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A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  5,775 ratings  ·  443 reviews
From flamboyant prankster Pete Conrad to scientist Jack Schmitt, who had to prove he was made of the "right stuff" to go to the moon, memorable characters abound in this brilliant chronicle of the Apollo missions. Chaikin makes technological details accessible to the lay person and gives each aspect of a moon voyage a minute-by-minute breathlessness. 16 photos.
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published June 1st 1994 by Viking Books
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Irwin Fletcher I have the 40th Anniversary (of Apollo 11, not the anniversary of the publication itself) edition released in 2009 and the only difference I can see i…moreI have the 40th Anniversary (of Apollo 11, not the anniversary of the publication itself) edition released in 2009 and the only difference I can see is that Collins added an updated preface which is placed between Lindbergh's foreword and the original preface. It was humorous, as a man who orbited the moon Collins does not seem too impressed by modern celebrity worship. Particularly those who are famous just for being famous. (less)
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Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, favorites
A thrilling book,a great adventure. Andrew Chaikin brings the astronauts to life. What is essentially a dry subject,becomes first rate entertainment.

The story of each moon mission is described in vivid detail.Lots of dramatic moments,the first view of the earth from lunar orbit,(Apollo 8),the selection of the first man to step on the moon (Apollo 11),the moment of near disaster for Apollo 12,the near catastrophic crisis aboard Apollo 13 and the landing of the last man on the moon (Apollo 17).

Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space
The Apollo project was the culmination of the Soviet-American space race, the magnificently mad endeavor with no purpose other than national prestige, a twentieth century equivalent of the Great Sphinx of Giza. The Soviets were the first to orbit a satellite around the Earth, to orbit a man, and to land a probe on the Moon, Venus and Mars. Yet the Americans landed a man on the Moon, which the Soviets tried and failed to do. The project used machines more complicated than a Yamato class battleshi ...more
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a believer in the conspiracy theory of the moon landings. There were just too many people involved, and that many people simply can't be counted upon to keep their mouths shut for all these years.

Perhaps I am a little biased, though. As an expatriate Yankee, one who is shamed and saddened by much of what my country has done, the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions are one of the few things my country did in the Twentieth Century (and so far in the Twenty-First) for which I am actually p
Tom Quinn
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revisited upon watching PBS' "Chasing The Moon" at the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Tells the story of the lucky few who have walked on the moon in a way that humanizes the characters and dramatizes (perhaps melodramatizes) the events. Certainly a worthy successor to Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff although this one is often more reserved and less exuberant. But by focusing on the players, the most significant feat of engineering in history is seamlessly folded into a quiet, moving human dra
Kristy Miller
This is not about the scientists, or the engineers, or the thousands of people that made Apollo possible. This book is about the personal lives and inner thoughts of the astronauts. And it is fascinating. Chaikin's book served as the basis for the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon, which I must now watch.
We only have a few Apollo astronauts left living. And we have not been back to the moon. Our "president" this week announced that he wanted to privatize the International Space Station, and
I have this memory, I think it was Apollo 16 back in April of 1972. The television coverage had just closed for the day and I went to the back porch of our house and looked up at the sky. It was still daylight but the moon was out and I stared with wonder and thought to myself that there were actually people up there at that very moment. I was eight years old. That is my most vivid memory of the Apollo program.

I was five when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first walked on the moon. I have no me
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim from all those years ago (although square brackets indicate some additional information for the sake of readability). It is one of my lost reviews.

What a personally powerful book. A Man on the Moon is such a wonderful reminder of what we are capable of as a species and what wonderful things we can accomp
Alec Ritchie
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very thorough history of the Apollo moon-landing. Chaikin is obviously very passionate about the subject-matter and his prose is pleasing to read. If you have ever wanted to know what the birth of NASA and the subsequent Apollo program is all about, I think you'd be hard pressed to do better than this book.
Dude, totally amazing.

Okay, so, I've owned this book for at least five years now and I kept putting off reading it because I've read a bunch of books about NASA before and also because...I mean, it's really big. When's the last time you read a nonfiction book that is 720 pages long?!? Holy shit! I mainly read YA and graphic novels these days, so it was kind of intimidating. But anyway, I think there was recently some deal where I got it for $5 on audible and I figured I'd put it off long enough
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a young boy in the mid-1960’s I was fascinated with the space program. My father would make sure not to miss any of the live broadcasts of the manned launches (which seemed to always be impossibly early in the morning), and I insisted that he wake me in time to see them also. The excitement that I felt then, as I imagined myself seated inside the tiny capsule at the top of a huge and powerful rocket, still reverberates in me today when I think back on it.

I was 10 years old when Neil Armstrong
Scott Wilson
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a longer audiobook project than I'd figured on, but the lack of commute time while working from home the past two months will do that. And I didn't figure out for some time that there were available listening pockets after all, though that has depended on the weather.

The Apollo astronauts make good company on long walks. They all come from a bygone era of American innovation and ambition, and it's easy to feel stirred by the sheer accomplishment gathered in one talent pool. Buzz Aldrin
Marceline Smith
I got this for Christmas and it was all I could do not to sit sit down and read the whole thing from cover to cover, enormous though it is. I’ve been a space nut since I was very small (wait, I am still very small) and this book is just a joy. It describes NASA’s Apollo program in great detail, going through each mission from the disastrous beginnings through to the six Moon landings. While sometimes bogged down by technical language and military customs, it does a great job of explaining how it ...more
Steve Mitchell
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the true story of what was – arguably – the greatest technological and engineering achievement of the twentieth century. (No less a commentator that Arthur C. Clarke said that the moon landings will be the defining moment of our age that will be remembered in a thousand years time!) Anybody that doubts the genuine significance of the moon landings upon our understanding of the formation of the solar system and how the universe works should read this book. If you are one of those people t ...more
Jonathan Deaux
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the "go to" book for nearly all things related to the Apollo Program for the average person interested in one of the greatest achievements of human history and the faces that made the trip. If you can only afford one book about Apollo, this is it. One reviewer seems to think that there may not be enough actual "political background" and "engineering" involved with this account. I read aviation and engineering books more often than not and this is not a book on the in depth engineering in ...more
Just A. Bean
If you want to know about the astronauts of the Apollo Program, this is the best book I've read. It really digs into their lives and what it was like to work in space in that period. The book is funny and interesting, and covers a lot of the technical challenges, the training, and how the crews worked together.

It does not try to cover any other aspect of the Apollo Program. Mission Control is mentioned as a place that exists, but mostly in so far as the astronauts interact with it. An engineerin
Jake Cooper
600 pages of the Apollo missions as experienced by the astronauts. There's almost no engineering, politics, etc. But the stories are very readable, and you'll learn the differences between Apollos 12-17.

"How could the most futuristic thing humans have ever done be so far in the past?"
Eric Mesa
The book that was used by Ron Howard, et al to make the Apollo 13 movie!

I got this book as part of a space-themed Humble Audiobook Bundle. As I was choosing the next audiobook I'd listen to whenever I ran out of podcast, I decided to go for non-fiction book. And so I started my journey through a couple decades of NASA history. Once things get going (ie the men are on their way to the moon), Chaikin does an excellent job of switching POVs throughout the mission to give us some insight into each
Jack Cunningham
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most kids from a young age I have always had an interest in space travel and astrology. However this is my first time reading about the missions and the individual pioneers who first traversed out of earths orbit 5 decades ago.

Chaikins 'A man on the Moon' is a comprehensive and chronological story about the people, the engineering and the politics allied to the completion of John F Kennedy's mission to reach the moon. In terms of the Apollo missions this book is the authoritative masterpiec
Maarten Koller
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
[Audiobook] Wow, this was 23 hours of awesome! Brilliantly read by Bronson Pinchot the detail was exquisite and perfect. Not only do you get the technical details, but you also go inside the astronauts' mind and sometimes even those of his family, while going along on the moonvoyages!
What's life like during the voyage (ejecting pee in space is supposed to be an awesome sight, although the process of getting it out there can sometimes be somewhat painful and also a bit 'messy' on the inside... ;)
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Based on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with each of the moon voyagers, as well as those working behind the scenes, “A Man on the Moon” speaks to every aspect of the missions undertaken during the Apollo program. Unfolding from the tragic beginning with the Apollo 1 fire that claimed the lives of three astronauts and reaching to the lunar mountains where astronauts searched for clues to the origin of the solar system, the Apollo missions are the stories of a handful of men who braved t ...more
Victor Villas
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a non-fiction book so amazing that makes me wonder if I'm ever going to read Science Fiction again - of course I am, but damn it Chaikin you've set an unreasonable high bar now. The story has everything in it: inspiration, awe, struggles, personality, style.

And after reading the afterword by Chaikin on how hard was to translate the magic surrounding every aspect of the space program into a book, and the amazing performance in the Audiobook by Pinchot, I dare to say that this is one of th
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019, own
Originally published in 1994, 25 years after the first moon landing, Chaikin's book covers all the Apollo missions from Apollo 8 onwards in detail, largely as seen through the eyes of the astronauts on these missions. Previous space missions are also discussed in passing, as is the history of the US space programme itself. Now, coming up on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 in July, these astronauts from the 60s and 70s still remain the only humans to ever set foot on the moon - and their travel ...more
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This was an incredible accomplishment of space documentation. Andrew Chaikin's writing kept me spellbound through the many stories of the Apollo space missions to the moon. Bronson Pinchot was the perfect narrator for the audiobook, his voice filled with wonder, reverence, and urgency at the right times during each mission. An essential book for anyone interested in the history of manned space flight.
Nick Rolston
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my favorite books, a tale of mankind's greatest adventure documenting each of the Apollo missions through the eyes of the astonauts and scientists who experienced the journeys. The book reads like a novel and vividly portrays the imagery and exhilaration of what it is like to leave the only place we've ever called home.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tale of the greatest adventure ever undertaken by humanity. And every day it strikes me as simply crazy that no one has walked on the moon in 45 years...
Jacob Folkman
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hyper-engaging, cinematic coverage of the Apollo missions. Can’t recommend enough if you have even a passing interest in human space travel.
John Behle
The moon landings and those joyous lunar walks (later they brought along a car) will always make a superb story. The science, the passion, the skills involved are a pinnacle of human achievement. Add the feelings extracted from days of interviews with not just the astronauts, but the engineers, the geologists, wives (current and ex) and the resulting souffle of a work is fine listening (I enjoyed the 19 CD package) indeed. The clarion timbre of Bronson Pinchot holds true throughout.

Andrew Chaiki
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Apollo Missions were truly spectacular. As the author notes in the Epilogue, JFK’s call for and the subsequent follow through to send men to the moon was like taking a snippet from the 21st century and inserting it into the 1960s. Indeed, here we are 50 years following the first lunar landing and only now are a handful of countries and private companies making serious plans to return to the moon. In honor and remembrance of this anniversary, I listened to this book’s recording. It is a fasci ...more
Leah K
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
A very interesting history of the Apollo missions. Well researched and many interviews. Did the audio version which clocked in at over 23 hours - narrator did great and kept my interest.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Superb, a perfect cap to my reading year.
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Award-winning science journalist and space historian Andrew Chaikin has authored books and articles about space exploration and astronomy for more than 25 years. Writer-director and explorer James Cameron (Titanic, Aliens of the Deep) called him “our best historian of the space age.”

Chaikin is best known as the author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, widely regarded as

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“It's almost as if Kennedy grabbed a decade out of the 21st century," Cernan said, "and spliced it into the 1960s." That helps to explain why, as I wrote in 1993 in the preface of this book, we weren't entirely ready for Apollo, and why we have struggled to absorb its impact ever since it happened. How could the most futuristic thing humans have ever done be so far in the past?” 2 likes
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