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Publisher's Summary

A richly detailed and dramatic account of one of the greatest achievements of humankind. At 9:32 A.M. on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 rocket launched in the presence of more than a million spectators who had gathered to witness a truly historic event. It carried Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins to the last frontier of human imagination: the moon.
Rocket Men is the thrilling story of the moon mission, and it restores the mystery and majesty to an event that may have become too familiar for most people to realize what a stunning achievement it represented in planning, technology, and execution.
Through interviews, 23,000 pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA documents on the space race, Craig Nelson re-creates a vivid and detailed account of the Apollo 11 mission. From the quotidian to the scientific to the magical, readers are taken right into the cockpit with Aldrin and Armstrong and behind the scenes at Mission Control.
Rocket Men is the story of a 20th-century pilgrimage, a voyage into the unknown motivated by politics, faith, science, and wonder that changed the course of history.
©2009 Craig Nelson (P)2009 Penguin
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Critic Reviews

"Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA material, Nelson has produced a magnificent, very readable account of the steps that led to the success of Apollo 11." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By S. Perry on 08-30-09

There's always more to learn

I was an avid follower of the the Apollo program in it's day, even though I was very young, and even today if the networks aired coverage of space launches in more detail, I'd be watching them. I've watched "From the Earth to the Moon" countless times, and I pretty much know the script to the movie Apollo 13. I've listened to Neil Armstrong's memoir (as an audiobook) and Wally Schira's - among others. So, while skeptical that this would offer anything new, I still bought it. In many ways, it does recount many of the same stories - it would be impossible not to; but there is always an opportunity for fresh material and a fresh perspective. I'm not a nitpicker when it comes to details, and the minutiae of technology tend to bore me - so, while others could possibly find errors that might annoy them (I'm not saying there are any), I enjoyed the fact that this is one more popular telling of the of the Apollo program. If you enjoy hearing stories of the space program, even if you've heard them many times, then you should enjoy this. The narration is very well done, and there was fresh material and interesting perspectives to keep me engaged.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jeff on 05-24-12


There are many books on the space program but this one captures the heart and soul and takes you there!

I get a peculiar reaction to really great outstanding books, I pace back and forth. my enthusiasm, and wonder overflows my inner cup and I'm simply yet ecstatically overwhelmed. needless to say this listen fits into that coveted category.

What an amazingly unique challenge this was for mankind! What an adventure the whole planet held its breath for. All of those enormous probably catastrophic risks laid out on live tv. For many it was before their time, for others its grandeur forgotten, and for everyone, the behind the scenes opera never known till now

So this book is very special because it succeeds in translating all that forgotten glory that was in the public eye and more importantly most of which was kept secret .

It is SO well researched and written ,providing a more than complete history that reads like a thriller. Whether your interested in the space program or not you will find this an amazing experience.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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