bok_rev_brunet - Gautier Brunet Book review Apollo, The...

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Gautier Brunet Book review “Apollo, The Race to the Moon” by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox. “Apollo, The Race to the Moon” describes the contributions to the success of Poject Apollo of managers and engineers, “the human story of an epic achievement”. Based on a variety of interviews, the book relates the story of Apollo, from the creation of the Space Task Group in 1959 to Apollo 17 in 1972. The managerial and engineering obstacles and controversies are thoroughly depicted. The book is devided in three separate parts. The first one explains how the project came to be and the management and recruitment procedures that came to play. Once the structure is in place the book describes the design and development of subsystems, mainly the command module and the boosters, and the engineering decisions that needed to be made like the famous LOR decision. The last part concentrates on activities in the Mision Operations Control Room and the handling of the various crisis that occured during the fourteen last flights. Critical examination – Don’t just report what the book says; don’t take what you read at face value. What is the argument of the book? Why did the author choose to make it this way? Who is the author? “Apollo, The Race to the Moon” is globally a very balanced account of what happened during the project. A number of primary sources were used, opinions of stakeholders are always mentioned as being the point of view of a person or group. The authors are two historians and writers that did not take part in any way in the project, and who therefore do not have any interest in embelishing a certain aspect of it. The authors actually spend a few pages at the end of the book - “Apollo as History” - explaining their approach to telling an exciting but true story. “Writing definitive history is a solemn undertaking and Apollo was not. Our objective has been to tell stories about how an epic triumph was achieved – true stories, but stories rather than analysis.” “Apollo, The Race to the Moon” is indeed a story. The actual characters are described, not just their function in the organisation or how well they did their job. They reappear in the story like in a novel. For that reason, and because one cannot
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bok_rev_brunet - Gautier Brunet Book review Apollo, The...

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