Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon

By Craig Nelson

Read Craig Nelson's posts at the Penguin Blog.

"Celebrates a daring period whilst voyaging past the Earth was once deemed an important to nationwide safeguard and pride."
-The Wall highway Journal

Restoring the drama, majesty, and sheer improbability of an American triumph, this can be award-winning historian Craig Nelson's definitive and exciting tale of man's first journey to the moon. At 9:32 a.m. on July sixteen, 1969, the Apollo eleven rocket introduced within the presence of greater than one million spectators who had accrued to witness a very historical occasion. via interviews, 23,000 pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA records at the area race, Rocket Men provides a shiny narrative of the moon venture, taking readers at the trip to 1 of the final frontiers of the human mind's eye.

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You may be within the head and somebody could arise and begin chatting with you. The astronauts’ houses have been invaded, their teenagers have been to college and again, the youngsters’ academics have been puzzled approximately how the youngsters have been doing, in the event that they have been clever as their daddies, et cetera. . . . “Gus Grissom’s residence has no home windows at the part dealing with the road and it was once equipped that method purposely. He easily didn't wish humans peering in his home windows. John Glenn’s condominium in Arlington, Virginia, on the time of his flight was once overrun. We ultimately bought the county and nation police to protect the home. i feel it was once the Junior Chamber of trade or Lions membership or one other association that got here in after the flight and resodded John’s garden for him as the public had stomped it correct into the dust. ” As their famous person grew, the astronauts have been besieged not just via press requests yet through enterprise possibilities. The NASA PR place of work grew to become to tax attorney Leo De Orsey for aid. “I insist on simply conditions,” he advised the unique Seven. “One, i'm going to settle for no price. , i cannot be reimbursed for charges. ” It used to be an period while the Cape Canaveral technicians have been larger paid than NASA’s fliers, because the astronauts lived on army pay scales (with the exception of civilian Neil Armstrong, the agency’s highest-paid Apollo candidate). America’s new heroes made a base wage of $5,500 to $8,000, with an extra $2,000 in housing allowance and $1,500 in flight pay—a compelling this is because the astronauts insisted on flying themselves among Houston, Canaveral, and a number of the subcontractor amenities. This was once no longer a poor wage within the Sixties, however it used to be minuscule when you have been a recognized public determine who wanted staff to address every little thing from fan mail to safety, consistent alterations of telephone numbers, and to shop for a couple of moments of privateness for your self and your loved ones. including to the astronauts’ precarious monetary prestige used to be the truth that they can now not even receive lifestyles coverage. although no longer one astronaut may die on a project until eventually Challenger in 1986, the insurance firms have been good conscious of the mortality premiums of try out pilots—in 1948 by myself at Edwards, 13 fliers have been killed, together with Captain Glen Edwards, for whom the bottom was once named. in truth, whilst the hot York instances requested flight director Chris Kraft what the percentages have been on John Glenn’s having a profitable release day after today, Kraft answered, “If i presumed concerning the odds in any respect, we’d by no means get to the pad. ” to unravel this actual challenge, De Orsey approached each assurance corporation he might locate, and the one provide got here from Lloyd’s, which quoted a top rate of $16,000 for John Glenn’s four. 5-hour flight. De Orsey ended up writing Annie Glenn a $100,000 try out of his personal account for her protection if her husband didn't go back. Houston congressman Albert Thomas then attempted to get a unique coverage software organize for the fliers, yet that concept used to be shot down, because it wasn’t reasonable to all of the boys drafted to struggle in Vietnam—they couldn’t get lifestyles coverage, both.

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