Audie Award, History/Biography, 2016
This acclaimed portrait of heroism and ingenuity captures a watershed moment in human history. The astronauts themselves have called it the definitive account of their missions. On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Based on in-depth interviews with 23 of the 24 moon voyagers, as well as those who struggled to get the program moving, A Man on the Moon conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions with breathtaking immediacy and stunning detail.
©2007 Andrew Chaikin (P)2015 Audiobooks.com
Possibly the most riveting, moving book l have ever read. The author brings the passion of the apollo missions to life with magnificent detailed storytelling of the highest order.
Some weird, repetitive and irritating inflexions
No. People have stopped going to the moon
Nice idea, but the astronauts are almost uniformly dull and inarticulate. All good and brave guys which is what you need for a spaceship but not to listen to. I guess this is a useful insight, as is the ingenuity and dedication of the backroom staff but the book sags after the novelty of the early flights and the drama of Apollo 13. After that it is all rock collecting. Only Neil Armstrong (thank goodness he was first) stands out as an interesting if reticent personality.
If I had to choose one book that my descendants had to read I'd choose this one. Andrew Chaikin truly allows the listener/reader to get to know the astronauts, the time and the world that the astronauts and NASA lived in. The narrator perfectly portrays the emotions of the author and the astronauts while also putting in a great performance including his portrayal of a southern accent.
I cannot recommend this book enough, if you love spaceflight with me then this is the pinnacle, if you love non fiction or history then this is still a must. And if you have a hope for the future of humanity and spaceflight then this book will give you an insight into the human ingenuity that goes with it.
"Up and Down"
This book is a fascinating fly-on-the-wall panorama of the extraordinary efforts made by NASA to land a man on the moon before the onset of the year 1970, and then the subsequent missions in the early 70s.
You look up at the big moon in the sky and it doesn’t look all that far away, but if the earth was a basketball, then the moon would be a baseball a distant 23 feet away, or a quarter of a million miles to full scale. And the technology available to get the astronauts there (and back) was fairly rudimentary by today’s standards; all foil, duct tape and steaming, simmering rocket fuel. The computer on board Apollo 11 contained less hardware than a pocket calculator, with a paltry 64 kilobytes of memory.
This book takes you through all the missions leading up to the 1969 moon landing (and beyond), and it becomes clear that the men inside the rockets were taking a very big risk every time they sat on those colossal vats of liquid hydrogen and got blasted into space. Manoeuvring out of earth orbit and then into lunar orbit required very precise burns of this rocket fuel to alter their speed and direction, and if these were miscalculated or if there was a malfunction, then they would have drifted into the blackness of space until their oxygen fizzled out, like Major Tom.
And the glamour of space flight loses some of its gloss when you hear the graphic descriptions of globules of urine, vomit and diarrhoea meandering randomly around the cabin. After several days cooped up inside the cabin the smell got so bad that one navy swimmer who released the astronauts from their command module in the Pacific Ocean wretched when he opened the hatch.
But there is also the sheer amazing exuberance of that first historic walk out onto the lunar surface. With Armstrong and Aldrin; two serious, highly intelligent and rigorously trained aviators bouncing around in the moon’s one sixth gravity like toddlers on a trampoline, and the surrealism of them being so ridiculously far away and so isolated, and yet being watched by 600 million viewers on live TV and having a phone chat with President Nixon. It’s so bizarre that it’s no wonder there are some cretins who think the whole thing was a hoax.
Like the moon, this story waxes and wanes in cycles of climax (the first moon landing and the Apollo 13 near-disaster) and anti-climax (Apollo 12, the second moon mission and Apollos 14-17, when moon geology becomes the main focus and the Apollo programme just gradually peters out). But despite these anti-climaxes, the audiobook tells the full story in rich detail, and you really feel as if you were there on the moon with those first pioneers. Recommended.
"The classic chronicle of the Apollo era"
Chaikin's approach to the book, which isn't a straight history of Apollo. This is not a dry, dusty history, but rather a character-driven exploration of the program, with all of its brilliant successes and heart-breaking failures. Nor is it hagiography. The Apollo astronauts are real people, with all the flaws that that entails, and Chaikin does a great job of capturing their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
Though not a "character" in the literary sense: Pete Conrad. The chapter on Apollo 12 is my favorite.
Superb inflection and a recreation of the astronaut's speaking styles. Pinchot's reading was very nicely done and he does a great job of capturing the personalities of the astronauts. He doesn't try to do impressions, though. It is his interpretation of the astronauts, but accurate ones if you've ever heard one speak.
Yes, but I'm a manned space flight nerd. Your mileage may vary.
This is an outstanding story with excellent narration! Each vignette about the different Apollo episodes was a great story in itself. The book inspired me to find and watch YouTube videos on each of the launches. Very inspirational!!!
"The moon missions were amazing"
As a child growing up in the 60's I experienced the moon missions on TV, and back then they seemed "nominally" great. But now, as an adult, listening to this book, this audacious feat, the details, the human side, all add up to a story that is beyond amazing.
No one astronaut stood out, but the ones with a Texas drawl were my favourites.
Great tone, a "welcoming" story teller.
No, too long to listen to in one sitting.
Just as Steve Jobs once said when developing the iPod, "music is transformational", audio books are very much transformational as well. If you have a hobby as do I (building RC airplanes), you can enhance your hobby with audio books. I have been very pleased with this new experience.
"Simply Outstanding and worth every penny!"
This is a must for anyone even somewhat intersted in histiry, space, Apollo or dreams of a return to manned spaceflight out of LEO.
Get it. You will not regret it!
"Fantastic, Detailed, page turner!"
I really enjoyed every bit of the book. I've craved something that went deep; but I also wanted lots of details, yet a good story. This book delivered them both! This is the only book where I really felt like I was part of the story - I really felt as if I was there - with the astronauts - on the moon!! No other astronaut book gives you that kind of depth and intensity. The narration was top-notch and really helped move the story along. For anyone wanting a complete retelling of the Apollo program there is no better book.
"Magnificent on the most spectacular adventure of the human race"
The story is epic and expertly written by the author. Some technical details, yet more of the human factor - stories and anecdotes that bring the men of the Apollo program to life.
Author employs a somewhat too dramatic reading style that at times is completely at odds with the written material. Still, his style is decent enough and does not subtract too much from the experience.
Overall a wonderful audiobook that I can highly recommend to those curious about the manned missions to the moon, or to anyone with an interest in magnificent tales of courage, ingenuity and exploration.
"More interesting than expected"
I bought this because i wanted a change from World War 1 or 2, or badly written novels. I'm old enough to remember watching the Apollo 11 landing ( we here in Canada were as interested as the rest of the world) but like most others, my knowledge of the Space Program went no further than watching the Tom Hanks Apollo 13 movie. I was surprised with how ( for the most part) engaging it was. I agree it was written for listeners such as myself ( not too scientific or technical) and I quite liked learning about the astronauts as people, their fears, courage, determination, families. Some parts near the end dragged ( the discussion of geology and collection of samples from the moon) but overall......worth a listen
"Long, comforting book on moon exploration"
This book chronicles the full set of Apollo missions. It is very broad in scope, which is both a strength and weakness. There were many times that I wanted to know some of these astronauts more deeply as people, and other times I wanted more scientific detail. I realize, though, that the book that gave what I wanted might have been 2-3 times as long, and it already was more than 20 hours! Still, a number of the astronauts were profiled in depth, and this book is full of interesting scientific detail. It is cool that it covers the whole Apollo program. There were so many great parts, with even the slower moving pieces still interesting and easy to listen to. It is hard to write a great book which covers so much, and Chaikin did a pretty good job of it. I quit many audiobooks from boredom, but this had my interest throughout. One other flaw - it felt like the author tried to minimize anything negative about the astronauts, and it had a little bit of a sanitized feel to it. I didn't mind because these astronauts were pretty heroic. Overall, this book was interesting and uplifting, and had a great narrator. I will look at the moon differently now.
Story strives for emotion but only achieves a sickening sentimentality. This combined with the readers use of inflection at the end of every sentence for impact made me feel queezy at times.
"A great book"
If you have any interest in the History of the Apollo program this book is a must read. Very well researched and written I was disappointed to finish it so soon
This is an excellent book! Exciting history and the story is told in such a way that you even feel part of the adventure, I loved it!
Superb! Packed, PACKED with detailed accounts of everything Apollo. Really really good. Anyone who likes space flight and engineering and exploration will enjoy this book.
Without a doubt the best book written about the Apollo program with some fantastic stories. Clearly passionately written by a knowledgeable author and superbly read.
"Why did we stop visiting the moon"
The descriptions of each phase of the Apollo programme were excellent and you could almost feel part of each flight. Very well read and easy on the ear. I remember watching each event on the TV when they happened. I was not aware of the real detail particularly the scientific aspects. Roaming around the moon was so well described you could easily imagine being with the astronauts. Why did they stop the programme, the technical achievements were understated at the time. We could and should have learnt so much more. The views of each crew were very well portrayed which shows the research was excellent. A thoroughly enjoyable book.
"Known story comes back with loads of details"
I have spent countless hours reading about Apollo program. I you can find almost anything about it. But this book came with different approach. You will live the story with astronauts themselves as the book comes with amazing details about everyone of them.
"Compelling story, excellent narration"
Really enjoyed this audiobook. A fascinating and compelling insight into the men and their experiences. Also the narration is excellent, the narrators, style and pace really add substance to this tale.
I grew up in the Apollo era and really enjoyed this book.
It is a detailed and interesting explanation of man's greatest adventure from the men who actually went to the moon.
Great narration that compliments the content perfectly.
"Greatly informative, but slightly irritating."
There's really good stuff about the Apollo missions in this audio book. Fascinating details are strewn throughout and it's clear the author is awe-struck by both the scale of the venture and the people who made it happen.
However, there were a few eye-rolling moments as Chaikin clumsily over-emphasises the inherent romanticism of going to the moon. This is not helped by Pinchot's breathy delivery of such lines, despite his otherwise solid performance.
Also, the stress Pinchot puts on the 'hours' when he reads out the 'mission elapsed time' seems out of place. It's like he can believe they've been on the mission for six days, but can't believe they've made it through eight additional hours.
Overall, these irritations don't detract from the narrative and Chaikin has written a very good book, which is ably read by Pinchot.
If you're looking for a book about the moon and the people who got us there, this is it.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.