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Race to lunar space

8 Jul 2019, 08:30 UTC
Race to lunar space
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“The most authoritative book ever written about Apollo” – that’s the bold claim on the back cover of my proof copy of Apollo 11: the Inside Story, especially when you consider the books written by some of the lunar astronauts themselves. But once you begin reading journalist and former BBC science-broadcaster David Whitehouse’s latest book, it won’t take long for that claim to fade from bold to fairly reasonable. Apollo 11 is a true celebration of what is inarguably one of humanity’s greatest achievement – setting foot on the Moon. The book tells the story through the voices of the people at the very heart of it – the US and Russian astronauts, as well as the administrators and politicians in both countries.
Whitehouse does not spend much time talking about the thousands of people behind the scenes – the engineers, physicists and mathematicians, those who made the spacesuits and spacecraft. Thankfully, however, their stories are finally being told elsewhere. Still, despite avoiding those tales, there is so much to pack in that the author doesn’t actually get to the surface of the Moon until the last quarter of the book, as the lunar module Eagle finally comes to rest ...

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