Rocket Men
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.

Rocket Men Details

TitleRocket Men
Author
ReleaseApr 3rd, 2018
PublisherRandom House
ISBN-139780812988703
Rating
GenreHistory, Science, Nonfiction, Historical, Biography, Space, North American Hi..., American History, Literary Fiction, Autobiography, Literature, American

Rocket Men Review

  • Dave
    January 1, 1970
    Kurson's incredible book "Rocket Men" tells one of the greatest stories of adventure in the modern age, a story that captivated not just the nation, but the entire world. It's the story of the race to the moon. If you loved The Right Stuff and Apollo 13, you'll love this book. After the Soviets launched Sputnik, the space race had begun and, although John Kennedy set getting to the moon within ten years as a goal, it almost didn't happen. Growing up, we all knew the names of the three astronauts Kurson's incredible book "Rocket Men" tells one of the greatest stories of adventure in the modern age, a story that captivated not just the nation, but the entire world. It's the story of the race to the moon. If you loved The Right Stuff and Apollo 13, you'll love this book. After the Soviets launched Sputnik, the space race had begun and, although John Kennedy set getting to the moon within ten years as a goal, it almost didn't happen. Growing up, we all knew the names of the three astronauts who actually landed on the moon, but the story of Apollo 8, the rocket that first made it to the moon is a far more incredible story, particularly given how quickly the launch came together without the usual testing. Kurson takes on a journey with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, to the moon and back, step by breathtaking step. You can feel the world's emotions as the countdown commences, as each rocket stage breaks off, as the astronauts disappear in the dark side of the moon, and as they re-enter the earth's atmosphere and splash into the Pacific. It's also set appropriately in historical perspective with the Cold War space race, the war in Vietnam, the riots in the cities, and in 1968 as Dr King and Robert Kennedy were brutally cut down, taking with them so much of the hopes and dreams of the nation. It took a Christmas miracle in the form of Apollo 8 to give the country hope and optimism again. Kurson also gives us the background history of each of these astronauts, where they grew up, how they met their wives, how they dreamed of being test pilots and eventually chosen to be the second group of astronauts, following the Gemini program. It's amazing that this journey to the moon could be done with the simple technology of the day and the computers they had then. Yet, the scientist' calculations were spot on. This book is do well-written and do fascinating that it was a joy to read. Thank you to Random House for providing a copy for review.
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  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 is a very compelling narrative history of the first and very risky journey of man leaving earth to orbit the moon. Kurson, like in his previous work, Shadow Divers, delves deeply into the context of a singular event, and makes the unique fit into the larger history.With Rocket Men, the primary focus is on astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. While appropriate attention is devoted to their three families back in Houston, events in Missio Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 is a very compelling narrative history of the first and very risky journey of man leaving earth to orbit the moon. Kurson, like in his previous work, Shadow Divers, delves deeply into the context of a singular event, and makes the unique fit into the larger history.With Rocket Men, the primary focus is on astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. While appropriate attention is devoted to their three families back in Houston, events in Mission Control and a couple chapters to set the historical scene of the tumultuous 1968 in the United States, most of the text of this book takes place within the 11 x 13 sq foot space of the Apollo 8 command module. Even within that confined capsule, that traveled a quarter million miles, and with an outcome that is well known, the intensity of the flight, it's risky and aggressiveness and world historical importance are told with full impact.The admiration the author has for the crew is clear. The respect he has for their families and ground control teams comes through well enough. He does perhaps hit on a bit too often the risks involved with the engines, and the lunar orbit insertion and extraction burns. That said, the he has written in a way that the reader can be the fourth member of the crew, understanding why events and decisions happened the way they did.Kurson draws on great secondary sources, but the strength of this book is his access and extensive interviews of the three crew members and their families. Due to their age, this book may be the last time their full story can be told this way and so well. Each of the three astronauts, who later achieved success in the corporate world, goes to great lengths to show the love and connection they had and still have with their families and especially their spouses. As a the fifty year anniversary of this mission is approaching, reliving the important events of Apollo 8 for a new generation is very important.As a narrative history, Rocket Men is quite enjoyable and a page turner. It is highly recommended.
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  • Fredrick Danysh
    January 1, 1970
    Rocket Men is a record of America's space program's efforts to beat the Soviets in getting to the moon. It mentions Apollo 1 disaster that took three lives and caused the acceleration of American efforts. Apollo 8's entire workup and mission is laid out. This is a decent work about space exploration and NASA. My copy was a free review copy through Goodreads.com.
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  • Scott
    January 1, 1970
    A great story, well told.
  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    John F. Kennedy had promised to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960’s and after his assassination, Lyndon Johnson supported this unlikely goal. The USA had a tremendous desire to win the space race, however, and against all odds, Apollo 8 was conceived and implemented, some said too quickly. Astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders went on the historic Christmas 1968 mission to orbit the moon, and after a terrible year of riots, carnage in Vietnam, and assassinations of two beloved lea John F. Kennedy had promised to put a man on the moon before the end of the 1960’s and after his assassination, Lyndon Johnson supported this unlikely goal. The USA had a tremendous desire to win the space race, however, and against all odds, Apollo 8 was conceived and implemented, some said too quickly. Astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders went on the historic Christmas 1968 mission to orbit the moon, and after a terrible year of riots, carnage in Vietnam, and assassinations of two beloved leaders, some felt that Apollo 8 was the only thing that “saved 1968.” I found this book to be thoroughly researched; the author achieves an excellent balance between technical mission information and biographical background on the astronauts and their families which anyone with an interest in history, not just NASA history, should enjoy reading.
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  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Kurson's excellent look at the 1968 voyage of Apollo 8, "Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8", has already received excellent reviews on Amazon, so I can add very little. However, I will say that the writing is low-key but compelling as Kurson writes about the politics, the people, and the history of the United States space program. He also details the race - what we knew was happening - between the US and the USSR. The Soviet launch of a moon rocket forced the United States to put Robert Kurson's excellent look at the 1968 voyage of Apollo 8, "Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8", has already received excellent reviews on Amazon, so I can add very little. However, I will say that the writing is low-key but compelling as Kurson writes about the politics, the people, and the history of the United States space program. He also details the race - what we knew was happening - between the US and the USSR. The Soviet launch of a moon rocket forced the United States to put forward the Apollo 8 flight well before schedule, so we could go to the moon and circle it. Not actually land - that came later - but to circle it. Even though I know the turnout, I really kept expecting things to fail spectacularly. This is a book for any armchair historian and/or science junkie. I also think it would make a great Audible book and I've already preordered the Audible version at the good price of $14.
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  • Alan
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Reader’s Edition of Rocket Men through a Goodreads giveaway. As expected, it was excellent.With the violent and divisive year of 1968 as a backdrop, the story centers around NASA’s hurried plan to beat the Russians and become the first to send a manned mission into lunar orbit and keep hope alive for a moon landing by the end of the decade.Much like his other work, Kurson’s vivid detail and dramatic pacing make for an incredible read. Just enough tech I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Reader’s Edition of Rocket Men through a Goodreads giveaway. As expected, it was excellent.With the violent and divisive year of 1968 as a backdrop, the story centers around NASA’s hurried plan to beat the Russians and become the first to send a manned mission into lunar orbit and keep hope alive for a moon landing by the end of the decade.Much like his other work, Kurson’s vivid detail and dramatic pacing make for an incredible read. Just enough technical detail and historical context, weaved in with in-depth character profiles, actual Apollo 8 radio transmissions, TV broadcast dialogue and the emotion of friends and colleagues back at home. As a reader, you simultaneously feel as if you’re in the command module with the astronauts, and listening to the mission squawk box with close family members.Given the extreme risk and many untested elements of the mission, it’s remarkable that the details of this story are largely forgotten. A likely reason is that Apollo 8 was quickly overshadowed by the three successive missions that occurred within just seven months, culminating in Apollo 11’s lunar landing in July 1969. Make no mistake, however. Apollo 8’s mission arguably faced more uncertainty and risk than any of the others. On balance, Apollo 8 had just as many heart-stopping, “I hope this works” moments as, say, the better known Apollo 13. The main difference being that the former’s mission was completed successfully. One criticism would be that descriptions of several aspects of the mission felt very repetitive, for example, the nature of free-return trajectory was explained in the same way several times throughout the story. Otherwise, this is a homerun for non-fiction fans.
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  • Haris Mohammad
    January 1, 1970
    Thx to the author Robert Kurson and the Publisher for giving me this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a honest review.They Saved 1968Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 is a very compelling narrative history of the first and very risky journey of man leaving earth to orbit the moon. Kurson, like in his previous work, Shadow Divers, delves deeply into the context of a singular event, and makes the unique fit into the larger history.With Rocket Men, the primary focus is on astro Thx to the author Robert Kurson and the Publisher for giving me this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for a honest review.They Saved 1968Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 is a very compelling narrative history of the first and very risky journey of man leaving earth to orbit the moon. Kurson, like in his previous work, Shadow Divers, delves deeply into the context of a singular event, and makes the unique fit into the larger history.With Rocket Men, the primary focus is on astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. While appropriate attention is devoted to their three families back in Houston, events in Mission Control and a couple chapters to set the historical scene of the tumultuous 1968 in the United States, most of the text of this book takes place within the 11 x 13 sq foot space of the Apollo 8 command module. Even within that confined capsule, that traveled a quarter million miles, and with an outcome that is well known, the intensity of the flight, it's risky and aggressiveness and world historical importance are told with full impact.The admiration the author has for the crew is clear. The respect he has for their families and ground control teams comes through well enough. He does perhaps hit on a bit too often the risks involved with the engines, and the lunar orbit insertion and extraction burns. That said, the he has written in a way that the reader can be the fourth member of the crew, understanding why events and decisions happened the way they did.Kurson draws on great secondary sources, but the strength of this book is his access and extensive interviews of the three crew members and their families. Due to their age, this book may be the last time their full story can be told this way and so well. Each of the three astronauts, who later achieved success in the corporate world, goes to great lengths to show the love and connection they had and still have with their families and especially their spouses. As a the fifty year anniversary of this mission is approaching, reliving the important events of Apollo 8 for a new generation is very important.As a narrative history, Rocket Men is quite enjoyable and a page turner. It is highly recommended.
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book from an ARC provided by the publisher, through a Goodreads giveaway.This is an interesting book, a very personal story about the astronaut crew of the Apollo 8, the first craft to carry humans around the moon. Unlike the later Apollo 11, these men had no chance to touch the lunar ground, but instead they were the test platform for the later flights. They knew that their mission had been rushed, in order to beat the Russians to several achievements, and the stress that this put o I read this book from an ARC provided by the publisher, through a Goodreads giveaway.This is an interesting book, a very personal story about the astronaut crew of the Apollo 8, the first craft to carry humans around the moon. Unlike the later Apollo 11, these men had no chance to touch the lunar ground, but instead they were the test platform for the later flights. They knew that their mission had been rushed, in order to beat the Russians to several achievements, and the stress that this put on their families and personal lives was told in this book. The technical side of the mission was also explained clearly, and I found that to be extremely interesting. The only weakness, for me at least, was that the story sometimes wandered off into the personal lives of their families a little too much, in ways that didn't add to the story. Those details would have been more appropriate for a different kind of book, but they didn't ruin this one. They just made it a different story from what I expected.Some of the things that went wrong, ranging from the dangerous to the very embarrassing, kept me turning pages. This is a solid read, a good addition to the library of books coming out about our space program in the 1950s and 1960s.
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  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    First off I want to say which I love reading non fiction , this one was a struggle for me to get through, and I never hardly have that problem with non fiction, there was times I just wanted to put it down and not finish it at all but I kept reading to the very end. Unfortunately this book isn't for me at all , on the upscale it does show you want the astronauts went through as did their families, and how they struggle to get Apollo 8 to the moon , with that said I would like to think Netgalley First off I want to say which I love reading non fiction , this one was a struggle for me to get through, and I never hardly have that problem with non fiction, there was times I just wanted to put it down and not finish it at all but I kept reading to the very end. Unfortunately this book isn't for me at all , on the upscale it does show you want the astronauts went through as did their families, and how they struggle to get Apollo 8 to the moon , with that said I would like to think Netgalley for giving me a chance at reading it ,in change for my honest opinion.
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  • Kend
    January 1, 1970
    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 quoting 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 does 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 quoting 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 quarter of the way in before I found the first evidence of research (quotation marks, block quotes, 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 more 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 tedious.I 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 idioms/clichés frustrating to parse.
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  • Edwin Howard
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't put ROCKET MEN by Robert Kurson down for the last few days, what a ride!(no pun intended). Everyone knows story of Apollo 11 and most know the story of Apollo 13, but the story of Apollo 8 in many ways is more fantastic than those others. The book carries the reader through the decision to have Apollo 8 orbit the moon, to the rushed preparation to have the astronauts trained, the proper equipment tested, and the mission plan created all in about 4 months. Then the ship is launched, an I couldn't put ROCKET MEN by Robert Kurson down for the last few days, what a ride!(no pun intended). Everyone knows story of Apollo 11 and most know the story of Apollo 13, but the story of Apollo 8 in many ways is more fantastic than those others. The book carries the reader through the decision to have Apollo 8 orbit the moon, to the rushed preparation to have the astronauts trained, the proper equipment tested, and the mission plan created all in about 4 months. Then the ship is launched, and the story follows the entire mission in space, all the time checking in with the astronaut's families and the inner workings in NASA on earth. Kurson provides a in-depth and entertaining bio of each of the astronauts (Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders) and also constantly reminds the reader of the state of affairs in the US and the world in 1968, with special attention to the space race with Russia. Kurson keeps the science speak to a minimum and what is there is very accessible. Kurson even throws in a lot of the dialogue between the astronauts, ground control, and even the astronauts families, bringing humanity to the book that could easily have been lost. The discovery of how bold and remarkable a mission Apollo 8 was I will leave to future readers, but I will say that this action-packed book was entertaining, educational, and thought-provoking all in one. I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent read and I think most with an interest in anything space will really enjoy it. For me, perhaps it's because I've read SO much about the space program, I found it it to be somewhat pedestrian. I didn't find too much here that I didn't already know something about and didn't think this telling brought that much new to the story.
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  • Armando Negron
    January 1, 1970
    Rocket Men was a very appropriate book to read around this time with all the hype about the recent Space X launch. It has been a long time since the mainstream got so interested in a rocket launch, and reading about the Apollo missions brings back a sense of nostalgia from an era where nothing seemed impossible.Robert Kurson does a marvelous job in putting together a story about the space program in a way that is not too technical for the layman, but brings enough details to learn quite a lot ab Rocket Men was a very appropriate book to read around this time with all the hype about the recent Space X launch. It has been a long time since the mainstream got so interested in a rocket launch, and reading about the Apollo missions brings back a sense of nostalgia from an era where nothing seemed impossible.Robert Kurson does a marvelous job in putting together a story about the space program in a way that is not too technical for the layman, but brings enough details to learn quite a lot about its history, technology, and people. It is the late 50's, and with the launch of Sputnik the Soviets land the first punch in the space race. Skip a few years afters, and President Kennedy delivers a moving speech "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." NASA took this to heart, and set out in one of the biggest undertakings of the century.I think what I liked most about Rocket Men is that it does not limit itself to the romanticism of the space race. It has no qualms in pointing out how everything was being rushed. How the deaths of the Apollo 1 astronauts, in what was just a rehearsal, set back the program even before it started. It is also impressive the desperate efforts to beat the Russians, how things were being rushed to the point of uncertainty. I can't help but be surprised with the fact that all these astronauts made it back home, The amount of "unknown" was staggering. The story also makes a good study of the motivations of the era. There were mainly two camps: those who were truly intrigued in space exploration, and those who just really wanted to beat the Soviets. In the later camp we find Borman, Commander of Apollo 7. I must admit I barely new about the Apollo 8 mission until I read this book. We are so bombarded with the mainstream missions, Apollo 11 for its landing, Apollo 13 for its issues, and Apollo 17 for being the last one. But, after reading this book, I must admit that "8" was unique and very important. Just the fact that they were the first humans to test out Von Braun's behemoth rocket, the Saturn V, is compelling. And then they became the first Earth visitors to see the moon up close. But in between these events there is a full narrative of the challenges faced by the astronauts, their families, and NASA administrators. Many hard decisions had to be made, and many were best estimates where a lot of trust was placed in the ingenuity of human intelligence and engineering. At the end, it all worked. They made it around the moon and returned home safely. I will not give away the details, for I think this book its a well worth read. I have the biased that I have always found space exploration fascinating. However this book will appeal to anyone, regardless of their knowledge of space. This is a story about humanity not giving up, and the never ending quest to reach for the starts and test the limits of our intelligence.
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  • Nenah Muniz
    January 1, 1970
    I'm so thankful that I won the Goodreads giveaway for this book. I'm going to try to put into words what this book had made me feel. Rocket Men by Robert Kurson is truly a feel good book that the whole country (USA) needs to read. I've always been interested in NASA and space exploration but honestly I don't know nearly as much about it as I want to. We all know that the men of Apollo 11 were the first to step foot on the moon, and about the "successful failure" off Apollo 13, but what was Apoll I'm so thankful that I won the Goodreads giveaway for this book. I'm going to try to put into words what this book had made me feel. Rocket Men by Robert Kurson is truly a feel good book that the whole country (USA) needs to read. I've always been interested in NASA and space exploration but honestly I don't know nearly as much about it as I want to. We all know that the men of Apollo 11 were the first to step foot on the moon, and about the "successful failure" off Apollo 13, but what was Apollo 8? This book answers that question and by the time you're done reading it you'll never forget the answer. What I loved about this book was that not only did it tell six day mission that occurred in December of 1968, but it also told the story of the people that made it happen. The men at NASA who fought and worked hard for this flight to happen; the astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders; and their faithful, tough as nail wives Susan Borman, Marilyn Lovell, and Valerie Anders who supported their husbands in all that they did even if it meant they might lose them. This book tells the story of the beacon of hope and the feeling of togetherness that all of America felt in the midst of the chaos and heartache the 1960s, and specifically 1968 brought to the country. By the end of the book I felt like I knew the Bormans, the Lovells, and the Anders. I felt the emotions and even cried as I read the Christmas Eve TV broadcast. I felt that feeling of hope in the midst of our own current day chaos and heartache. And in the end I also felt a heck of a lot smarter, I've learned so much about NASA and Apollo 8. I'd say about 99% of this book was new information to me. This book resonates with me in a way that I really wasn't expecting it to. As I was riding in the car earlier tonight I couldn't help but stare at the moon with the biggest smile on my face as I imagined Borman, Lovell, and Anders orbiting it almost 50 years ago. I'm so glad that I learned about Apollo 8 and I'm honestly getting a little emotional writing this review, because it represents a moment in our history that the United States was truly united, even if only for six days, and its something that we so badly need right now in 2018. Robert Kurson has truly written something brilliant and I recommend this book to everyone, because there's something to be gained for every reader no matter who you are.
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  • Pat
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of "Rocket Men" by Robert Kurson through the "Good Reads First Read Giveaway."This is a concise history of the Apollo 8 mission. Even though you know it is successful, the author's talent keeps you wanting to continue reading this fascinating book. This book includes a detailed short history of the troubled America of the late 60's. I particularly enjoyed the detailed stories of the personal lives of the Apollo Astronauts. These details made the main characters human. They I received a free copy of "Rocket Men" by Robert Kurson through the "Good Reads First Read Giveaway."This is a concise history of the Apollo 8 mission. Even though you know it is successful, the author's talent keeps you wanting to continue reading this fascinating book. This book includes a detailed short history of the troubled America of the late 60's. I particularly enjoyed the detailed stories of the personal lives of the Apollo Astronauts. These details made the main characters human. They are, after all,"the Best of the Best" our country has to offer.
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  • Doreen Prentiss Gabriellini
    January 1, 1970
    "Rocket Men" by Robert Kurson takes his readers on a space journey with Apollo 8. This book is awesome! It tells a story rich in adventure, bravery, know how, determination and family. While Apollo 13 will be etched in our memory, the story of Apollo 8 captivated the nation and the entire world. It is the great story of America’s race to the moon. Mr. Kurson takes us into NASA in 1968 when America was trying to compete in the ‘space race’ with the Soviets. The book provides a historical perspect "Rocket Men" by Robert Kurson takes his readers on a space journey with Apollo 8. This book is awesome! It tells a story rich in adventure, bravery, know how, determination and family. While Apollo 13 will be etched in our memory, the story of Apollo 8 captivated the nation and the entire world. It is the great story of America’s race to the moon. Mr. Kurson takes us into NASA in 1968 when America was trying to compete in the ‘space race’ with the Soviets. The book provides a historical perspective of the Cold War, the war in Vietnam, the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. America was in a very bad place at this time. It took a miracle from Apollo 8 to give the Country back it’s hope and optimism.The reader becomes intimately acquainted with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders along with their wives and children. We learn the background of each of these heroes. We learn where they grew up, how they became test pilots, how they met their wives, the birth of their children, how they came to NASA, along with their hopes and dreams. It is not overly technical and written in layman’s terms. Mr. Kurson interviewed all three astronauts personally along with many NASA employees from the day along with their wives. This book is a compilation of a tremendous amount of research and it shows! The author takes us to the moon and back describing each phase of the journey as told to him by the original pioneers. It commences with the simple idea, four months of training, the countdown, the breaking off of the different rocket boosters all the way to the dark side of the moon and back to earth again. The journey itself baffles the mind. The technology available in 1968 was ‘simple’ compared to today’s standards. The mathematical calculations made by the scientists at NASA were spot on. If you are fan of all things NASA this book is for you. If you were around during Christmas of 1968 and remember sitting in front of the television, you need to read this book. If you believe in unwavering courage and heroes you need to read this book. I am buying a copy for each of our sons. Phenomenal seems like an understatement. I think I will read it again.I would like to thank NetGalley, Robert Kurson and Random House Publishing Group - Random House for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Dale Dewitt
    January 1, 1970
    This is an amazing read! When thinking about the achievements of the Apollo program one first thinks naturally about the first landing on Apollo 11 but Apollo 8 proved that Apollo 11 COULD be done and that is almost an even greater achievement. Kurson brings us along on humankind's greatest adventure and we get to know not only the 3 brave men who first sat atop the largest rocket humans have ever built but those in charge of the planning to make sure they came home safe. As we approach the 50th This is an amazing read! When thinking about the achievements of the Apollo program one first thinks naturally about the first landing on Apollo 11 but Apollo 8 proved that Apollo 11 COULD be done and that is almost an even greater achievement. Kurson brings us along on humankind's greatest adventure and we get to know not only the 3 brave men who first sat atop the largest rocket humans have ever built but those in charge of the planning to make sure they came home safe. As we approach the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 8 and look at the new adventures that NASA, SpaceX and others have laid out before us we can look to our first trip around the moon with the same wonder that was felt in 1968 as our first representatives from earth became our first visitors to our neighbor the moon.
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  • Shawn
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Kurson goes in depth to Apollo 8, but also to the surrounding time of 1968.It's a great companion piece to the Andrew Chaikin Apollo Book (Which needs to be placed on Kindle,by the way) as it is technical enough to not be overly basic on the side, but not so technical to overwhelm the casual reader on the flip side.I enjoyed Kurson's work and would recommend it to Apollo, Space and even 1960's history buffs.
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  • Terri Wangard
    January 1, 1970
    Apollos 11 and 13 are famous as the first moon landing and the successful failure of a moon landing. Less well-known is Apollo 8, which, in the words of the late Neil Armstrong, was “an enormously bold decision.”The Saturn 5 moon rocket had flown twice, and the second time was a failure. The lunar module was behind schedule. The Soviets were suspected of attempting a manned lunar flight by December.The American space program was in trouble. A crew had perished in a spacecraft fire on the pad in Apollos 11 and 13 are famous as the first moon landing and the successful failure of a moon landing. Less well-known is Apollo 8, which, in the words of the late Neil Armstrong, was “an enormously bold decision.”The Saturn 5 moon rocket had flown twice, and the second time was a failure. The lunar module was behind schedule. The Soviets were suspected of attempting a manned lunar flight by December.The American space program was in trouble. A crew had perished in a spacecraft fire on the pad in 1967. And not only the space program, but all of America was convulsing with anti-war fervor, racial unrest, and assassinations in 1968.A circumlunar flight was dangerous, but it would keep the space program moving forward toward the goal of landing men on the moon before the end of the decade, and maybe even beat the Soviets.The crew selected for the daring flight had been training for Apollo 9. Frank Borman had little interest in space exploration. He joined NASA to fight the Soviet Union on the new battlefield of space. His teachers had labeled him as bossy and hardheaded. His peers found him arrogant. His own assessment was, he was among the best of the astronaut corps.His opposite had been his crewmate on Gemini 7. Jim Lovell had a lifelong dream of exploring space and flying rockets. Folks most remembered his warmth and friendliness.Rookie Bill Anders rounded out the crew. He was dismayed by their assignment to Apollo 8. He’d been training to be a lunar module pilot. With no LM, he’d be switched to command module pilot, and his future chances of walking on the moon disappeared.The flight of Apollo 8 was a resounding success. And 1968 ended on a bright, shining note.I’ve been fascinated by space since studying the solar system in second grade. If there’s an astronaut book out there, I’ve read it. The latest is Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon, by Robert Kurson, is a great addition.
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  • Doug
    January 1, 1970
    Rocket men is one of the best books I have ever read about the US space program. America was in a race with the Soviet Union to be the first to send men to the moon. It demanded political, technical, and personal risks. Short biographies of each of the three astronauts are mixed with technical challenges and the political climate of the era. I knew they all made it home but at times I was worried about their safety.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    WOW, This is a winner. I am a winner of an ARC from Goodreads.For those of us who were teens during this time it is a good review of History in the Making. I learned so much about the men and their families here. I remember the trip to the moon but being a teen that was it. So here I am reading this and saying to my husband do you remember and he is saying yes. So for me this is a 5 star book. I am handing it off to my son who is a teacher in public school so he can say WOW too. To say something WOW, This is a winner. I am a winner of an ARC from Goodreads.For those of us who were teens during this time it is a good review of History in the Making. I learned so much about the men and their families here. I remember the trip to the moon but being a teen that was it. So here I am reading this and saying to my husband do you remember and he is saying yes. So for me this is a 5 star book. I am handing it off to my son who is a teacher in public school so he can say WOW too. To say something this spectacular happened during my lifetime is amazing.So Thank you to the Apollo 8 Astronauts, their families, and all the incredible people who worked on this mission. Thanks to Author Robert Kurson, you did a good job on this story.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    I am so envious of the advanced copy winners, as I cannot wait to read this book! I have loved every one of Robert Kurson’s books for their insights into the stories behind the bold adventures. He is a master at unearthing and chronicling what motivates dreamers and risk takers and the back stories that compel them to pursue missions that are Quixotic at best - until they succeed and become a part of history (or change the history books, as with “Shadow Divers”).
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  • Amalya Kuvacz
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Shadow Divers, so I was thrillled to get an advance copy of Kurson’s new book about Apollo 8. Kurson has an amazing talent for pulling readers into his books, and he’s done it again with Rocket Men. The book shows the rich context of (and the real reasons for) the risky Apollo missions — Kurson makes you feel the heart-stopping excitement of Cold War panic, danger, and the thrill of exploration. Nice treatment of wives and family, too. I loved it!
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  • Armen
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Kurson's Rocket Men is a roller coaster ride through the ups and downs of that most chameleon of years, 1968. Assassinations, riots, elections, revolutions (in politics, art, music, literature - just about everywhere) and social upheaval provide the context in which the USA's NASA made a stunning decision - it would compress years of slow development into a few short months in order to leap frog into the lead in the race to land an American on the moon. Kurson summarizes the space race fr Robert Kurson's Rocket Men is a roller coaster ride through the ups and downs of that most chameleon of years, 1968. Assassinations, riots, elections, revolutions (in politics, art, music, literature - just about everywhere) and social upheaval provide the context in which the USA's NASA made a stunning decision - it would compress years of slow development into a few short months in order to leap frog into the lead in the race to land an American on the moon. Kurson summarizes the space race from its beginnings when the USSR launched Sputnik in 1958. Other authors have tilled this ground before. Rocket Boys but few have done so with Kurson's breezy style and eye on the bigger picture of the Space Race's place in the America of the 1960s.Being from the mid-west himself, Kurson details the life of the three extraordinary astronauts at the heart of his story about the Apollo 8 mission that was the first to leave earth orbit and head out to the moon. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders come across as not only skilled men, but adventurers in the great tradition of Western Culture - daring to go where no man has gone before. Kurson gives equal time to the families of the men, making clear that these men did not do what they did alone, but only were able to do it with a supportive spouse and family who sacrificed a great deal.The technology and science necessary to understanding the perils how a rocket and space ship work is set forth in understandable language. Kurson goes behind the scenes in NASA and gives us biographies of all the major players. If you have any interest in either the time period or the Space Race or NASA, this is a must read.
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  • Cherei
    January 1, 1970
    Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson will be the book that I will compare ALL other books about space travel! OMG.. If I could make any book required reading for this generation, this book would be at the top of the list! Robert Kurson brought to life every astronaut, astronaut wife, NASA employees, and so many others. I am beyond impressed!! I kept stopping reading.. just so I could read to my husband various pag Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson will be the book that I will compare ALL other books about space travel! OMG.. If I could make any book required reading for this generation, this book would be at the top of the list! Robert Kurson brought to life every astronaut, astronaut wife, NASA employees, and so many others. I am beyond impressed!! I kept stopping reading.. just so I could read to my husband various pages. I felt like I was with Borman, Lovell and Anders for every single second of Apollo 8! There are so many things that I learned reading this fantastic, mind-blowing, journey! My words will never be as elegant as Kurson's.. but, oh readers.. please take my word.. this will be the one non-fiction book guaranteed to make the bestseller's list this Spring! So many are in for an amazing mental journey to the moon! You will learn a great deal about their wives, their children, and the men and women that they worked with to achieve this common goal! Taking man outside of the gravitational pull of Earth. To truly be beyond Earth's pull. All the while.. being an explorer. An adventurer! 1968 was one of the worst years on recorded history for the United States. Thank goodness for Apollo 8!! They truly turned around the American can do.. and we once again could believe in ourselves as a nation. In addition to that.. for one day.. Christmas Day, 1968.. the entire planet.. realized just how lucky we are.. as humans to exist, to think, to explore!
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  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    Review of Advance Reader’s EditionIn 1968, America, filled with dissent and violent discord, seemed on the verge of tearing itself apart. And the mission set by John Kennedy, to send men to the moon and return them safely to earth, was in jeopardy as the Soviets’ space program appeared to be on track to pull ahead in the fierce space race that existed between the two countries. In a rare and unprecedented move, NASA decided to scrap its usual training plan and send three astronauts, Frank Borman Review of Advance Reader’s EditionIn 1968, America, filled with dissent and violent discord, seemed on the verge of tearing itself apart. And the mission set by John Kennedy, to send men to the moon and return them safely to earth, was in jeopardy as the Soviets’ space program appeared to be on track to pull ahead in the fierce space race that existed between the two countries. In a rare and unprecedented move, NASA decided to scrap its usual training plan and send three astronauts, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, to the moon in just four short months. Threatening disaster at every turn, NASA’s scientists, engineers, and astronauts embraced this bold and brave move. Here, then, is the exciting story of man’s first trip to another world . . . a dream fulfilled and an unexpected Christmas Eve gift from three brave men to the world they called home. “Rocket Men” reads like an exciting thriller, filled with unexpected twists and turns. This is a story so well-told that readers will feel as if they are in the midst of this amazing journey. The saga of the men of Apollo 8 is an unputdownable narrative of courage, hope, resilience, patriotism, and love.Highly recommended.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free Kindle copy of Rocket Men by Robert Kurson courtesy of Net Galley  and Random House, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a number of books on the space program. This is the second book devoted to Apollo 8 that I have read. It is the first book by Rober I received a free Kindle copy of Rocket Men by Robert Kurson courtesy of Net Galley  and Random House, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a number of books on the space program. This is the second book devoted to Apollo 8 that I have read. It is the first book by Robert Kurson that I have read.This book is well written and researched. The author's writing style is engaging making this a fairly fast read. As I mentioned above, this is the second book on Apollo 8 that I have read and I learned a number of new things in this book.  It more than adequately covers the gamble that was took in launching Apollo 8 on  short time schedule and did a much better job of discussing the impact of the launch/flight/landing on the spouses of Ed Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders.I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the U.S. space program and in particular the race to the moon.
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  • Jeniece Goellner
    January 1, 1970
    Published in the year of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8's groundbreaking lunar orbit mission, Robert Kurson's "Rocket Men" gives readers an intimate and inspiring look at the men and the mission that inspired a nation and the world. Focusing mainly on the astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders, we get an in-depth look not only to the mission, but to the lives of the men and their families. As with most nonfiction books, the true gems are in the small details that make the story accessible. From Published in the year of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8's groundbreaking lunar orbit mission, Robert Kurson's "Rocket Men" gives readers an intimate and inspiring look at the men and the mission that inspired a nation and the world. Focusing mainly on the astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders, we get an in-depth look not only to the mission, but to the lives of the men and their families. As with most nonfiction books, the true gems are in the small details that make the story accessible. From little stories about Army Navy jokes among the astronauts to diets in order to reduce bowl movements while in space, we get a true picture of who these men were. Then on top of it, you get a clear picture of just how heroic this mission really was as you read the inner workings leading up to the mission. This was an excellent read that brought more light to a mission most know of, but probably don't appreciate enough.Disclaimer: I received this book via a giveaway on Goodreads.com in return for a fair and honest review.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    What a story! In the epilogue, former astronaut Mike Collins is quoted as saying that Apollo 8 was about leaving and the more celebrated Apollo 11 (Armstrong on the moon) was about arriving. In this book, Kurson captures the incredible daring and drama of truly leaving Earth for the first time. It's largely based on interviews with Borman, Lovell, and Anders (all still living), each of them a pretty remarkable human in his own right. There's a detailed narrative of the mission -- my heart was al What a story! In the epilogue, former astronaut Mike Collins is quoted as saying that Apollo 8 was about leaving and the more celebrated Apollo 11 (Armstrong on the moon) was about arriving. In this book, Kurson captures the incredible daring and drama of truly leaving Earth for the first time. It's largely based on interviews with Borman, Lovell, and Anders (all still living), each of them a pretty remarkable human in his own right. There's a detailed narrative of the mission -- my heart was almost pounding during the launch and risky in-flight maneuvers! -- but also awareness of all that 1968 meant for the U.S., and plenty of attention to the heroic endurance of the astronauts' wives. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the prose or presentation, but I didn't feel Kurson was going for that. Overall, a worthwhile read for new or casual space geeks--maybe for seasoned ones, too.Thanks to NetGalley for the free e-galley.
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