortly after astronauts walked on the moon. Proclaimed “the ultimate inside story of the United States space program” by veteran newscaster Walter Cronkite, this is the compelling, detailed account of what is widely considered the greatest feat of the twentieth century: landing man on the surface of another world.

Scott Cohen
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who F-ed Up this wonderful book?!

I purchased a hardcopy of this wonderful book 25 years ago. I wanted to re-read it during my vacation, but didn’t want to lug a bunch of books halfway across the country. The obvious solution: an e-book copy on my Kindle.
95% of the book looks identical (which is why I give it 4 out of 5 stars.) However, the first chapter, a nail-biting blow-by-blow of the Apollo 11 Landing was replaced by a description of the 2011 final flight of Discovery.
More disappointingly,
Jacob Melamed
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
After searching for the right book to help me understand the history of space travel, I have found the book for me. This book is an amazing recap of how the race to get to the moon started... and ended.
The book starts at the beginning of the story, Apollo mk1. They told the story of how when they tested the pod with only oxygen when a spark flashed and the pod was soon ablaze. It continued to move up the line until the Apollo 11. They told how it was put together and how NASA trained the piole
C.E. Murray
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read, and a nice perspective on parts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions we don't usually see.
THE GOOD: Since Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton wrote the book, it focuses on their work to an almost comical amount. "So Apollo 11 went to the moon, yeah yeah whatever, historic mission blah blah blah. Apollo 13 blew up in space, and we're sure the astronauts were pretty scared or something, but Deke was in charge on the ground and here's how he did some really awesome stuff. But
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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

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