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Summary

In a world divided by the ideological struggles of the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, more than one-fifth of the people on the planet paused to watch the live transmission of the Apollo 11 mission. To watch as humanity took a giant leap forward. 

A companion book to the landmark documentary series on BBC TV. 

The journey from Cape Canaveral to the Moon was a tremendous achievement of human courage and ingenuity. It was also a long, deadly march, haunted by the possibility of catastrophic failure on the world’s stage. In an era when the most advanced portable computer weighed 70 pounds, had a 36-kilobite memory and operated on less power than a 60-watt lightbulb, the sheer audacity of the goal is breath-taking. But the triumph of imagination and the unity of the Earth that day would change the world. Based on eyewitness accounts and newly discovered archival material, Chasing the Moon reveals the unknown stories of the individuals who made the Moon landing a possibility, from inspirational science fiction writer Arthur C. Clark and controversial engineer Wernher von Braun, to pioneers like mathematician Poppy Northcutt and astronaut Edward Dwight. 

It vividly revisits the dawn of the Space Age, a heady time of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama.

©2019 Robert Stone, Alan Andres (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"If you think you know all that is important about the Apollo moon landings, you would be wrong. In Chasing the Moon, Robert Stone and Alan Andres offer scintillating stories both great and small." (Roger D. Launius, former chief historian of NASA)

"[The Moon Landing] was one of the most amazing achievements in human history. And now we have a book worthy of the grand endeavor." (William Martin, New York Times best-selling author of Cape Cod and Bound for Gold)

"Chasing the Moon tells the story I've lived for most of my life. From my testing of the lunar module on Apollo 9 to my hopes for the future as we celebrate Apollo’s fiftieth anniversary, it’s all there, and told through the personal experiences of the people who lived it. Some of it familiar, some never told before, this is a very human account of a truly historic moment as humankind emerges into the larger cosmos." (Russell ‘Rusty’ Schweickart, astronaut, Apollo 9)

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An incredible journey!

This is a phenomenal book. Having already watched the BBC series to which this companions, this still yielded the same excitement and offered even more insights (that I can recall). I liked how the parts are broken up into key periods of time which gives a real sense of the geopolitical and technological landscape and you feel like you’re experiencing the speed of advancement with the world. The narration was great. It had a filmic quality which adds a little extra to an already tremendous narrative. Anyone at all interested in space, NASA, early-late 20th century history and politics will enjoy this without doubt. It covers (even if just touching upon) everything from 1920s/depression era, WW2, Cold War, Korean War, Kennedy assassination, Civil Rights movements, Vietnam Nam, etc. giving each its due regard to the broad political picture all the while position the space race at the centre or the peripheries. It really does show how connected and vital the whole ‘going to the moon’ thing truly was. Excellent!