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

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  4,327 ratings  ·  552 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
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 2018 by Picador (first published May 16th 2017)
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Anastacia You mean you are posting publicly online that you want an illegal copy of a copyrighted item? How about you get a legal free copy at your local…moreYou mean you are posting publicly online that you want an illegal copy of a copyrighted item? How about you get a legal free copy at your local library instead?(less)
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…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)
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Nancy
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
Carlos
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 memb
...more
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.
Steve
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!
Jim
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
Jeanette
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
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 much Tom
...more
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
...more
WendyB
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own
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.
Vignesh M
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-stuff
What a journey! What an adventure! Absolutely Awe-inspiring and utterly remarkable. First men of the moon! ❤
Marlene
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

Anyone who has lived in Chicagoland knows that while expressways may be designated official numbers from the DOT, no one ever calls them by those numbers. Highways in Chicagoland have names; the Ryan, the Kennedy, the Ike. And if you travel through Northwest Indiana, the Borman.

The Borman is named for Frank Borman, the native Hoosier who was one of the first three people to see the far side of the moon with his own eyes, up close and personal.
...more
Christopher
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 mission is c/>Lost
...more
Kristīne Līcis
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
Vincent Tsao
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 specif/>Apollo
...more
Audrey
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 earth as a spher
...more
Ryan
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Brian
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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".
Reija
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, space, 2017, 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.
Noah Goats
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Katie
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Peter
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a bit of a NASA junkie, I love Kluger's straightforward telling of history. This book didn't disappoint.
Dennis
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
3.5 stars

First of all it wasn’t exactly what I expected. From 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 until it gets there.
It’s more about everything that happened with the Space Program from the formation of NACA (and later NASA) through the Apollo 8 mission.
This ended up being a good thing. Because these were exciting times when we hadn’t even been in earth orbit but in no time dreamt up going
...more
AJ
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. (Unfortunately, life's bad timing meant that by the time I was finally old enough to be one, we didn't have space shuttles any more. Life can be cruel.) Since then, I have tried to read just about every history, memoir, or other book about NASA's space programs. I used to write to NASA and ask them to send me information, and would spend hours reading mission profiles. (This was before the Internet, back when you either had to have a bo ...more
William
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
Chelsea Kumer
4.75 stars

"The custard is in the oven at 350 ."

This was a code phrase between Frank Borman and his wife Susan, to signify that she and the family would hold together just fine while he embarked on his dangerous assignments --including the first ever circumnavigation of the moon. This is the kind of small human detail that Jeffery Kluger wisely includes in this account of science, adventure, and achievement. I think anyone with a remote interest in the history of space ex
...more
Stuart David
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent.
I was only in third grade, at the time, but I vividly remember the exploits of "Borman, Lovell, and Anders".
And, of course, I had a model of a Saturn V rocket in my bedroom!
Nick Rolston
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
There is little doubt that our ability to reach the moon is the greatest achievement of humanity to date, in my opinion. The author shares the backstory leading up to Borman, Lovell, and Anders's journey to the moon and back in a masterful way. The fact that Apollo 1 ended in tragedy with all 3 astronauts dead on the launchpad before liftoff less than two years before the incredible feat of Apollo 8 is a testament to the human spirit. This feat captivated the world in a way that no other event h ...more
Dave
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping, fun description of the first manned flight to the moon. Kluger made me feel like I was in the Apollo capsule with the astronauts, giving just the right amount of detail without weighing the narrative down. He gives a brief glimpse into what the experience was like for the astronauts' families as well, especially in the context of the death of three astronauts several years before.
Shree
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my first read on a Space Exploration subject. I was so hooked up and the flow was so neat that I felt taken to those times itself. I can't wait to read Apollo 11 that later put the mankind on moon. Unlike the rudimentary surprise of me seeing the Intel 486 processors in the early 90s, what keep me even more astonished was the advancement in 1968 that pushed man into lunar gravity!
Do read, you won't be disappointed.
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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 10 May 16, 2017 10:28AM  

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Jeffrey Kluger is a senior writer for TIME. He joined TIME as a contributor in 1996, and was named a senior writer in 1998. He has written a number of cover stories, including reports on the connection between sex and health, the Mars Pathfinder landing, the loss of the shuttle Columbia, and the collision aboard the Mir space station.

In 2002, Mr. Kluger along with two other colleagues,
...more
“There was no established way for a man to tell his wife he was going to the moon. A man could tell his wife he was going to sea or going to war; men had been doing that for millennia. But the moon? It was a whole new conversation.” 2 likes
“Too often in the previous months, he told the silent controllers, potential problems had been dismissed with a casual “that can’t happen” wave. Maybe the ship had a balky breaker, but it would never cause a fuel cell to fail in flight. Maybe those new pyrotechnics were a little temperamental, but they could never make a parachute fail to deploy. And as for pumping pure oxygen into the cockpit, it had never caused any problems before, had it? But what if it did? What would you do then? That was the critical question no one had been raising. It was not good enough to ask what you would accept. Instead, you had to ask what action you would take today to prevent the failure from ever happening. The answer you gave should always satisfy one final question: What is the very best thing to do in this situation?” 1 likes
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