Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon – Jeffrey Kluger
“In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another. Meanwhile, the Russians were winning the space race, the Cold War was getting hotter by the month, and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed sure to be broken. But when Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on.
Written with all the color and verve of the best narrative non-fiction, Apollo 8 takes us from Mission Control to the astronaut’s homes, from the test labs to the launch pad. The race to prepare an untested rocket for an unprecedented journey paves the way for the hair-raising trip to the moon. Then, on Christmas Eve, a nation that has suffered a horrendous year of assassinations and war is heartened by an inspiring message from the trio of astronauts in lunar orbit. And when the mission is over―after the first view of the far side of the moon, the first earth-rise, and the first re-entry through the earth’s atmosphere following a flight to deep space―the impossible dream of walking on the moon suddenly seems within reach.”
Jen’s comments: By the author of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13. Fantastic exploration of the first mission that brought our astronauts up close to the moon.
All the President’s Men – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
“The most devastating political detective story of the century: the inside account of the two Washington Post reporters who broke the Watergate scandal, now with a 40th anniversary Afterword on the legacies of Watergate and Richard Nixon.
This is the book that changed America. Published just months before President Nixon’s resignation, All the President’s Men revealed the full scope of the scandal and introduced for the first time the mysterious “Deep Throat.” Beginning with the story of a simple burglary at Democratic headquarters and then continuing through headline after headline, Bernstein and Woodward deliver a riveting firsthand account of their reporting. Their explosive reports won a Pulitzer Prize for The Washington Post, toppled the president, and have since inspired generations of reporters.
All the President’s Men is a riveting detective story, capturing the exhilarating rush of the biggest presidential scandal in US history as it unfolded in real time. It is, as Time magazine wrote in their All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books list, “the work that brought down a presidency…perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history.””
Jen’s comments: I reread this every few years because it’s a tremendous journalism story. (The movie is pretty great too.) But now it takes on a new significance.