Rocket Men eBook ↠ Hardcover

Rocket Men Space planets NASA are not usually subjects to which I gravitateSo why then did I not want this book to end finished it ready eyes and gave it all the stars? Well for one I'm firmly convinced this author cannot write a bad book can make any subject interesting It's also because though this is about Apollo 8 it is also about real men their wives families and our country in the tumultuous year of 1968Kurson includes the three astronauts backgrounds their training their flight but also what they were thinking eating even how they had to go to the bathroom Why NASA chose Christmas for this first flight to the moon? Their wives and their backgrounds fears for their husbands All the terrible events of that year and how divided our country was by the Vietnam war and racial issues Kurson let's the reader in on little tidbits of interest making for a personal read His writing this story taking and immersing the reader back into this time these men and others at NASA who were in control central At books end Kurson himself takes over explaining how he became interested in this story his research his interviews with these three men who at the time of his writing were all still alive This was the only crew of astronauts who all stayed married to their original spouses Teary eyed? You'll have to read it yourself to find out why It's imo fantastic as was the narration by Ray Porter Although I’d known about NASA’s Apollo 8 circumlunar mission my knowledge was very very superficial Robert Kurson takes the reader inside the mission with words that describe the incredible power and complexities of the Saturn V rocket that astronauts Frank Borman Jim Lovell and Bill Anders rode to the moon on their incredible voyage in December 1968 He describes the lives of the men as they were growing up how they came to be astronauts their relationships with their wives how they interacted during this spectacular mission and their lives afterward The narrative has a very generous scope but Kurson’s laser focus reveals the mission’s significance to the world of science and even importantly its role in the psyche of the troubled nation that was America in 1968 I was eleven years old at the time of the mission and my memory evokes only that family gathered around the TV and that I knew that something important was taking place Back then I certainly wouldn’t have understood words like “a vehicle that will generate the energy of a small atomic bomb” or “the six and a half million pound beast broke free from its bonds I still find the fact of something that weighed that much blasting off from a launchpad into outer space almost incomprehensible and the fact that a loved one would have been inside the beast unimaginable And yet the astronauts’ wives and children watched as their beloved husbands and fathers were sent on a journey that had been planned only months before It was an aggressive move by NASA to jump ahead of the Soviets in the space race who had been first to launch a manmade object that orbited the earth Sputnik the first to do a circumlunar unmanned orbit Luna 1 and the first to land a probe on the moon Luna 2 and the first to take pictures of the far side of the moon Luna 3 Apollo 8 was America’s audacious answer to this competitive raceOne of the most heartrending chapters in “Rocket Men” is Chapter 13 ‘A Deeply Troubled Year’ in which Kurson sets this event suarely in the history of the times which were indeed troubled With young people deciding “don’t trust anyone over 30” and the older generation complaining about the music of the young people and their lack of respect for authority and their government the Vietnam war raged Riots broke out on college campuses and after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination there was violence across the country Politics seemed polarized and when Robert Kennedy was assassinated many people were convinced that the country had gone crazy Kurson shows how Apollo 8 was the one bright spot showing man’s true capabilities It was not a panacea but still it was a moment of intense national pride and satisfactionWhile reading I thought of the Apple TV series “For All Mankind” where an alternate version of history has the Soviets landing the first man on the moon in 1969 In the TV series the Soviet accomplishment actually offers an impetus to NASA’s space exploration in which they eventually far exceed what has in reality happened It’s an interesting viewpoint and a 'what if' we can never know as our history took its own course shaped by the events of 1968 and years prior The most fascinating section of the book for me dealt with how the human perspective of our blue planet changed with the pictures that Bill Anders took of Earthrise These men traveled 240000 miles and found the moon a lonely and isolated world of blacks and grays while their habitable and troubled world beckoned out the window of their spacecraft beautiful and mysterious An environment that has cradled man since his origin and nurtured his biology and social adaptation a world that is too often taken for granted Against a backdrop of infinity there came an almost mystical vision of our total dependence on 'the good earth' and our interconnectedness on this fragile blue planet our home Absolutely loved this book A meticulous uplifting pardon the pun and beautifully written account of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts who made Man’s first Journey to the moon I knew when one of my friends here at Goodreads whose reviews I respect and love reviewed and rated this book 5 stars that it was one I wanted to get my hands on sooner rather than later and was so happy to have sourced this one on AudibleI read this along with my husband and we discussed and marvelled over the details every day and to be honest I am going to miss the suspense and drama and company of this wonderful book Robert Kurson tells the story of the Apollo 8 and its crew and their amazing and riveting first mission to the MoonThis book reminded me in ways of my reaction to the book Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival Resilience and Redemption and while both books are totally different I wondered going into this one did I really want to read a book about Rockets and space and the moon and yet the moment I started listening to this book I was hooked I enjoyed reading about the men and their families the challenges that they and their families and NASA faced with this mission What it meant to Science and the average Joe all over the world I wasn't very familiar with the Apollo 8 and the Astronauts but obviously knew they flew a very successful mission and yet the suspense created in this account had me totally gripped and at times so anxious for these guys although I already knew the outcome of the mission On finishing this book I was as proud of the Rocket men as every American must have been back on Christmas 1968This is my second book by this author I also enjoyed his book Pirate Hunters Treasure Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate ShipReally enjoyed the sense of time and place and the reminders of events and people mentioned in the book Above all I loved reading and discussing this one with my husband who is a huge fan of all things space and science and he found this an entertaining and informative read too The audio read by Ray Porter and Robert Kurson and was extremely easy to listen to and the narration really added to my enjoyment of this book Before Apollo Eleven landed on the Moon astronauts had to prove they could actually get there This was the record breaking mission of Apollo EightThe first men who;left Earth's orbitflew to the Moonorbited the Moonsaw the far sidemapped the landing siteand returned safely to EarthThe year 1968 was a disaster for America and the world Dissent revolution the assassinations of Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy the unraveling of Vietnam the riots in Chicago all were pulling the country apart and the Russians had planned to get to the Moon first If this happened the Russians would remain first in all aspects of the Space RaceThen NASA planned the impossible launch Apollo Eight for a Lunar orbit to arrive by Christmas 1968 With only four months for planning everyone prepared to beat the Russians to the Moon It all began with President KennedyApollo had a single goal perhaps the greatest and most audacious ever conceived to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth In 1961 President John F Kennedy had committed the United States to achieving this goal by the end of the decade Never had a inspiring promise been made to the American people—or one that could be so easily verifiedThis is a marvelously crafted record of not just the Apollo Eight flight but on all the newsworthy events of 1968 that drove the astronauts to achieve their missionEnjoy Rocket Men is the masterfully depicted tale of the three courageous astronauts who pioneered humankinds’ first trip to the moon and the NASA engineers and other employees who made such a journey possible 1968 was a tumultuous year in the United States with the escalation of the Vietnam War the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F Kennedy Nixon’s election as President and massive protests and riots happening throughout the country Meanwhile the SovietUnited States space race was in high gear and it began to appear that the Soviets might send someone to orbit the moon before the US could Kurson expertly sets the stage for these astronauts’ incredible mission by alternating between the backstories of those individuals who played roles in helping Apollo 8 orbit the moon and elaborating on the cultural and political issues that were rocking the United States in 1968Kurson provides just enough technical details to interest the reader and effectively relay the story without bogging down the reader with information that most people would find unnecessary and potentially boring I was so intrigued by the process of rushing Apollo 8 into space that my poor husband was the beneficiary of an almost constant stream of facts and items that I found fascinating to the point that he finally told me he wasn’t going to have to read the book himself since I had read most of it aloud to him While my favorite part of the book was the amazing story Kurson tells I also found some solace in the realization that the United States has previously survived a politically contentious time period similar to the one we are currently experiencing Rocket Men is a powerful and life affirming story that will resonate with anyone who reads it It was a joy to read from beginning to endListen to my podcast at for fun author interviews For book reviews check out my Instagram account I went into this book with hesitation—spacecraft and rockets are not my usual cup of tea Understanding so little about them I feared I would either be bored stiff or totally lost confused by technical terms that would go over my head I was neither bored nor confused The book is directed toward the layman and SO exciting you simply do not want to put it down Give the book a bit of time Don’t even consider dropping the book until December 21 1968 and the launching of the rocket During the Apollo 8 mission you are there in the command module with the astronauts Frank Borman James Lovell and William Anders I was told by friends the book was so very good because you intimately come to know the three men their wives and families This is true and you do get to know them all well but this is absolutely NOT what made the book special for me It was being there myself in the module seeing what they saw experiencing what they experienced; the book put me there Only a talented writer can pull this off Robert Kurson pulls this off here You need not pick yourself up and go to a movie just sit yourself down in a chair and read the book ExceptI am very glad to have not experienced some of the horrible things they had to go through Armchair travel is my preferred choice of travelThe book focuses primarily on Apollo 8 both the earlier and subseuent Apollo missions are covered too but with less depth The earlier fill in the background and the latter gives readers information about what happened to the program the men had given their hearts and souls to An epilog states what followed in the lives of the three astronauts and their wives after Apollo 8 Why the wives? Because in the telling we have learned the extent to which they have supported their husbands We have come to know the values and priorities of each astronaut as well as the family dynamics of each So why is the focus on Apollo 8 and not Apollo 11? It was the Apollo 11 spaceflight that first put humans actually on the moon Apollo 8 was the breakthrough mission It was the mission that proved getting to the moon was in fact possible It was the mission that orbited men around the moon and got them back to the earth safely It proved that American technology was the world’s best and it proved this during the Cold War when Russia and the US were fighting for hegemony It gave hope to a nation struggling with dissent The Vietnam War was in full swing the Democratic Convention in Chicago had broken out in riots and both John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr had been assassinated The space race had started and with Sputnik and the Russian satellite orbiting Laika around the earth all believed Russia was in the lead Apollo 8 proved this to be wrong I have drawn off a star for the extreme nationalistic and patriotic tone of the book I do not share such views Back in the 1960s I was one of the dissenters The patriotism of Frank Borman and the author’s clearly supportive attitude of such thinking is not to my likingThe author’s note at the book’s end details the extensive research that lies behind the writing of this book The astronauts and two of the three wives were interviewed The author met with the third wife but having Alzheimer’s she could not be lengthily interviewed Frank Borman and James Lovell both eighty seven years of age and William Anders eighty three years of age were fully cogent and very willing to speak with the author Chris Kraft ninety one years of age the head officer of the mission was interviewed too The web based flight journal of Apollo 8 as well as other sources material are sitedThe author reads the author’s note at the book’s end Otherwise it is Ray Porter who narrates the audiobook Every word he speaks is clear and distinct The pacing is perfect He gives and absolutely excellent narration A rating of a whopping five stars is what I have given the audiobook narration Yep this was definitely worth reading despite my hesitationRocket Men The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon 4 starsShadow Divers 3 starsPirate Hunters Treasure Obsession and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship TBR The inside lesser known story of NASA's boldest and riskiest mission Apollo 8 mankind's first journey to the Moon on Christmas in 1968 A riveting account of three heroic astronauts who took one of the most dangerous space flights ever from the New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers In early 1968 the Apollo program was on shaky footing President Kennedy's end of decade deadline to put a man on the Moon was in jeopardy and the Soviets were threatening to pull ahead in the space race By August 1968 with its back against the wall NASA decided to scrap its usual methodical approach and shoot for the heavens With just four months to prepare a fraction of the normal time the agency would send the first men in history to the Moon In a year of historic violence and discord the Tet offensive the assassinations of MLK and RFK the Chicago DNC riots the Apollo 8 mission was the boldest test of what America could do With a focus on astronauts Frank Borman Jim Lovell and Bill Anders and their wives and children this is a vivid gripping you are there narrative that shows anew the epic danger involved and the singular bravery it took for man to leave Earth for the first time and to arrive at a new world How is it even possible to make a book about space that I don't love? Here are some ways Continuous unrepentant use of idioms and clichés If you're uoting someone or deliberately reflecting the patterns of speech of your subjects think Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff that's one thing If you're reaching for the easiest phrase in the phrasebook that's lazy This was definitely not the former Indistinguishable voices Every line of this book felt uniform in tone and pattern This doesn't ever happen in real life and I always notice when I'm fifty or a hundred pages into a book and can't even remember which character said which line in a dialogue because they all sound identical and have done so throughout Invisible research This is ostensibly a book documenting actual things which happened In space And yet I was about a uarter of the way in before I found the first evidence of research uotation marks block uotes footnotes asterisks end note citations lines like in early interviews x was prone to saying y And there were only a handful of moments throughout this book's hundreds of collective pages when Kurson made reference to documentation I literally had no clue that this book was based on interviews until I read the author's note at the very end of the book I received an early copy so there were no appendices or indices or end matter other than that note so there might be to find in future finished editions HOWEVER It won't ever be enough to salvage the book from its lack of internal cues throughout And it bothers me that Kurson adopted a journalist's supposedly objective reporting voice for conveying the internal feelings of people who have long since died and never recorded their feelings about these events in public And just like the dialogue these italicized internal thoughts felt uniform They felt like Kurson's voice It felt like a lie every time Poor Susan Kurson was clearly interested in developing her character and he repeatedly REPEATEDLY notes how much Frank loves her And I really think there probably is something fascinating about her but her development of Alzheimer's means that she was not able to contribute her own thoughts and feelings to this book Which means that every line and thought attributed to her struck me as you guessed it artificial As projections of Kurson's own thoughts and feelings Telling not showing I honestly can't remember a single evocative image from this book It consists of hundreds of pages of Kurson telling his readers that things happened without him conveying or evoking the emotion of those moments If you're not going to saturate your book with research or are going to base it entirely upon personal interviews conveyed anecdotally and without confirmation and you're not going to try and impress upon your readers the experience of the moment what's left? You're not a McCullough or a Wolfe obviously If I'd had a hand in editing this book I would have recommended trimming the summarizing waaaaay back and finding a compelling through line This book has no narrative heart It's technically correct in many ways but always tediousI read sections of this book aloud to my roomies while at a graduate course intensive They found it reductive in its approach to women and the idiomsclichés frustrating to parse This is an amazing story made even amazing by Ray Porter's excellent narration I can't help but feel that much like 1968 when this tale took place we need this kind of patriotic inspiring story to get us through this tough time And then I see something like this proposed Trump July 4th parade and I think to myself this is NOT what we need right nowSorry to get political These men were patriots they were brave and they were Americans It was a pleasure to learn about them Thanks to my public library for the free download Libraries RULE Comprehensive story but I think I should have had a paper copy The audio didn’t keep my attention

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About the Author: Robert Kurson

Robert Kurson is an American author best known for his bestselling book Shadow Divers the true story of two Americans who discover a sunken World War II German U boat and for Crashing Through the story of an entrepreneur who regains his eyesight after a lifetime of blindnessKurson began his career as an attorney graduating from Harvard Law School and practicing real estate law His profe