Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Race to the Moon

by Alan Shepard

Paperback, 1995



Local notes

629.4 She




Turner Pub (1995), Edition: First Edition first Printing


A revised edition of the New York Times bestselling classic: the epic story of the golden years of American space exploration, told by the men who rode the rockets On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, and the space race was born. Desperate to beat the Russians into space, NASA put together a crew of the nation's most daring test pilots: the seven men who were to lead America to the moon. The first into space was Alan Shepard; the last was Deke Slayton, whose irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until 1975. They spent the 1960s at the forefront of NASA's effort to conquer space, and Moon Shot is their inside account of what many call the twentieth century's greatest feat-landing humans on another world. Collaborating with NBC's veteran space reporter Jay Barbree, Shepard and Slayton narrate in gripping detail the story of America's space exploration from the time of Shepard's first flight until he and eleven others had walked on the moon.… (more)

Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

6 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member careburpee
There are some events in the history of mankind which can never be duplicated. Only one person could be the first to orbit the earth in a spacecraft, or drift outside its confines, or walk on the face of our moon. The 1950s through the 1970s were a special time in the great, epic story of our race.
Show More
A few dozen men with skill, nerve, and willingness to put their lives on the line to experience the impossible, for themselves and their fellow human beings, stepped up for perhaps the greatest endeavor in earth’s history. To land a man on the face of the moon and return him safely home. Aided by the sharpest minds in rocket science, aerospace engineering, and computer and communications systems, these men of courage expanded our frontier, some at the expense of their lives.

The four hundred pages of this book flew by for me. Beginning with the choice, in the waning days of World War II, of a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, to surrender to the Americans, which became the genesis of the United States’ rocket program, the initial printing of this book ended with the Apollo-Soyuz mission (a joining, in 1975, of a U.S. and a Soviet spacecraft while they orbited the earth). Both astronauts involved in the writing, Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton, have passed away since the original printing in 1994. Journalist Jay Barbree wrote an update for the latter version, which I read, which has been rereleased in 2011 for the 50th anniversary of the advent of the space program. His update felt rushed and gave very little specific information about the space program since the last Apollo flight; I would have appreciated a less political stance and one which gave more concrete information.

If you are looking for a fast ride through the history of the U.S., and to a very minimal extent, the Soviet, race to the moon, this is a solid place to start. It is also a good book to read if you want to believe that there was very little tension and competition among the astronauts themselves and the various engineers-something that other writings lead me to know is patently untrue. While I can appreciate the desire of the authors to produce an account free from mudslinging, the book does have a “nicey-nice” ring to it that got a bit too saccharine at times. However, the passion of those involved in the early space programs, the spirit of the unknown that drove them, and their sheer love of what they were doing, comes through clearly in the exciting flow of the narrative. This book made me laugh, cry, and cheer, despite prose that verged on melodramatic at times.

Moon Shot focuses on the United States’ side of the space race, but if you are interested in a balanced account which includes the parallel history of the Soviet side (albeit with much less information from the U.S. viewpoint than Moon Shot), I would like to suggest Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race. This book was written by U.S. astronaut David Scott-Apollo 15 commander, and Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov-the first man to walk in space, and tells their simultaneous stories from opposing sides of the Iron Curtain. These two men also worked together on joint U.S. and Soviet projects later in their careers. As someone who grew up during the Cold War, I found this collaboration absolutely engrossing, although, like Moon Shot, it is not the most well-written of books.
Show Less
LibraryThing member starbuck5250
The subtitle is "The inside story of America's race to the Moon". True enough, but I found it more a paean to Shepard and Slayton. There is some inside story to be sure, but it spends a lot of time describing how Deke and Al were the core of the team. I loved those guys but there were some other
Show More
important people involved in that race.
Show Less
LibraryThing member RobertP
Struck me as too rah-rah and did not nearly accord with what I knew already about Nasa.
LibraryThing member john257hopper
I really enjoyed this. Although it isn't actually written by Shepard and Slayton themselves, they were clearly the main focuses of the journalist author's writing. The quality of the writing was I thought very evocative and moving and really brought home the majesty and significance of the Apollo
Show More
missions. Marvellous, stirring stuff. 5/5
Show Less
LibraryThing member mybucketlistofbooks
Well, I love books about space and space travel. But, I am sorry to say I wasn't all that enamored with this one. It really was pretty poorly written, full of cliches and didn't really reveal much that wasn't already known. Actually, the video they made to accompany this was more entertaining!

Show More
hate to be a downer on this because Shepard and Slayton were genuine heroes, and I really wanted to like it, but it is what it is I'm afraid!
Show Less
LibraryThing member jfe16
In this revised edition of the 1994 book, astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton narrate the story of America’s space exploration from the time of the first suborbital flight until shortly after astronauts walked on the moon. Proclaimed “the ultimate inside story of the United States space
Show More
program” by veteran newscaster Walter Cronkite, this is the compelling, detailed account of what is widely considered the greatest feat of the twentieth century: landing man on the surface of another world.

Told only as those intimately involved with the program could tell it, this is an insider’s narrative of the history of America’s manned spaceflight program. In collaboration with veteran space reporter Jay Barbree, the two astronauts offer a unique look at NASA’s manned spaceflight program. Alan Shepard was the first American in space aboard Freedom 7 for a fifteen-minute Project Mercury suborbital flight; Deke Slayton was the last as a member of the crew for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. [The book ends with its look at the Apollo-Soyuz program in 1975; the first space shuttle flight in 1981 is some six years in the future. The Skylab space station program, which began in 1973, is not included here.]

Highly recommended.
Show Less
LibraryThing member DarthDeverell
Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton’s Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America’s Race to the Moon traces the history of American spaceflight from the earliest postwar experiments with captured German V-2 rockets through Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flights.
Show More
Shepard and Slayton worked with Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict, two journalists with experience writing about aerospace, in order to craft a narrative that both encompasses their lives and work as well as the activities driving spaceflight in the U.S. and Soviet Union, crosscutting between events as necessary to keep the reader apprised of the bigger picture that shaped Shepard and Slayton’s training and flights. Between Shepard and Slayton, the book encompasses an entire era of U.S. spaceflight and single-use rockets. Those familiar with Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff will find this a detailed narrative continuing the stories of two of the Mercury Seven.
Show Less
LibraryThing member kwskultety
Sort of boring, with flowery language that seems out of place at times. Did not finish; I have better things to do with my time.


½ (116 ratings; 3.9)
Page: 0.465 seconds