Title: Apollo Moon Missions: The Unsung Heroes
Author: Billy Watkins
Release Date: December 30, 2005
Challenge: RYOB 2009, Buy a Book and Read It, A to Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy challenged the United States to land a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before the end of the decade. It seemed like an impossible mission and one that the Russians—who had launched the first satellite and put the first man into Earth orbit—would surely achieve before the Americans. However, the ingenuity, passion, and sacrifice of thousands of ordinary people from all walks of life enabled the space program to meet this extraordinary goal. This is the story of fourteen of those men and women who worked behind the scenes, without fanfare or recognition, to make the Apollo missions successful.
Apollo Moon Missions: The Unsung Heroes really is a gem for anyone interested in NASA or the Apollo flights. There have been countless books written on this period in history, but Watkins does something unique. Instead of trying to tell the whole story of the program or trying to write the biography of an astronaut, Watkins chose to tell the stories of a few people involved in the Apollo program – photographers, engineers, even the wife of one of the astronauts.
As astronaut Fred Haise (of Apollo 13 fame) says in the introduction of this book, countless people toiled away in order to make sure the country fulfilled Kennedy’s dream of landing a man on the moon before 1970. At its height, there were 400,000 people working on the Apollo program – that is a huge number for the 1960’s. Watkins had quite a job in picking just 14 of them, but he picked well. All the stories are intriguing and it is gratifying to read about the contribution each of them made. The book is also very easy to read. The words flow smoothly and it’s a short book.
The question is, if you haven’t read much about NASA or Apollo, can you understand this book? Definitely. Watkins gives the reader enough information to be able to understand the background of each of the narratives. The people who will really enjoy Apollo Moon Missions: The Unsung Heroes, though, are those who have read and savored the countless books on Apollo. Watkins provides a new look at this inspiring period in history. It’s really not to be missed.