Mission Control, This Is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon - Andrew Chaikin and Alan Bean 

This July marks the 40th anniversary of mankind's one giant leap, when Neil Armstrong planted his feet on the surface of the moon. That historic moment "? and all the others of the NASA Apollo missions from the ill-fated first to the bittersweet last "? is discussed in the exquisite "Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon ," by Andrew Chaikin, who also wrote the book that became the award-winning HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon."

From historical perspective to addressing the problem of pooping in space, "Mission Control" is a special book, made all the more special by the accompanying paintings of Alan Bean, Apollo 12 astronaut. They're not merely here for show or novelty; he's phenomenally talented with the brush. Ostensibly, this is a "children's book" "? it's heavily illustrated, the type is large, and the writing matter-of-fact "? but to call it that is somewhat of a disservice. The middle-aged man I am was turned into a kid again absorbing its every page. Viking"?Rod Lott

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