July 20, 1969. Eight years after President John F. Kennedy promised America that the newly formed NASA would land a man on the moon, the crew of Apollo 11 touched down on the Sea of Tranquillity in triumph. Moon Shot is the never-before-told story of the courage, dedication and teamwork that made the journey possible - an intense human drama of the sacrifices and risks asked of a small but remarkable group of astronauts who put their lives on the line as they led the way to the lunar landscape 25 years ago.
Alan Shephard and Deke Slayton were perfectly placed to tell this inside story. Members of the original Mercury Seven team, they were part of America's pioneering space programme from the beginning, participating as astronauts and as key members of the astronaut office. Set against the backdrop of a race between two superpowers competing to establish dominance as the world's technological and scientific leader, Moon Shot takes us back to days of discovery and achievement, revealing the men behind the heroes, and the success, bitter disappointments and even tragedy that shaped the world of those who risked everything to tackle the unknown.
I know I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but I was surprised at how easy a read this book turned out to be! Some of you know that I have a degree in French, but did you also know that my other major was in International Studies? It's true! While I mostly studied history rather than politics, I did have to take a few poli sci courses & believe it or not we actually discussed the Apollo missions' importance in relation to our nation's place in the world.
This book gives an in-depth, personal account of the Apollo missions' history & process from the inside out. These men risked everything (especially their lives) to make history & I think that is what says so much about us as a people. These men were willing to do what no one had ever successfully done in order to further our knowledge of our own world, while facing the ultimate reality that they might not ever make it back.
What made the book so accessible for the layman (and particularly for those of us who weren't alive when this all went down originally) are the re-created conversations between the astronauts. While I highly doubt they said these exact things, they lend the reader a sense of belonging because you can more fully understand what is being discussed. We get to see inside a rarely discussed world that had such a serious impact on daily life in the 1960's.
I hope some of you will spare this book a few minutes. I don't mean you need to read the whole thing, but just a few pages or chapters should be enough to convince you of the importance of this time & these events in our nation's history.