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Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11 Paperback – March 24, 2020
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"If you're looking for telling of the manned space program's story, you should start with James Donovan's Shoot for the Moon."―NPR
"Donovan's narrative is a well-crafted one...one of the best in print."―Science Magazine
"Vividly readable"―Christian Science Monitor
"Donovan combines his masterful research skills and narrative gifts in recounting the full story of the most famous Apollo trip...Donovan's history is a powerfully written and irresistible celebration of the Apollo missions."―Booklist (starred review)
"Exceptionally researched, this exciting, sometimes harrowing book highlights the work not only of the pioneering astronauts but also of thousands of technicians and engineers. This is a perfect volume to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing and all that led up to it."― Publishers Weekly (starred)
"This account reads like an adventure story."―The Columbus Dispatch
"Donovan's account of Apollo 11 is a breath-stopping page-turner."― Michael Barnes, Austin-American Statesman
"Shoot for the Moon is a gripping account of the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that came before it."―BookPeople
"Its breadth and detail will give you a new appreciation for just how complex and dangerous this mission was. You'll come away marveling that, against all odds, we put people on the motherf**in' moon!"―Austin Chronicle
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The sad part is that a magnificent story, well researched, gets muddled by the author and editor. Donovan has an interesting and sometimes odd way of describing things. It sometimes lacks polish. The more difficult problem is his constant use of run-on sentences. Sentences that run on for 5-7 lines of text are common. I do not think he is familiar with the use of a semicolon. One sentence covered ten lines of text. It had multiple parenthetical phrases separated, at times, by commas and at other times by dashes. You have to reread them and, even then, I was not sure the author intended the comment to be positive or negative. It creates a lot of ambiguity that a good editing could have corrected. There is a caption under a photo that reads “Aldrin takes the first step onto the moon’s surface.” Now unless you think the event occurred on a Disney sound stage, you know that Armstrong was the photographer. It should have said “Aldrin takes his first step onto the moon’s surface.” Donavan had gone into some detail about Armstrong got to be first. Why would you create an ambiguity now?
There is a good bit of discussion about NASA being a civilian and not a military program. Of course, we all know that NASA has had its share of military programs. Throughout the book army, navy and air force are not capitalized. In fact, they do not even merit a slot in the index. Given the patriotic nature of the event, I would have capitalized Army, Navy and Air Force and not treat them as common nouns.
It is a shame that a lack of editing got in the way of a good story. Maybe the publisher will see the wisdom of hiring a good proofreader and editor. Then, they would have a four or five star book.
Top international reviews
Very well researched and so well written to keep the reader turning pages.