This July 20th marks the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon, a defining moment of the 20th century. Relive the excitement of Neil Armstrong’s giant leap, or take a small step towards learning more about Apollo 11, with these books and movies.
Shoot for the Moon by Jim Donovan — Donovan impressively chronicles the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, culminating in Americans’ successful landing on the moon in July 1969.
American Moonshot by Douglas Brinkley — The award winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring challenge, and America’s race to the moon.
First Man by James Hansen — When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon’s surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. Based on over fifty hours of interviews with the intensely private Neil Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this is an unparalleled biography of an American icon.
Rocket Men: the Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon by Craig Nelson — Through interviews, twenty-three thousand pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA documents on the space race, Craig Nelson re-creates a vivid and detailed account of the Apollo 11 mission. From the quotidian to the scientific to the magical, readers are taken right into the cockpit with Aldrin and Armstrong and behind the scenes at Mission Control.
Apollo 11: the Moon Landing in Real Time by Ian Passingham — This engaging account brings the Apollo 11 mission back to life as never before in a thrilling day-by-day account, exploring everything from the historic flight itself to how the $24 billion space program divided a nation. Journey back in time and feel the excitement build in the days before launch and then experience the tension of the dramatic lunar landing and the relief of the crew’s safe return to Earth.
Apollo’s Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings by Roger D. Launius — In this page-turning history, Launius, former chief historian for NASA, investigates how “belief, knowledge, rational thought, and myth” have all shaped the legacy of NASA’s Apollo program in popular memory. The program, he reminds readers, was initially attacked from both sides of the political aisle for costs “greater than their worth,” but the successful missions to the moon between 1969 and 1972 established Apollo as an exemplar of American scientific accomplishment.
Chasing the Moon: the People, the Politics, and the Promise that Launched America into the Space Age by Robert Stone — Many books about the moon landing have focused on the heroes and the hardware—the astronauts who had the “right stuff” to undertake the lunar voyage and the spacecraft and rockets that transported them. In this tie-in to the eponymous American Experience® documentary airing on PBS, Stone and Andres take a look back at the origins of the moon quest through the lens of culture, politics, and innovation.
One Giant Leap: the Impossible Mission that Flew Us to the Moon by Charles Fishman — When John F. Kennedy made his famous proclamation in a May 1961 speech that “we choose to go to the moon,” the United States was completely unprepared to do so. NASA lacked the proper tools and equipment, did not know how to navigate to the moon, nor what to expect from its surface. The author illustrates how this incredible achievement was accomplished and challenges encountered along the way.
Moonbound by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm — Beginning with the tense, suspense-filled descent of the spidery Lunar Module, which transported Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the moon, this graphic novel offers a close-up view of the action. Then the story splits to an examination of the history of man’s fascination with space–from the earliest observers of the moon to the clear-eyed descriptions recorded by such visionaries as Galileo–and continues into the modern era.
Apollo 11 — From director Todd Douglas Miller comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, the film takes viewers straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission, the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names.
First Man — The riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, and based on the book by James R. Hansen, the film explores the triumphs and the cost on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues, and the nation itself of one of the most dangerous missions in history.”
American Experience: Chasing the Moon — Chasing the Moon reimagines the race to the moon for a new generation, upending much of the mythology surrounding the effort. Originally broadcast as a three-part television program on PBS in 2019, the series recasts the Space Age as scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama. Utilizing overlooked and lost archival material, the film features a cast of characters who played key roles in these historic events.
— Recommended by Ceil H., Collection Management Department Manager