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Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

by Thimmesh, Catherine


Book Review     

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Publishers Weekly :

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Starred Review. This behind-the-scenes look at the first Apollo moon landing has the feel of a public television documentary in its breadth and detail. The book opens with several photographs of people huddled around TVs to view the event (one shows Italians watching a small set at an outdoor café). The author then delves into the back story of the organizations and hundreds of thousands of people who made the 1969 mission possible. Readers meet 24-year-old "computer whiz kid Jack Garman," who helped work through worrisome computer glitches during the Eagle's landing, as well as one of the seamstresses who sewed the spacesuits ("We didn't worry too much until the guys on the moon started jumping up and down. And that gave us a little bit of an eyebrow twitch"). The 16 chapter-like segments flow chronologically, from John F. Kennedy's 1961 speech to Apollo 11's splashdown. Thimmesh (Madame President) peppers her lengthy, fact-filled narrative with folksy adages (e.g., "Here they were, less than 500 feet from the moon, and just about plumb out of fuel"). The colloquialisms sometime seem at odds with the myriad of engineering acronyms and jargon. But the author maintains a conversational tone, and tackles and explains tough topics such as "cluster interference" in parachute deployment and a bit of the chemistry behind developing the astronauts' dramatic photographs, many of which illustrate the story. Even if the jargon gives readers pause, the little-known facts will keep their interest level high. Ages 9-up. (June)

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 5 Up–In infectiously hyperbolic prose that's liberally interspersed with quotes and accompanied by sheaves of period photos, Thimmesh retraces the course of the space mission that landed an actual man, on the actual Moon. It's an oft-told tale, but the author tells it from the point of view not of astronauts or general observers, but of some of the 17,000 behind-the-scenes workers at Kennedy Space Center, the 7500 Grumman employees who built the lunar module, the 500 designers and seamstresses who actually constructed the space suits, and other low-profile contributors who made the historic flight possible. Despite occasional contrast issues when the white-on-black text is printed over blown-up photographs, this dramatic account will mesmerize even readers already familiar with the event–and also leave them awed by the level of care and dedication it took to surmount so many daunting technological challenges. Drawn from personal interviews and oral histories as well as a wide array of published sources, this stirring, authoritative tribute to the collective effort that left ...footprints, crisp and clear, pressed purposefully and magnificently into the lunar dust belongs in every collection.–John Peters, New York Public Library

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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