Fifty years ago, Christmas 1968, Man first orbited the Moon. This book tells the inside story of that epic journey.
In early 1968, the Apollo programme 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, the agency would send the first men in history to the Moon.
Focusing on three heroic astronauts and their families, this vivid, gripping narrative shows anew the epic danger and singular bravery it took for Man to leave Earth for the first time — and to arrive at a new world.
About the Author
Robert Kurson earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, then a law degree from Harvard Law School. His award-winning stories have appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and Esquire, where he is a contributing editor. Crashing Through is based on Kurson’s 2006 National Magazine Award-winning profile in Esquire. He is also the author of Shadow Divers, and he lives in Chicago.
`Rocket Men is a riveting introduction to the [Apollo 8] flight ... Kurson details the mission in crisp, suspenseful scenes ... [A] gripping book.' - The New York Times Book Review
`Rocket Men is close-to-the-bone adventure-telling on a par with Alfred Lansing's Endurance and Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air. It's as close to a movie as writing gets.' -Mary Roach, The Washington Post
`In 1968 we sent men to the Moon. They didn't leave bootprints, but it was the first time humans ever left Earth for another destination. That mission was Apollo 8. And Rocket Men, under Robert Kurson's compelling narrative, is that under-told story.' - Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Space Chronicles
'With Rocket Men, Robert Kurson tells the tale of Apollo 8 with novelistic detail and immediacy, expertly capturing the urgency and suspense behind the mission that gave America the lead in the Space Race.' -Andy Weir, New York Times bestselling author of The Martian and Artemis
`Robert Kurson takes us on mankind's first trip to the moon in 1968, another time when it seemed America was tearing itself apart. But on Christmas Eve, we raised our eyes skyward and were inspired by the bravery and eloquence of the three Apollo 8 astronauts as they orbited the moon and reminded us of our common humanity.' -Chesley `Sully' Sullenberger, author of Highest Duty
`This is the story of the most consequential and daring voyage since those in the era of Columbus, the Apollo 8 mission to the moon. The tale is told with the care and clarity, and the heart-banging drama, that Robert Kurson's legion of readers have come to expect from him. A flat-out terrific book.' -Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent and Testimony
`Robert Kurson has carried out meticulous research, including long interviews with Apollo 8's crew, as well as Mission Control staff. His account of the Apollo 8 mission, 50 years ago this December, comes to life in such detail that it reads like a page-turning thriller.' -Good Reading, five stars
Kurson effectively recreates the era, recalling the tumult of a changing nation, as well as the tension felt by those involved both on Earth and in space, of a mission with little margin for error. Kurson writes in clear, simple language, avoiding technical matters and cryptic NASA jargon to focus on the people involved. Fans of explorers and adventurers will enjoy Kurson's vibrant, accessible history. -Publishers Weekly
`Immersive ... absolutely riveting ... A gripping tale, well told.' -Booklist
`Rocket Men is a timely and thrilling reminder of a heroic American achievement - three dashing astronauts and the first rendezvous with the moon. It has it all - suspense, drama, risk and loving families. We could use those days again.' -Tom Brokaw
`As a Rocket Woman myself, I know very well the story of Apollo 8, and yet I couldn't put this book down ... Kurson presents not only the challenges, risks, ambition, and success of Apollo 8, but a story of human spirit.' Nicole Stott, NASA ISS and space shuttle astronaut
'Gripping ... Space buffs will enjoy this accessible and engaging account of human ingenuity and exploration.' -Library Journal
`Spectacular ... [Rocket Men] carries on in great style through 350-some pages of "daring, adventure, risk-taking" and so much more ... Kurson's portraits of the men, as well as their wives, their families and space-program colleagues, are intimate and artfully drawn.' -Chicago Tribune
Kurson's conception-to-splashdown reporting had the cooperation from the astronauts and their wives, giving him invaluable details of what happened inside the astronaut's capsule and in their homes below. Most readers already know how the mission turned out (success!), but Kurson builds suspense around a mind-bendingly complex and dangerous journey. -Michael Hill, Chicago Sun Times
`Kurson's first-rate account of this remarkable spaceflight starts by reminding us what a gamble it was, a revelatory wake-up nudge for anyone who thinks moon flights were routine ... There are many pieces to the Apollo 8 story, but Kurson brings them together effortlessly.' -USA Today
The book, and the mission itself, offer a reminder that sometimes science fiction becomes science fact, if not necessarily the way we envisioned it. -Jeff Foust, The Space Review
`Engrossing ... Kurson builds suspense around a mind-bendingly complex and dangerous journey.' -Associated Press
`Kurson holds readers rapt to the heartwarming finale.' - Vanity Fair
`A ripping account of the 1968 voyage into the little known ... Kurson has captured it well. Like Apollo 8, it is mission accomplished.' -Weekend Herald
`Refreshing ... The book will bring long-deserved attention to a mission that has been overshadowed ... Apollo 8's success not only salvaged the space program but also managed to relieve the pessimism regarding the future into which the country had plunged.' -Lincoln Journal Star
`Breathing life into history is a speciality of Robert Kurson's ... Kurson never allows his exhaustive research to get in the way of the story, crafting remarkable nonfiction adventures that put readers at the centre of the action ... Not only are readers at the centre of the story, but at what feels like the centre of the universe as Kurson narrates the journey of man's first trip to the moon.' -Mountain Times