Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Published October 2018 by National Geographic Society
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher, through TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review
Bold photographs, fascinating graphics, and engaging stories commemorate the 20th century's most important space endeavor: NASA's Apollo program to reach the moon. From the lunar rover and a survival kit to space food and moon rocks, it's a carefully curated array of objects—complete with intriguing back stories and profiles of key participants.
This book showcases the historic space exploration program that landed humans on the moon, advanced the world's capabilities for space travel, and revolutionized our sense of humanity's place in the universe. Each historic accomplishment is symbolized by a different object, from a Russian stamp honoring Yuri Gagarin and plastic astronaut action figures to the Apollo 11 command module, piloted by Michael Collins as Armstrong and Aldrin made the first moonwalk, together with the monumental art inspired by these moon missions. Throughout, Apollo to the Moon also tells the story of people who made the journey possible: the heroic astronauts as well as their supporters, including President John F. Kennedy, newsman Walter Cronkite, and NASA scientists such as Margaret Hamilton.
I vividly remember where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing July 16, 1969, the night Apollo 11's Lunar Module landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong took that first step onto that unknown surface. I don't pretend to understand to all of the science involved (other than to know it took a lot of people who knew a hell of a lot about it), but it space travel has fascinated me ever since.
Friday night we went to see First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Saturday I started this book. I didn't plan for that but what wonderful serendipity. While the movie is Armstrong's story, it is also the story of all of the other people involved in getting Armstrong to the moon and all of the scientific and engineering innovations it took. In Apollo To The Moon, Muir-Harmony takes readers even deeper into that story, and all of the other stories that make up the full Apollo history, literally piece by piece.
Muir-Harmony is the curator of the Smithsonian Nation Air and Space Museum and a scholar of space history. She has access to everything in the museum's collection so you can be sure that's she's given considerable thought to what she wanted to include in this book to tell a story. Among the things she's included a piece of the Wright Brothers' airplane to moon rocks, from cameras and pen lights to a lunar rover wheel. But Muir-Harmony doesn't just tell the story of the 50 objects; she has included brief stories of people she calls Apollo VIPs (Wernher von Braun, Margaret Hamilton, and John F. Kennedy's Space Policy), and backstory pieces (Apollo Mission Insignia, Nixon's Speech, and The NASA Art Program). The book is also filled with photos, drawings, and other art work that add the visual piece that makes this type of book for getting bogged down in facts.
I got just enough information from each of the pieces to give me what felt like a well-rounded history of the Apollo program. There is something here for everyone from the person who doesn't know about these missions at all to the person who is looking to fill in the spaces of their knowledge. I see this book as an excellent addition to school media centers for middle- and high-schools. In my house, I know my husband will be picking it up to read soon and I'm sure I'll be passing it along - with the proviso that it make it back to my house as a nice resource. I definitely recommend this book for those of you with readers in your house from ten to eighty years old.
Thanks to the ladies at TLC Book Tours for including me in this tour. For other reviews, check out the full tour.