Moon Shot : The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon by Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Jay Barbree, Howard Benedict

Moon Shot : The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon

Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Jay Barbree, Howard Benedict
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I re-visited this book, which I read (and got autographed by Shepard) when it was new, after watching the great "From the Earth to the Moon" series again. The book has its four-star moments, but I settled for three. \n\nThe content is not particularly sophisticated, and to be honest, the competition among the Apollo books is strong. For example, books by Lovell and Cernan are both better than this one. Even so, it's worth reading by students of the space program for the additional perspective and occasion detail. \n\nPerhaps a root problem is that the book is a mixture of autobiography and story of the space program, with the perspective of the two astronauts not given very often. When that happened effectively, the book was at its best. I liked stories such as NASA's attempt to keep secret who had gotten the first flight, Deke's grounding, Shepard's return to flight status, Apollo 14, and Deke's reaction to the Apollo 1 fire. There are several scenes like that, enough to make the book worthwhile. \n\nIn contrast, some other incidents had superfluous reference to the authors. I didn't really care that Deke and Al sort-of high-fived each other when Apollo 11 landed. Their thoughts on the end of the Apollo program or what the program really meant to them aren't really captured. Few insightful comments about the other astronauts were made (unlike Cernan's book). Many opportunities were lost.\n\nThe Apollo-Soyuz mission is presented as a relatively big deal, which it was to Deke, obviously. In reality, it was pretty meaningless, other than as an exercise in international cooperation. \n\nDeke comes across pretty well in other books and in the "From the Earth to the Moon" series. His character shines at times here, too. Maybe some remarks by other people about Deke, besides from Shepard, would have helped convey that image. How did others feel about how Deke ran the astronaut office, which was his core contribution to the space program? You won't find that in this book.