Apollo 8 : The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon
by Kluger, Jeffrey

Citing the space race, Cold War and 1967 Apollo 1 tragedy, a riveting account of the harried mission to use an untested rocket to secure America's position as the first nation to reach the moon reveals the dangers endured by its crew and the ways the mission brought inspiration and renewal to an America ravaged by assassinations and war.

Jeffrey Kluger is the author of several books, including Apollo 13 (originally published as Lost Moon) and The Sibling Effect. As a science editor and senior writer for Time for more than two decades, he has written more than forty cover stories for the magazine. He lives in New York City.

We know the basics: Apollo 8 was the second manned space mission of NASA's Apollo program and the first space mission in history to orbit the Moon and come back home safely. Kluger, a veteran science writer (and, not incidentally, coauthor of the acclaimed Lost Moon (1994), which became the movie Apollo 13), fills in the details. He focuses on the people who made the Apollo 8 mission happen as much as he focuses on the actual drama of space flight; the lead-up to the mission-the selection of the astronauts, the testing of the equipment, the training-is just as compelling as the flight itself (which takes up only a relatively small portion of the book). Comprehensively detailed, and written with the sure hand of someone who knows his material inside out, the book is guaranteed to be a hit with armchair astronauts, space-program veterans, and all readers in between. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

How NASA defeated the Soviets in the space race by becoming the first country to send three astronauts on a flight to the moon despite what might have been a disastrous setback.Time science editor and senior writer Kluger (The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in your Bed—in Your World, 2014 etc.) begins in 1968 with the daring decision to push the flight schedule for Apollo 9 forward and change its itinerary from simply orbiting the Earth to a flight to the moon and back. The author explains that the context for the decision was the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union and President John F. Kennedy's promise to land an American on the moon by 1970. The decision went through despite the fact that only 18 months earlier, three astronauts had been killed in a tragic fire during tests of Apollo 7. Faulty wiring proved to be the cause of the fire, likely as a result of the pressure to meet deadlines. "To the p ilots [testing the ship], the Apollo felt like a slapdash machine," writes Kluger. "It was temperamental, error-prone, and impossible to work with for more than a little while before something broke down." Nonetheless, morale remained high, and the original plan was scrapped. Rather than delay the mission, Apollo 9 would become Apollo 8. The author was fortunate to be able to interview the three astronauts who flew the Apollo 8 mission: Cpt. Jim Lovell, with whom he co-authored the bestseller, Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 (1994); Col. Frank Borman; and Maj. Gen. Bill Anders. Kluger also had access to NASA's Oral History Project, which contains transcripts of conversations during the flight, both inside the spacecraft and between the astronauts and ground control. An enjoyable retelling of one of the momentous American achievements that made the moon landing possible. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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