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Summary

Audie Award, History/Biography, 2016

This acclaimed portrait of heroism and ingenuity captures a watershed moment in human history. The astronauts themselves have called it the definitive account of their missions. On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Based on in-depth interviews with 23 of the 24 moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, A Man on the Moon conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail.

©2007 Andrew Chaikin (P)2015 Audiobooks.com

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  • Sam
  • Lamerton, United Kingdom
  • 30-01-17

The best one so far...

I've listened to various books detailing the glory days of American space flight looking for the one that would tell the story of the Apollo missions with just the right balance of technical detail, human warmth and...awe. I know that the Apollo astronauts least favourite question was 'What was it like up there?' but of course, I still want to know - and Andrew Chaikin does a fantastic job of telling me.

If you're going to listen to this book here's a tip - search Google for 'Apollo Lunar Surface Journal' on your web browser while you do. It contains every picture from every mission plus word-for-word transcripts of the entire journey. Break out and immerse yourself there and in the full-length capsule recovery videos on YouTube...then come back to the book - you won't regret it!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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A great book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you have any interest in the History of the Apollo program this book is a must read. Very well researched and written I was disappointed to finish it so soon

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting and at tine riveting

Great story if you can get beyond the initial style of narration. We were driving through Europe when we started listening to this. The story is a great faithful recording of the Apollo missions, however the initial few hours are very sleep inducing...... Stick with it the narration gets much better and easier to listen to. And a great record of one of our great mile stone's in history

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book that every human should read/listen

This book sheds so much light on the Apollo story... it's technical without being boring, and it captures the essence both scientifically and at a higher, human experience level.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

This is an excellent book! Exciting history and the story is told in such a way that you even feel part of the adventure, I loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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don't buy it

I found that this book is difficult to follow if you are on a commute. I think that if you listened attentively from your study with a notepad the you should manage. the story is honestly, well, its not gripping. and it's such a great topic...

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Brilliant

This really brought the Apollo programme to life. I was nine years old when the first manned lunar landing took place. This brought it to life. Well researched and written. The story from overall context to fine detail, with the compelling human stories brought this to life. I felt like I had travelled in space!

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Moonshot

If you only ever listen to one non-fiction book, make it this one. Not only insightful, but - and this is such a rare quality for a history book - inspirational too. Even knowing the story in advance, this book has left me wanting to relive the magic of Apollo all over again.

Fantastically narrated by Bronson Pinchot, who really conveys the sense of awe, wonder and achievement that came with landing in the moon.

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Great listen

Interesting book. If interested in the Apollo missions themselves and the men behind them, a great story!

Can easily get used to the enthusiasm of the narrator.

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Amazing Addictive Apollo!

Feel the excitement of the ultimate adventure. Really understand how hard it is to put someone on the moon and what actually happened when we got there.

I raced through the first half and then slowed to savour each word, just like the Apollo program I didn't want the book to end.

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  • Mark
  • 17-06-16

Long, comforting book on moon exploration

This book chronicles the full set of Apollo missions. It is very broad in scope, which is both a strength and weakness. There were many times that I wanted to know some of these astronauts more deeply as people, and other times I wanted more scientific detail. I realize, though, that the book that gave what I wanted might have been 2-3 times as long, and it already was more than 20 hours! Still, a number of the astronauts were profiled in depth, and this book is full of interesting scientific detail. It is cool that it covers the whole Apollo program. There were so many great parts, with even the slower moving pieces still interesting and easy to listen to. It is hard to write a great book which covers so much, and Chaikin did a pretty good job of it. I quit many audiobooks from boredom, but this had my interest throughout. One other flaw - it felt like the author tried to minimize anything negative about the astronauts, and it had a little bit of a sanitized feel to it. I didn't mind because these astronauts were pretty heroic. Overall, this book was interesting and uplifting, and had a great narrator. I will look at the moon differently now.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • C. Ubik
  • 31-10-15

The classic chronicle of the Apollo era

What did you love best about A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts?

Chaikin's approach to the book, which isn't a straight history of Apollo. This is not a dry, dusty history, but rather a character-driven exploration of the program, with all of its brilliant successes and heart-breaking failures. Nor is it hagiography. The Apollo astronauts are real people, with all the flaws that that entails, and Chaikin does a great job of capturing their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Though not a "character" in the literary sense: Pete Conrad. The chapter on Apollo 12 is my favorite.

What does Bronson Pinchot bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Superb inflection and a recreation of the astronaut's speaking styles. Pinchot's reading was very nicely done and he does a great job of capturing the personalities of the astronauts. He doesn't try to do impressions, though. It is his interpretation of the astronauts, but accurate ones if you've ever heard one speak.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I'm a manned space flight nerd. Your mileage may vary.

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Rob
  • 16-02-16

The moon missions were amazing

What did you love best about A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts?

As a child growing up in the 60's I experienced the moon missions on TV, and back then they seemed "nominally" great. But now, as an adult, listening to this book, this audacious feat, the details, the human side, all add up to a story that is beyond amazing.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No one astronaut stood out, but the ones with a Texas drawl were my favourites.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

Great tone, a "welcoming" story teller.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, too long to listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

Just as Steve Jobs once said when developing the iPod, "music is transformational", audio books are very much transformational as well. If you have a hobby as do I (building RC airplanes), you can enhance your hobby with audio books. I have been very pleased with this new experience.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 13-02-16

Up and Down

This book is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall panorama of the extraordinary efforts made by NASA to land a man on the moon before the onset of the year 1970, and then the subsequent missions in the early 70s.

You look up at the big moon in the sky and it doesn’t look all that far away, but if the earth was a basketball, then the moon would be a baseball a distant 23 feet away, or a quarter of a million miles to full scale. And the technology available to get the astronauts there (and back) was fairly rudimentary by today’s standards; all foil, duct tape and steaming, simmering rocket fuel. The computer on board Apollo 11 contained less hardware than a pocket calculator, with a paltry 64 kilobytes of memory.

This book takes you through all the missions leading up to the 1969 moon landing (and beyond), and it becomes clear that the men inside the rockets were taking a very big risk every time they sat on those colossal vats of liquid hydrogen and got blasted into space. Manoeuvring out of earth orbit and then into lunar orbit required very precise burns of this rocket fuel to alter their speed and direction, and if these were miscalculated or if there was a malfunction, then they would have drifted into the blackness of space until their oxygen fizzled out, like Major Tom.

And the glamour of space flight loses some of its gloss when you hear the graphic descriptions of globules of urine, vomit and diarrhoea meandering randomly around the cabin. After several days cooped up inside the cabin the smell got so bad that one navy swimmer who released the astronauts from their command module in the Pacific Ocean wretched when he opened the hatch.

But there is also the sheer amazing exuberance of that first historic walk out onto the lunar surface. With Armstrong and Aldrin; two serious, highly intelligent and rigorously trained aviators bouncing around in the moon’s one sixth gravity like toddlers on a trampoline, and the surrealism of them being so ridiculously far away and so isolated, and yet being watched by 600 million viewers on live TV and having a phone chat with President Nixon. It’s so bizarre that it’s no wonder there are some cretins who think the whole thing was a hoax.

Like the moon, this story waxes and wanes in cycles of climax (the first moon landing and the Apollo 13 near-disaster) and anti-climax (Apollo 12, the second moon mission and Apollos 14-17, when moon geology becomes the main focus and the Apollo programme just gradually peters out). But despite these anti-climaxes, the audiobook tells the full story in rich detail, and you really feel as if you were there on the moon with those first pioneers. Recommended.

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-03-16

Fantastic, Detailed, page turner!

I really enjoyed every bit of the book. I've craved something that went deep; but I also wanted lots of details, yet a good story. This book delivered them both! This is the only book where I really felt like I was part of the story - I really felt as if I was there - with the astronauts - on the moon!! No other astronaut book gives you that kind of depth and intensity. The narration was top-notch and really helped move the story along. For anyone wanting a complete retelling of the Apollo program there is no better book.
Period. Bravo!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Deborah Perkins
  • 25-03-16

Epic story

This is an outstanding story with excellent narration! Each vignette about the different Apollo episodes was a great story in itself. The book inspired me to find and watch YouTube videos on each of the launches. Very inspirational!!!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Lorbiecki
  • 20-07-16

Man, Imperfect, Accomplished The Nearly Impossible

Would you consider the audio edition of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts to be better than the print version?

I do not know the print version. I cannot say.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts?

In spite of my familiarity with the Apollo 13 movie, I still find the all out efforts of the "backroom experts" at Mission Control and their construction of the adapter to use the Command Module carbon dioxide scubbers in the Lunar Module to be moving.

Which character – as performed by Bronson Pinchot – was your favorite?

Fred Haise in the calculation of what was necessary to get back home after the explosion on Apollo 13: oxygen, cooling water, electricity. Though Jim Lovell was also important in that same interplay. In truth, each of the several astronauts were well-portrayed. While Bronson Pinchot performed them superbly, he could not have breathed reality into the characters had it not first been well-written for him. The phrasing in this book is like a Frank Sinatra song--pleasantly conversational but conveying great meaning economically. I really enjoyed the writing and Mr. Pinchot delivered the characters.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was born in 1957. I followed the march into space from Yuri Gagarin's embarrassment of NASA by beating the US in manned orbit, to the end of the Apollo missions with an enthusiasm only an adolescent boy can muster. This book rekindled a pride I felt then. What is amazing is that in spite of my fixation and voracious consumption of everything that was available then, this book gave a whole new perspective. I cannot say enough to praise the superb story laid out here. The depth of emotion conveyed is such as to give a clear view of, for example, Marilyn Lovell, in a manner that evokes empathy even now. I found myself swelling with pride in the astronauts in spite of the foibles that the book displays. These were high egos reaching for an elusive brass ring. But it was egos that drove success. This is a good book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Per
  • 20-01-16

Magnificent on the most spectacular adventure of the human race

The story is epic and expertly written by the author. Some technical details, yet more of the human factor - stories and anecdotes that bring the men of the Apollo program to life.

Author employs a somewhat too dramatic reading style that at times is completely at odds with the written material. Still, his style is decent enough and does not subtract too much from the experience.

Overall a wonderful audiobook that I can highly recommend to those curious about the manned missions to the moon, or to anyone with an interest in magnificent tales of courage, ingenuity and exploration.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • David P. McGivern
  • 22-10-15

More interesting than expected

I bought this because i wanted a change from World War 1 or 2, or badly written novels. I'm old enough to remember watching the Apollo 11 landing ( we here in Canada were as interested as the rest of the world) but like most others, my knowledge of the Space Program went no further than watching the Tom Hanks Apollo 13 movie. I was surprised with how ( for the most part) engaging it was. I agree it was written for listeners such as myself ( not too scientific or technical) and I quite liked learning about the astronauts as people, their fears, courage, determination, families. Some parts near the end dragged ( the discussion of geology and collection of samples from the moon) but overall......worth a listen

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Anthony B. Ford
  • 22-05-16

Wonderful account of the Apollo program.

An excellent and detailed work on the history of the NASA moon program. Good narration, and the author is obviously educated (and enthralled) about the subject. This three-volume set was the primary source material for HBO'S miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful