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Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  5,688 ratings  ·  684 reviews
In August 1968, one short year after three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, NASA decided that it would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Sixteen weeks later, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were aboard the first manned spacecraft to depart Earth’s orbit, reach the moon, and return safely to Earth, delivering a tear-inducing Christmas ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Adam Pauze It’s a personal choice honestly. I like how Kluger adds context to the story and really places the Reader in the late 1960’s. You can feel a nation fo…moreIt’s a personal choice honestly. I like how Kluger adds context to the story and really places the Reader in the late 1960’s. You can feel a nation following these men and the Apollo program. You can feel the United States tearing itself apart between Vietnam and the fight for human rights.

Kluger uses Rocket Men as source material to tell his story, so I am certain that pertinent details are in Kluger’s version, and honestly, on a personal level, you can FEEL an Apollo Program on the brink of failure, you can FEEL the unprecedented dedication of thousands of NASA employees getting it back on track, and you can FEEL the relief and the unity of both the United States and the World as the 3 Astronauts return safely home.(less)
Barry Davidoff The book should be able to be read by either a girl or boy who is 13. It is very inspiring and well written.

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As a young girl, when I was asked what I would like to be when I grow up, my answer was an astronaut. I have always been enamored with the stars and galaxies and planets. To this day I am still obsessed with space travel. My library is filled with astronomy coffee table books and science fiction space operas. Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon hoisted my geek flag a thousand miles above the earth (well actually more like 238,900 miles).

I loved every single moment of
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I admit I was space crazy as a girl, and forty-nine years later I am still thrilled when reading about the time 'when dreams came true' and men first went into space.

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger didn't disappoint. Although Apollo 8 doesn't have the inherent drama of the Apollo 13 mission, which Kluger and Lovett wrote about, the narrative is engrossing and riveting.

NASA badly needed a success after the deaths of astronauts Grissom, White, and
Jul 10, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, space
Although this is focused on Apollo 8 (you know, the first one to orbit the moon) and its commander Frank Borman, Jeffrey Kluger manages to pack a lot of interesting NASA history into a relatively short book. It’s an enjoyable, fast-paced and occasionally exciting read. However somehow this book manages to be detailed, yet also quite superficial. For example we’re introduced to NASA’s Wernher von Braun, former Nazi rocket designer, but almost nothing is said about such a fascinating and morally c ...more
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was so interesting, previously my knowledge about space travel was limited to knowing the we did reach the moon but not much else...which is funny seeing how much i like science fiction..but this book is the real deal...Apollo 8 was not the mission that would get to the moon but it would be the first mission that will orbit the moon while manned by three astronauts , this was an extreme important feat before NASA could hope to send men to land in the moon, that privilege would fall to ...more
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Very well written pop history. Kluger also co-write Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 with Astronaut Jim Lovell that the movie Apollo 13 is based on. He is a clear fan of the space program and that shows through in this book. There is very little here NASA's public relations office would disapprove of.

It is a straight ahead history of the December 1968 mission of Apollo 8, focusing primarily on Frank Borman, commander of the mission, with a somewhat lesser focus on the other crew
Lara (Bookish_turtle)
This was a really well-written account of the Apollo 8 mission, offering lots of insight into it's significance, preparation, people involved and the journey as a whole. I would highly recommend it to anybody interested in space exploration. ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding account of the Apollo 8 mission to orbit the moon. Extremely well-written and captures the intensity and emotion of the times.

Highly recommended!
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up during the 1960's. It was an eventful time. There was the Vietnam war, protests, assassinations, and the Cold War. And there was the space race between the United States and Russia. President Kennedy had challenged us to put a man on the moon and return him safely before the end of the decade. When there was a space launch or splashdown it was an event. People stopped what they were doing and watched it on television. Many made the trip to Florida to watch the launch in person. In bedr ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Earth from here is a grand oasis in the big vastness of space - Jim Lovell, Apollo 8 astronaut

If you asked me, before I started this book, to name a few Apollo missions, I of course would have mentioned Apollo 11 and - perhaps after some deep thinking - Apollo 13, the one from Houston, we have a problem.

Apollo 8 definitely would not come to mind, which is why is was so pleasantly surprised by this book. After all, it was the Apollo 8 mission which really laid the groundwork for Armstrong’s f
Rebecca Wilson
This Christmas will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Apollo 8, the first time we flew to the moon. And what great timing it was. Then, as now, the country and the world was extremely angry and uncertain. What a magnificent thing that everybody could unite to cheer on such an audacious feat of human innovation and imagination. I think I had a smile on my face the entire time I read this.

Some reviewers here have said they prefer Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, a book first and foremost about how muc
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a pop "science" read. It holds all the bells and whistles of the facts and progressions. But for me, it lacked the ambiance between and among. The politics of it and also the "feel" of it. I was young then and it was a year I remember well. Very well. As was the year after. In fact, they nearly stand apart- like "another shore" when you are looking across what I'd call a life lake that's at least a couple miles wide. Like seeing the Chicago skyline from Indiana, you can still at times di ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
3.5 stars

First of all, it wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Because of the title and the blurb I thought this would be a book about the Apollo 8 mission. It is of course. But it takes a long time to get there.
It’s more about everything that happened with the Space Program from the formation of NACA (and later NASA) through to the Apollo 8 mission.
This turned out to be a good thing. Because these were exciting times when we hadn’t even been in earth orbit but in no time dreamt up going to the
Daniel Chaikin
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-favorites

Apollo 8 was the first manned flight to orbit the moon, famous for the Earthrise photo above. For me this was a random audio selection that I was afraid might be boring and predictable and that opened up that way, almost. Honestly, the word "thrilling" in the title was enough to make me suspicious. But it was freely available from my library on audio and worth a try.

Kluger won me over completely. I was a bit interested and then really interested and then maybe even caught some of the excitement
Jay Pruitt
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This story was amazing! Although many of us know much about Apollo 11 and 13, I'd wager few could tell you what Apollo 8 was all about. In many respects it was the most daring and thrilling of them all. First humans to go to the moon, first to lay eyes on its backside, first to see the "earthrise" as they came around the vast grey darkness to gaze upon the gorgeous blue planet rising upon the moon's horizon. 230 thousand miles from home. Words can't really describe.....but Apollo 8: The Thrillin ...more
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, non-fiction
Outstanding. If you read this be sure to go online and watch the liftoff of Apollo 8 and the coverage of the mission. A great bit of history.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve already read Kluger’s Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, and I’m a pretty big space nerd. If the space program or the science behind it does not interest you, the book probably won’t, either.

The first half of the book follows the events leading up to the launch of Apollo 8. It particularly follows the biography Frank Borman, the mission leader, and the general progress of the space program. The second half was the mission itself. This was the first time human eye saw the whole ear
Excellent story and masterfully told.

This is one the best constructed popular non-fiction books I have read. I felt that instead of simply reading a narrative, I was everywhere Borman, Lovell, and Anders were.

Kluger adeptly interweaved the story of the astronauts, their families, and NASA employees alongside pivotal events of the late 1960s: the Cold War, the Vietnam War, political and civil unrest, and of course, the moonshot.

Highly recommended for space exploration aficionados, history buffs
Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon is by Jeffrey Kluger, veteran reporter from Time magazine. This is his second book about the Apollo program. His earlier book was Lost Moon (aka Apollo 13), where he was co-writer with Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell.

Lost Moon may be credited first to Lovell, but I believe Kluger was the primary writer of that book. No disrespect to Lovell, but the book has the hallmarks of a seasoned journalist. The writing is exceptional, and the mi
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Apollo 8 is the exhilarating tale of that momentous first mission to the moon and all that led up to it. It traces through relevant histories for each of the three astronauts, including their previous trips to space during the Gemini missions. It also contains information about the successes and failures of the Gemini and previous Apollo missions, the knowledge of which went into designing and planning for subsequent missions.

Kluger must have meticulously researched the material for this book, f
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very engaging book about the early Apollo missions, focusing on Frank Borman, the commander of Apollo 8. I learned a lot about the missions - in many ways number 8 may have been as important as number 11. A must read for "space nerds". ...more
Vignesh M
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: space-stuff
What a journey! What an adventure! Absolutely Awe-inspiring and utterly remarkable. First men of the moon! ❤
Dana DesJardins
Jul 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a real page-turner, a feel-good look back at the days when US White Men Did Heroic Things. Well written with just the right amount of background information, Kluger's book is indeed a thrilling read. Yet the larger context is missing. While Kluger occasionally mentions civil rights protests and the American war in Vietnam, his look at the space race does not question for a moment the environmental, social, and geopolitical price this country paid for its achievements. I know I am ideali ...more
Kristīne Līcis
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superbly written account of an often-overlooked, but historic first lunar orbit. The author has done a remarkable job of placing the NASA efforts to reach Moon against the backdrop of international and domestic situation, when "It was the boiling summer of 1968, and the world had spent much of the year bleeding from countless wounds: multiple wars, serial assassinations, riots and unrest from Washington to Prague to Paris to Southeast Asia /../ while American boys died in Vietnam at a rate of mo ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book, but it fell short of my expectations given the subject and the author. I liked it and it is probably a good Apollo 8 history for most readers, but for true space geeks (like me) it may disappoint. I really, really enjoyed Jeffery Kluger and Jim Lovell's "Lost Moon" (later renamed Apollo 13 and the basis for the Ron Howard-directed film) because it brought new insight into the Apollo 13 accident and efforts by mission control and the families of the crew. "Apoll ...more
Vincent Tsao
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Before reading this book, I assumed all the thrilling space-related stories were already well-known. I was wrong.

Apollo 8 not only details the actual three days of the mission, but also the ups-and-downs and ins-and-outs of the entire US space program leading up to the eventual lunar loop made by the Apollo 8 mission. I finished the book with a renewed awe of the unbridled ingenuity, sheer willpower, and lockstep teamwork required to accomplish one of mankind's greatest achievements. I specifica
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is I love space and I picked up this book for that reason alone. Not until I was finished did I learn that Jefferey Kluger also wrote Apollo 13, a movie I loved watching when I was little (note to self: check to see if it's on Netflix).

This is the story of the first manned flight to the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were absolute rock stars, but time has faded the memory of their names and replaced them with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. A small histo
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2017, space, gcac_2018
I have watched From Earth to the Moon so many times that there wasn't much new information here but still quite nice story. ...more
Jul 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
To be completely honest, my opinion on this book was 100% influenced by the fact that I pretty much read it, and it only, in one fell twelve-hour swoop (punctuated by bathroom breaks, small conversation, and food). I should also mention that 'Apollo 8' was the only book I had on hand for said twelve hours (which eventually turned into fourteen), as I was effectively stranded in Beaver Bank a forty minute drive away from home, aside from 'Astrophysics: A Very Short Introduction.' (Which, after te ...more
Noah Goats
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure a better book could be written about the underappreciated Apollo 8 mission. Jeffrey Kluger does a great job of providing fascinating details (e.g. the astronauts had to be careful about venting their urine out of the spacecraft because the mechanism squirting it out was essentially a tiny thruster that could knock them slightly, but significantly, off course). Apollo 8 delivers high drama and even though you know the astronauts survive, Kluger still manages to keep you on the edge o ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Reading this book showed me that it truly was a miracle we ever made it to the moon. Kluger details all of the challenges of creating and operating a spacecraft that led up to the Apollo 8 mission. Most upsetting to me was the section about the cabin fire that destroyed Apollo 1 and killed the 3 astronauts inside.

Overall I felt that this described the evolution of the space program well but I felt that the narrative was dry. It took me a long time to finish reading this, but part of that could
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add the book cover 2 10 Jul 16, 2020 01:42AM  
Tomorrow 3 pm ET NEW #podcast on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show: 1 5 May 23, 2017 07:29AM  
Space Exploration...: "Apollo 8" Jeffrey Kluger 1 11 May 16, 2017 10:28AM  

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Jeffrey Kluger is editor at large for Time magazine and the author or coauthor of twelve books, including Apollo 13, Apollo 8, and two novels for young adults. He has written more than forty cover stories for Time on topics ranging from space to human behavior to climate to medicine. Along with others at Time, Kluger won an Emmy for the web series A Year in Space. He consulted on and appeared in t ...more

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