Lost Moon

Lovell, Jim, and Jeffrey Kluger. Lost Moon: The Perilous Journey of Apollo 13. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

Reason read: On December 18th, 2018 NASA scheduled a rocket launch.

Lost Moon reads like a drama. The language isn’t bogged down by rocket science verbiage even through at the time of publication Jim Lovell was a famous astronaut and Jeffrey Kluger was an adjunct instructor (in other words, two really smart men). You pretty much know what is going on at all times. Lost Moon is suspenseful even though factually you know how it all turns out in the end. You should know, if not through the news (because you lived it), then because of the movie of the same name (because it starred Tom Hanks and won a whole bunch of awards). Here’s a ten second recap: On April 11th, 1970 Apollo Lucky 13 lifts off into space. By April Lucky 13th an oxygen tank explodes and the crew abandons the mission and Odyssey and moves into Aquarius. Two days later, on April 15th, a battery explodes in Aquarius. A day later a helium disk bursts. A day later, six days after liftoff, Aquarius splashes down in the Pacific ocean.
One of the most interesting facts I learned after reading Lost Moon was the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. Article five of the document talks about ensuring the safe return of space travelers clause. In the event of an unplanned or off-target landing in hostile territories the space traveler would be safe and not be punished, imprisoned, or held responsible for the emergency landing in their territory.
Second interesting fact – astronauts are “star sailors.” I like that a lot.

Author fact: Jeffrey Kluger is a senior writer at Time magazine. Jim Lovell was also a Navy captain.

Book trivia: There is a great section of photographs in Lost Moon. The cover is of the blast off. “Because of the incredible speed of your rocket, your trip is short.” If you don’t know, don’t ask!

Nancy said: Pearl said “though you may have enjoyed the movie, don’t miss the book…it brings  a new dimension to the now familiar account of heroism” (Book Lust p 158).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “The Moon’s My Destination” (p 157).


Apollo: the epic journey

Reynolds, David West. Apollo: the Epic Journey to the Moon. New York: Harcourt, 2002.

David West Reynolds cornered the Apollo market when he was able to get two former astronauts and a Smithsonian Air and Space Museum curator to contribute to his historical look at the race for space. In addition he used amazing photographs! Reynolds carefully outlines the humble beginnings of man’s desire to launch into space, giving credit to Jules Verne as the man responsible for sparking the imagination of men who dared to dream the impossible. The frantic competition was heightened after John F. Kennedy was elected president and he promised American citizens we would reach the moon by 1970. Kennedy’s subsequent assassination was the driving force to make that promise a reality. Reynolds states the entire nation was held responsible for Kennedy’s dream.
But, this is a gorgeous book, filled with interesting facts and photographs taken from beginning to end; from the Mercury and Sputnik to Apollo and Vostok missions.

Best lines, “…liquid fuel would be the way to get a rocket anywhere interesting” (p 19) and “They had stepped out into the void” (p 105). How dramatic is that? Final like I liked, “It was time for the human pilot to prove his worth” (p 136).

Reason read: The first lunar walk was on July 20th, 1969.

Author fact: David West Reynolds is an expert in space exploration.

Book trivia: Apollo: the Epic Journey is such a spectacular book with stunning photography it could be considered a “coffee table book.”

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “The Moon’s My Destination” (p 157).