Five words from the blurb: moon, journey, men, future, lives
Only twelve men have walked on the moon. Andrew Smith was intrigued by their rare experience and wondered how those few days in space affected their lives. He tracked down the nine moon walkers who were still alive (sadly Neil Armstrong died last year, leaving just eight) and attended space conferences in order to understand the unique place these people have in our hearts.
The book detailed the political and historical events that enabled the space program to occur, something I found particularly useful as I wasn’t alive at the time. It also gave me a new appreciation of how difficult the moon missions had been. I didn’t realise how frequently they came close to disaster and the knowledge that the entire command centre used the same memory as a couple of our modern mobile phones was a scary reminder of how much technology has advanced since then.
Unfortunately the book didn’t explain what daily life was like in space, giving only the briefest details of their time up there; instead the book focused on the way looking back at Earth changed their perspective on life.
Most of the astronauts found being in space a profound, life changing experience and it was interesting to see how it had impacted each of their lives in a different way. Coping with their strange celebrity status was another issue they had to learn to master and I felt deep sympathy for the way some of the astronauts were pestered continually.
My only complaint was the lack of photographs in this book – a small section containing a few black and white images would have been a big bonus.
Overall this was a thought provoking piece of non fiction and I have a new-found appreciation for the men who risked their lives in order to step foot on the moon.