Author Topic: Seeking Suggestions  (Read 4880 times)

Offline Noldi400

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Seeking Suggestions
« on: July 20, 2012, 03:19:33 PM »
Well, my daughter gave me an Amazon gift certificate for my b-day and, as is my wont, I plan to invest in a couple books.

This may or may not be the appropriate place to ask, but I'm seeking recommendations for Apollo related books. My preference runs toward personal accounts by the astronauts themselves or related personnel. I've read Lost Moon and Failure Is Not An Option. Would Carrying The Fire be a good choice?

Anyway, suggestions?
"The sane understand that human beings are incapable of sustaining conspiracies on a grand scale, because some of our most defining qualities as a species are... a tendency to panic, and an inability to keep our mouths shut." - Dean Koontz

Offline Laurel

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 03:30:10 PM »
I found Carrying The Fire to be excellent. If you like detailed and entertaining personal accounts from astronauts, I'm sure you would enjoy it too.
"Well, my feet they finally took root in the earth, but I got me a nice little place in the stars, and I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car..."
Bruce Springsteen

Offline theteacher

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 05:19:46 PM »
Well, my daughter gave me an Amazon gift certificate for my b-day and, as is my wont, I plan to invest in a couple books.

This may or may not be the appropriate place to ask, but I'm seeking recommendations for Apollo related books. My preference runs toward personal accounts by the astronauts themselves or related personnel. I've read Lost Moon and Failure Is Not An Option. Would Carrying The Fire be a good choice?

Anyway, suggestions?

Definitely "Carrying the Fire". I'd also recommend "The Last Man on the Moon" if you haven't read it yet.

Offline Echnaton

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 05:25:26 PM »
Last Man on the Moon would also be a good choice as would Two Sides of the Moon by Dave Scott and Alexei Leonov.  But before you blow your certificate on a new copy check your local used book store.  That is where I got mine. 

If you want to get a non-personal history of the Gemini program, try How NASA learned to Fly in Space
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Glom

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 05:50:27 PM »
There's also Full Moon if you want something special.

Offline ka9q

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 06:43:32 PM »
Carrying The Fire should be high on anyone's list of Apollo books. Beyond that it depends on what your specific interests are. Mine tend towards the technical, but not everyone's does.

Offline Noldi400

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 08:09:03 PM »
I tend more toward personal accounts, but that's no big surprise, I guess. Health care vs engineering might be a clue.  ;)
Quote
But before you blow your certificate on a new copy check your local used book store.
Oh, yeah, I always go used if possible. Even buying blind, I've seldom been disappointed.

I'll tell you what though - I'd have given up a large chunk of my book collection for a videotape of Bart Sibrel confronting Pete Conrad. Pete would have singed every hair off his head and the blue glow would have been visible for miles. Better make that a DVD. I'd wear out a tape.
"The sane understand that human beings are incapable of sustaining conspiracies on a grand scale, because some of our most defining qualities as a species are... a tendency to panic, and an inability to keep our mouths shut." - Dean Koontz

Offline ka9q

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 08:49:46 PM »
I'd have given up a large chunk of my book collection for a videotape of Bart Sibrel confronting Pete Conrad.
I have never mourned a late astronaut as much as at this very moment...you are absolutely right, it would have been an epic event.

Something tells me that Pete would have handled it differently than Buzz did. He wouldn't have used his fists; he'd have used his mouth, and the effect on Sibrel would have been considerably more devastating.

Speaking of verbal rejoinders to Bart Sibrel, there's a good one from Neil Armstrong: "Knowing you, Mr. Sibrel, that's probably not a real Bible". Neil isn't an outspoken person, but once in a while he comes up with a verbal gem.



« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 08:52:01 PM by ka9q »

Offline ka9q

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 09:00:36 PM »
I tend more toward personal accounts, but that's no big surprise, I guess. Health care vs engineering might be a clue.  ;)
Collins' book is universally highly rated. He has a self deprecating style that is very unusual among astronauts, especially in contrast with Buzz Aldrin. He's also got a wicked sense of humor. I especially liked his account of an exchange they had right before the trans-earth injection burn when they all got suddenly concerned about whether they were off 180 degrees in their burn attitude. ("There's only one really bad mistake you can make here.")

I actually related to this because I'd worked on the planning of a burn for a small satellite and I was worried about flipping a sign somewhere and doing it backwards. At least I would have survived even if my satellite didn't.



Offline Chew

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 11:02:39 PM »
Since it's the 43rd anniversary of the first Moon landing you must pick something related to Apollo 11.

Offline Noldi400

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2012, 02:05:39 AM »
Quote
Something tells me that Pete would have handled it differently than Buzz did. He wouldn't have used his fists; he'd have used his mouth, and the effect on Sibrel would have been considerably more devastating.
Oh, definitely. He would have, as my mother used to say, "called him everything but a white boy".

I think I'll definitely go for the Collins book. Now I just have to see how much that one is and what I can get to go with it.

 ??? Carrying The Fire? Isn't that the one with the faked pic on the cover?
 >:( You stupid *&!!(*$#^&
:-X
"The sane understand that human beings are incapable of sustaining conspiracies on a grand scale, because some of our most defining qualities as a species are... a tendency to panic, and an inability to keep our mouths shut." - Dean Koontz

Offline Inanimate Carbon Rod

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2012, 07:02:58 AM »
I can recommend "Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module", by Thomas Kelly.A fascinating book!

http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Lander-Developed-Apollo-Module/dp/156098998X
Formerly Supermeerkat. Like you care.

Offline Noldi400

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2012, 11:42:07 AM »
Thanks, everyone. I went with "Carrying The Fire" and "Last Man". Bookends, so to speak.
"The sane understand that human beings are incapable of sustaining conspiracies on a grand scale, because some of our most defining qualities as a species are... a tendency to panic, and an inability to keep our mouths shut." - Dean Koontz

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2012, 02:37:02 AM »
For personal accounts, I also recommend "Falling to Earth" by Al Worden, or "We Have Capture" by Tom Stafford.

Otherwise "How Apollo Flew to the Moon" (second edition) by David Woods is outstanding.

Offline ka9q

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Re: Seeking Suggestions
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2012, 03:02:42 AM »
Otherwise "How Apollo Flew to the Moon" (second edition) by David Woods is outstanding.
Yes, it is outstanding -- to me and to others who are very technically oriented and want to know all the arcane details. In the same category (though much older) I can recommend "The History of Manned Space Flight" by David Baker. It's big, thick and very comprehensive. It starts with Mercury and Gemini and continues through Apollo, Skylab and ASTP, interleaved with as much on the Soviet manned space program as he could find in the mid 1980s before the fall of the USSR. Baker wrote an earlier companion volume called "The Rocket". It covers sounding rockets and ballistic missiles as well as space launch vehicles since they have common origins.

These books might not for those who are primarily into the human interest aspects, but for tekkies they're at the top of my list.

For those into specific aspects of space technology, especially computing, several good books have come out in recent years. The most noteworthy is Digital Apollo by David A Mindell, an excellent look at the development of the Apollo guidance and navigation systems. There is a lot of good material on the design of pilot-machine interfaces and the classic tensions between the engineers who wanted to automate everything and the astronauts who wanted to fly by the seat of their pants, often to an unrealistic degree. Did you know that most manned launches give the astronauts the ability to take over manual control during launch? It's never been invoked, nor do I think it likely that it would work, but the capability was there even on the Shuttle.

There's a period cartoon in Digital Apollo that sums it all up. One shows a command module barren of everything but three very bored-looking astronauts, one of whom contemplates the only piece of equipment in the cabin: a large "ABORT" button. The other shows a command module crammed with equipment, knobs, switches, dials and meters, with three harried astronauts busily poring over printouts that are floating everywhere.


« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 03:15:50 AM by ka9q »