Dr. Timothy Smith
American History Sect. 102
3 March 2011
A Man on the Moon: The Triumphant Story of the Apollo Space Program by Andrew Chaikin A Book Review
“In ancient days, men looked at the stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.” - July 1969, Nixon Administration Speechwriter William Safire.
Award-winning science journalist and space historian Andrew Chaikin has authored books and articles about space exploration and astronomy for more than 25 years. He has taken the story of the Apollo astronauts and written a book that is the definitive “Bible” on all things Apollo. Chaikin spent eight years writing and researching A Man on the Moon, including over 150 hours of personal interviews with 23 of the 24 lunar astronauts (Apollo 13′s Jack Swigert was already deceased). He doesn’t stop with the astronauts. He also interviewed the astronaut’s wives and family members, flight controllers, engineers and various other NASA personnel. He also listened to mission tapes from NASA and gleaned nuggets of valuable information from each Apollo mission. Chaikin takes his passion for the space program and tells the experience from the astronauts’ viewpoint and draws in his audience so that they have his same vision of the future of space exploration by the United States. It is obvious that Chaikin thinks there is more Mick 2
to be done on the moon, and the American space program should be up to the task. The book reads like a well crafted novel. The story is told in great detail, from the astronauts and mission control specialists and scientists who were there and lived it. Chaikin doesn’t get too complex with the technical aspects of the missions, but spends time describing the spacecraft’s systems and what they are used for without “dumbing down” the technology too much as to make the reader feel stupid. The reader “sees” the control...