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Apollo 11

The Inside Story
Narrated by: Simon Mattacks
Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Regular price: £22.99

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Summary

Informed by extensive interviews with astronauts such as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, David Scott, John Young, Alan Shepard, Charlie Duke, Al Bean, Gordon Cooper, Al Worden, Walt Cunningham, Tom Stafford, Dick Gordon, John Glenn, Pete Conrad, Edgar Mitchel, James Irwin, Stu Roosa, Ron Evans, Deke Slayton, Wally Schirra, as well as key politicians and NASA personnel

Fifty years ago in July 1969, Apollo 11 became the first manned mission to land on the moon, and Neil Armstrong the first man to step onto its surface. President Nixon called it the greatest week since creation. 

In the most authoritative book ever written about Apollo, David Whitehouse reveals the true drama behind the mission, telling the story in the words of those who took part - based around exclusive interviews with the key players. 

This enthralling book takes us from the early rocket pioneers to the shock America received from the Soviets’ launch of the first satellite, Sputnik; from the race to put the first person into space, through President Kennedy’s enthusiasm and later doubts, to the astronauts’ intense competition to leave the first footprint. 

Here is the story as told by the crew of Apollo 11 and the many other astronauts who paved the way or went to the moon themselves after Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins. Astronauts, engineers, politicians, NASA officials, Soviet rivals - all tell their own story of a great moment of human achievement. 

The full list of interviewees includes NASA employees such as James Fletcher, Roco Petrone, Brainerd Homes, Bob Gilruth, George Mueller, James Webb, John Houbolt, Robert Seamans, Max Faget, Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory William Pickering and Sergei Khrushchev, son of the Soviet Premier.

©2019 by David Whitehouse. (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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Apollo 11

A fascinating insight into the history of the American and Russian space race . It is hard to believe that much of the era is almost a forgotten era and that so few of the moon walkers are still alive

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  • Mark
  • Esher, United Kingdom
  • 25-06-19

Uninteresting and dull

This book reads like a cross between a collection of Wikipedia pages and briefing notes for a reporter. I would have thought that it would actually be quite difficult to write a book on this subject and make it quite as dull as this. The author has obviously retained his collection of NASA press releases, with their stream of statistics and acronyms, since the text is littered with pointless facts; the kind of facts that a teenager might find interesting and expect others to find interesting. Indeed, the book has all the passion, insight and excitement of a school textbook. I do not expect a book on this subject to reveal startling new stories, but the plain narrative actually just made me wonder what was the point of this book. One other matter: the book title refers to Apollo 11, so it might be reasonable to expect the book to focus largely on this mission. Not so, we are treated to long sections on early Russian rocket pioneers, and then after the main mission is handled in a simplistic manner, then treated to sections on Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17. Absolutely nothing to do with Apollo 11. It would appear that this book is titled Apollo 11 simply to cash in on the 50th anniversary. I have not read a less interesting, less informative book on Apollo 11

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Doug
  • 14-06-19

Space Race Revivalism

I recently saw the 2019 documentary 'Apollo 11' and have been utterly inspired by the Apollo stories. As a Gen X-er, my domain had always been the Space Shuttle era. It was my parents that got all misty-eyed when speaking of the lunar landing. And, yes, like everyone else in the world, I've seen the black and white grainy footage of Neil Armstrong's first step. But the documentary brought July of 1969 into 4K and breathed high-resolution life into that moment in time. I watched the lunar landing in the full and vivid colors of today. I wanted more.

So, when I saw a book with the same title, I pounced. I wasn't disappointed. The author compliments my growing fascination with the Apollo missions. The opening of the book details humanity's ancient first thoughts about the moon and moves into the origins of rocketry, mainly from 19th Century German and Russian elites. You see how World War 2 brought rockets onto the human stage with devastating consequences. The full gravity and scope of Apollo 11 struck me with a much deeper sense of amazement. How many centuries, how many brilliant minds, how many cultures and languages were carried on the backs of three astronauts when they landed on the moon? For me, hearing about all those smaller streams of human thought and effort that came down from our past, converging in the 20th Century, and then feeding into the extraordinary momentum of Apollo 11 was a gift to read about.

Secondly, the book toggles back and forth between the American and Soviet space programs as they play out on the world stage in chronological order. The book left me admiring more the Soviet cosmonauts and scientists who had the same adventurous pulse but were undermined by a tragically inept government. That said, when you read this book, you'll get a powerful appreciation of the American space program. They didn't just "beat" the Soviet Union, they did it right. They were professionals about it. They were open about it. They hired armies of brilliant men and women to support the entire operation. You'll realize how much of a one-sided affair the space race was in the end. You'll come to appreciate the American astronauts and flight controllers much more than you already do. If you get a chance, look up Eugene Kranz's "tough and competent" speech after the Gemini disaster. It really hit me hard...

The book does a great job of including its history through the conversations of those involved. The downside is that while the book succeeds at providing some new perspective, it gets dry here and here. At a few points, the narration slides into an uninspiring catalog of events and details. Other than that, the book was a fantastic read. I'm glad I read it!

With a new space race on the horizon in the 21st Century, I anticipate everyone will want to brush up on their knowledge of the Apollo missions. There really seems to be a revival in American interest what NASA achieved back then and what accomplishments are just around the corner. I think this book is part of fresh revival. in our greatest pioneering spirit

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick
  • 06-07-19

Not bad if you already know the story.

This is a fine overview of the early days of space flight up to the end of the Apollo missions, but unless you already know a lot of the details this book seems to gloss over quite a bit, while being painstakingly detailed in other areas. Some people have complained that the book was read by an English performer, but given that the author is also English I don't see this as an issue. My main complaint is, probably, with the editing. There are practically no pauses between sections of the book, so it is difficult to tell sometimes when the perspective shifts say from the US to Russia, but this was a fairly minor annoyance and did not significantly detract from my enjoyment of the story. Overall I enjoyed Apollo 11, but I'd encourage newcomers to this bit of history to listen to a more comprehensive account or two before picking this one up.

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  • Sam
  • 06-07-19

Fell short

I was hoping for a more in-depth story. More of a behind-the-scenes story of Apollo 11. This was more of an overall Apollo Missions story, with entirely too much of the Russian space race story. Disappointed.

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  • denise collins
  • 29-06-19

Detailed

For me, it was too much detail, especially about what the Russians were doing. I found myself drifting to other thoughts while listening. Normally I love to listen to a British accent. But, Simon Mattacks narration was distracting to what is an American story.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • william crum
  • 19-06-19

This is an American story.

This is an American story. Probably the singular proudest achievement of our 243 year history.

To have the story read by an Englishman, Brit, UK, or whatever they call themselves these days, is a real loss. I never realized how much is taken away from a story when someone who could chair less about it reads or performs it until I listened to this. This only could have been worse if the narrator/ reader stuttered. This was a waist of time and money.

0 of 6 people found this review helpful