King Ævil's Reviews > Apollo: The Race To The Moon

Apollo by Charles Murray
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's review
Dec 29, 2007

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bookshelves: apollo, 2008
Recommended for: Apollo buffs who wish to know more about Apollo "behind the scenes"

Apollo tells the story of the Apollo program from the point of view of the engineers, technicians and programmers who built the spacecraft and made them fly. This book is a worthy companion to more popular accounts of Apollo that focus on the astronauts; I recommend it to anyone familiar with Apollo, who wishes to round out her knowledge. Do not be fooled, however, by the blurbs on the cover: the focus is far more on Apollo as a triumph of science and engineering than on hair-raising tales from the missions.

Apollo is concisely written and was engaging enough to keep me reading even through the intensively mechanics-oriented sections near the beginning.

Special emphasis is given to three important episodes in Apollo history involving spacecraft design: the Apollo 1 fire, the recurrent computer errors during the Apollo 11 lunar descent, and the Apollo 13 accident and subsequent rescue.

Though the book provides a novel perspective, a few important topics seemed to be missing. For instance, I felt the story was lacking in discussion of how the Mercury and Gemini missions informed spacecraft design and mission training, although several specific instances were highlighted (e.g., the mechanical glitch that caused John Glenn's spacecraft to report that the heat shield was detached).

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