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Between 1969 and 1972, 12 men traveled a quarter-million miles to the moon and returned safely. In this powerful, intimate story, journalist Smith sets out to find these men and discover how that experience changed their lives. Smith, a boy living in a nondescript California subdivision at the time of the Apollo missions and caught up in the endless possibility of space flight, journeys to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., and the backwoods of Texas in search of these mythical figures of American know-how. He finds Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, still cool and confident, a plainspoken man who never let on how close that mission came to disaster. In Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon, he finds an imperious, driven, highly successful businessman. If all of the men share one affliction, it's fame. Once at the center of the world's attention, these mostly ordinary men with some extraordinary gifts and luck have lived their lives being asked the same question—What was it like "up there"? In an artful blend of memoir and popular history, Smith makes flesh-and-blood people out of icons and reveals the tenderness of his own heart.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Splendid!” (Arthur C. Clarke, author 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY)
“Moondust is an inspired idea, immaculately executed: witty, affectionate, completely captivating.” (WORD magazine)
“Highly entertaining…[Smith’s] superb book is a fitting tribute to a unique band of 20th-century heroes.” (GQ)
“Fascinating…We know what happened inside the Apollo, but what went on inside the astronauts’ minds? Extremely thought-provoking.” (J. G. Ballard, author of Empire of the Sun and Memories of the Space Age)
“[A] fascinating book… [Smith’s] humour is underpinned by a sense of extreme danger.” (Mail on Sunday, Book of the Week (four stars))
“A rich mix of cultural history, reportage and personal reflection.” (Evening Standard)
“Forget flower power, the Beatles and Beach Boys…what made the 1960s an unforgettable decade was the conquest of space.” (The Guardian, Best Books of the Season)
“A crisply dramatic account.” (Sunday Telegraph)
“An extraordinary book…as profoundly as any work of philosophy.” (Uncut (UK), four stars)
“A wonderful collective biography written with deftness, compassion and humour.” (The Observer)
‘Utterly gripping. Smith is both sympathetic and bracingly unsentimental.” (Daily Mail (London))
‘Enthralling...Smith is an ideal narrator: sharp-eyed yet increasingly affectionate about his subjects.” (Financial Times)
“Riveting...so vivid you can almost smell the suburban lawns.” (Time Out London)
“Spellbinding…a provocative meditation on lunar travel and humanity’s relation to space.” (Business Week)
“A wild ride swerving between then and now.” (Richmond Times Dispatch)
“Smith’s book succeeds…because he bungee-cords together so many intriguing digressions.” (New York Times)