The Apollo moon programme has been called the last optimistic act of the twentieth century: over an intensive three-year period between 1969 and 1972, twelve men made the longest and most incredible of journeys. All were indelibly marked by it. Of the astronauts who walked on the moon, only nine are still alive. One day in the near future there will be none; soon no-one on earth will have known the unique feeling of gazing back at us from another world.
The thought shocked Andrew Smith, a journalist who grew up in America during the moon landings, and he set out to find and interview the remaining moonwalkers to find out how the experience changed them. 'Where do you go after you've been to the moon?'
In addition to this question that would prove hugely troubling to many of the returned astronauts, they also had to deal with being true celebrities. The walkers would forever be caught between the gravitational pull of the moon and the earth's collective dreaming.
©2009 Andrew Smith; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
It probably appears perverse to give the performance and the story 5 stars and overall 4 stars but I have to say this book was immensely enjoyable, I just really wish it had been the whole book and not an abridged version (hence the loss of a star).
I didn't know what to expect with this as it was picked as part of my book club and not something that I had heard of, but I blasted my way through the 4 and a half hour book in less than 2 days.
The concepts explored and the repercussions of being one of only a dozen people who have ever set foot on the moon is astounding. The different reactions to the same experience gives this book a real human edge. I was left with a sense of achievement on behalf of the human race in a time where looking back nearly 50 years you feel like it technically and physically shouldn't have been possible.
Not sure if this is done in the unabridged version, but the exploring of racism and sexism at that time was one element I would have liked to hear more about as it hadn't really occurred to me until Andrew Smith put it in this book that all 12 astronauts were white male.
Andrew Smith has a great voice for narration and his performance really shines through probably as a direct result of essentially talking about his own experience rather than just reading a book.
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