Saturday, July 18, 2009

Five best insider accounts of the Apollo moon landings

Harrison H. Schmitt, a former U.S. senator for New Mexico and, as Apollo 17’s geologist and lunar-module pilot, the last man to step on the moon, is the author of Return to the Moon: Exploration, Enterprise and Energy and the Human Settlement of Space.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of insider accounts of the Apollo moon landings. One title on his list:
Rocket Boys
by Homer Hickam Jr.
Delacorte, 1998

The motivation of many of the young men who ­became miracle workers for Apollo ­began with the launch of Sputnik I in October 1957 by the Soviet Union. I know that my interest in space began at that point. So did Homer Hickam’s. His “Rocket Boys” (later released as “October Sky,” after the title of a 1999 movie based on the book) vividly describes his roots in West Virginia coal-mining country and his post-Sputnik attempts during high school to build and launch small rockets. Hickam went on to become an engineer and was part of the Saturn V rocket team that launched 27 astronauts to the moon. His story was typical of Apollo ­veterans across the country.
Read about another book on Schmitt's list.

--Marshal Zeringue