Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Moon Shot by Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, and Jay Barbree

Moon Shot by Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, and Jay Barbree
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Publication date: (originally published 1994, this edition released March 2011)
ISBN: 9781453211977
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

From the time of the beginnings of NASA's manned space flight to the retirement of the Space Shuttle, Americans have been fascinated wtih space travel.  This book recounts the race against Russia to get man in space and then to the moon, covering the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. 

Things I Liked:
I'm pretty much a fan of space books and will get some enjoyment out of anything written about it.  Though I haven't read much of anything nonfiction for a while, I still get a buzz from reading a flying in space.  This book had a pretty good look at what astronauts experienced - the ups and downs of flying and failing and not making it.  I liked reading about the earlier programs, Mercury and Gemini that don't get a lot of attention.  I thought it was an interesting and even exciting book.

Things I Didn't Like:
I had a few problems with it (not including the kindle formatting issues which finally drove me to reading it on the computer).  First, I got really annoyed at the overuse of cliched phrases and metaphors that almost made it too cheesy to read.  Yes, the time of the space race was exciting and lots of extreme emotions were felt, but I thought it was a little over the top.  [Here's an example:

Deke had wanted to sit back and enjoy the trip into orbit. Instead, he felt as if he were balancing atop a long rubber balloon fighting its way through wild winds, and at its very top, where the three astronauts rode, the motions went from up and down to simultaneous spiraling. A dog shaking water from its body with a twisting, swinging motion while its legs collapsed beneath the hapless animal was Deke’s description of his ride and he could only hold on and lock his spurs into the bottom of his seat. p 349]
Second, while I understand that since Shepard and Slayton are co-authors, their flights will be much more detailed.  But, skipping entirely over some of the flights was ridiculous (Apollos 2-6 get no page time - literally).  It seemed a bit too skewed towards what these two men experienced and not enough about other ones.  Third, the dialog was awkward.  There's no way for many of the conversations recounted in the book to be remembered, so they must have been invented.  I would much rather have a summary of what was said than a created dialog to try and make it more interesting.  It is a fairly good look at these programs, but I think there are better ones out there.

Failure Is Not an Option by Gene Kranz
A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin

s-factor: !@#

pretty much every page, though no f-bombs

mrg-factor: none 

v-factor: -> 
some frightening instances, nothing truly violent

Overall rating: *** 

Is there a subject that you'll read no matter how it's written?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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