Moondust by Andrew Smith

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth

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.

….”with the right computer program, it would be possible to know precisely where everything else in the Universe will be ten, or a hundred, or a hundred thousand years from now. The one thing in the Universe that we can’t predict,” he concludes – and we know what’s coming, yet that doesn’t diminish the thought – “the one thing that we don’t know where it’s going to be even ten years from now, is us. We may be small, but we’ve been given the most extraordinary gift in the Universe.”

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. 


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  1. Teresa says:

    I enjoyed this when I read it a few years ago and found it fascinating. I think it was actually one of the first Richard and Judy choices!

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, The sticker on my book says it was a Richard and Judy book in 2006. I think I must have had it sitting on my shelf, unread since then. It is shocking how long I can leave good books unread for!

  2. JoV says:

    I always wonder why if man can go to the moon in 1969, we can’t do it again 44 years later?

    1. Jackie says:

      Jo, I’m sure we could go back if we wanted to – we just can’t justify the expense now. But this book does a good job of explaining why it could be justified first time around. I recommend it.

  3. JoV says:

    Why can’t we do it 44 years later I mean.


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