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Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  2,202 Ratings  ·  315 Reviews
In August 1968, one short year after three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, NASA decided that it would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Sixteen weeks later, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were aboard the first manned spacecraft to depart Earth’s orbit, reach the moon, and return safely to Earth, delivering a tear-inducing Christmas ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 16th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was so interesting, previously my knowledge about space travel was limited to knowing the we did reach the moon but not much else...which is funny seeing how much i like science fiction..but this book is the real deal...Apollo 8 was not the mission that would get to the moon but it would be the first mission that will orbit the moon while manned by three astronauts , this was an extreme important feat before NASA could hope to send men to land in the moon, that privilege would fall to ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I admit I was space crazy as a girl, and forty-nine years later I am still thrilled when reading about the time 'when dreams came true' and men first went into space.

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger didn't disappoint. Although Apollo 8 doesn't have the inherent drama of the Apollo 13 mission, which Kluger and Lovett wrote about, the narrative is engrossing and riveting.

NASA badly needed a success after the deaths of astronauts Grissom, White, and
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding account of the Apollo 8 mission to orbit the moon. Extremely well-written and captures the intensity and emotion of the times.

Highly recommended!
Lara (Bookish_turtle)
This was a really well-written account of the Apollo 8 mission, offering lots of insight into it's significance, preparation, people involved and the journey as a whole. I would highly recommend it to anybody interested in space exploration.
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Very well written pop history. Kluger also co-write Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 with Astronaut Jim Lovell that the movie Apollo 13 is based on. He is a clear fan of the space program and that shows through in this book. There is very little here NASA's public relations office would disapprove of.

It is a straight ahead history of the December 1968 mission of Apollo 8, focusing primarily on Frank Borman, commander of the mission, with a somewhat lesser focus on the other crew me
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, own
Outstanding. If you read this be sure to go online and watch the liftoff of Apollo 8 and the coverage of the mission. A great bit of history.
Daniel Chaikin
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Apollo 8 was the first manned flight to orbit the moon, famous for the Earthrise photo above. For me this was a random audio selection that I was afraid might be boring and predictable and that opened up that way, almost. Honestly, the word "thrilling" in the title was enough to make me suspicious. But it was freely available from my library on audio and worth a try.

Kluger won me over completely. I was a bit interested and then really interested and then maybe even caught some of the excitement
Kristīne Līcis
Superbly written account of an often-overlooked, but historic first lunar orbit. The author has done a remarkable job of placing the NASA efforts to reach Moon against the backdrop of international and domestic situation, when "It was the boiling summer of 1968, and the world had spent much of the year bleeding from countless wounds: multiple wars, serial assassinations, riots and unrest from Washington to Prague to Paris to Southeast Asia /../ while American boys died in Vietnam at a rate of mo ...more
Vincent Tsao
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Before reading this book, I assumed all the thrilling space-related stories were already well-known. I was wrong.

Apollo 8 not only details the actual three days of the mission, but also the ups-and-downs and ins-and-outs of the entire US space program leading up to the eventual lunar loop made by the Apollo 8 mission. I finished the book with a renewed awe of the unbridled ingenuity, sheer willpower, and lockstep teamwork required to accomplish one of mankind's greatest achievements. I specifica
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is I love space and I picked up this book for that reason alone. Not until I was finished did I learn that Jefferey Kluger also wrote Apollo 13, I movie I loved watching when I was little (note to self: check to see if it's on Netflix).

This is the story of the first manned flight to the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were absolute rock stars, but time has faded the memory of their names and replaced them with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. A small histo
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very engaging book about the early Apollo missions, focusing on Frank Borman, the commander of Apollo 8. I learned a lot about the missions - in many ways number 8 may have been as important as number 11. A must read for "space nerds".
Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon is by Jeffrey Kluger, veteran reporter from Time magazine. This is his second book about the Apollo program. His earlier book was Lost Moon (aka Apollo 13), where he was co-writer with Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell.

Lost Moon may be credited first to Lovell, but I believe Kluger was the primary writer of that book. No disrespect to Lovell, but the book has the hallmarks of a seasoned journalist. The writing is exceptional, and the mi
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Originally published at Reading Reality

Anyone who has lived in Chicagoland knows that while expressways may be designated official numbers from the DOT, no one ever calls them by those numbers. Highways in Chicagoland have names; the Ryan, the Kennedy, the Ike. And if you travel through Northwest Indiana, the Borman.

The Borman is named for Frank Borman, the native Hoosier who was one of the first three people to see the far side of the moon with his own eyes, up close and personal. Frank Borman
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

First of all it wasn’t exactly what I expected. From the title and the blurb I thought this would be a book about the Apollo 8 mission. It is of course. But it takes a long time until it gets there.
It’s more about everything that happened with the Space Program from the formation of NACA (and later NASA) through the Apollo 8 mission.
This ended up being a good thing. Because these were exciting times when we hadn’t even been in earth orbit but in no time dreamt up going to the moon.

Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. (Unfortunately, life's bad timing meant that by the time I was finally old enough to be one, we didn't have space shuttles any more. Life can be cruel.) Since then, I have tried to read just about every history, memoir, or other book about NASA's space programs. I used to write to NASA and ask them to send me information, and would spend hours reading mission profiles. (This was before the Internet, back when you either had to have a bo ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book, but it fell short of my expectations given the subject and the author. I liked it and it is probably a good Apollo 8 history for most readers, but for true space geeks (like me) it may disappoint. I really, really enjoyed Jeffery Kluger and Jim Lovell's "Lost Moon" (later renamed Apollo 13 and the basis for the Ron Howard-directed film) because it brought new insight into the Apollo 13 accident and efforts by mission control and the families of the crew. "Apoll ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’ve already read Kluger’s Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, and I’m a pretty big space nerd. If the space program or the science behind it does not interest you, the book probably won’t, either.

The first half of the book follows the events leading up to the launch of Apollo 8. It particularly follows the biography Frank Borman, the mission leader, and the general progress of the space program. The second half was the mission itself. This was the first time human eye saw the whole ear
4.75 stars

"The custard is in the oven at 350 ."

This was a code phrase between Frank Borman and his wife Susan, to signify that she and the family would hold together just fine while he embarked on his dangerous assignments --including the first ever circumnavigation of the moon. This is the kind of small human detail that Jeffery Kluger wisely includes in this account of science, adventure, and achievement. I think anyone with a remote interest in the history of space exploration would love thi
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2017, space
I have watched From Earth to the Moon so many times that there wasn't much new information here but still quite nice story.
Stuart David
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was only in third grade, at the time, but I vividly remember the exploits of "Borman, Lovell, and Anders".
And, of course, I had a model of a Saturn V rocket in my bedroom!
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story - told very well. 1968 was a challenging year in the US and having it end with the Apollo mission was an amazing finale for the year.
Chris Chester
A faithful and fairly by-the-book recap of man's first mission to (orbit) the moon.

If you're familiar with anything else even remotely in the same vein, whether The Right Stuff or the myriad of media about Apolloi 11 or Apollo 13, you pretty much know the script. Stoic military guys in exceptional circumstances tackle incredible and unprecedented engineering challenges and (for the most part) succeed.

What has always drawn me to this type of story is the romance of it all. A story like this gives
Joe Topham
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A truly riveting story of NASA’s greatest gamble, this is among the best books I have read in recent years. Kluger takes you into the United States space program, and all the trials and tribulations, especially those coming after the Mercury project, as NASA engineers threw themselves into fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s promise of reaching the moon before the end of the decade.

We learn of the political turmoil surrounding the program, the wider world that seemed to be ablaze that year,
Aimee Kearns
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It tells about all of the players in the story of Apollo 8, along with others who were a part of the space program at that time. Read this book in a couple of days.
Brian Moeller
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jumped right into training then backpedaled out to backstory so it started slow, but really picked up about 1/4th of the way through as it got back to it. A great story of a mission I knew absolutely nothing about and the author did a great job painting it against the backdrop of the late 60s.
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger is a non-fiction book which tells the tale of this famous and historical mission to the moon and back. Mr. Kluger is a senior writer at Time and wrote several about the space program.

This might be non-fiction, but the author makes this book read as if it is a novel – and an exciting, well written one at that. The author makes the story of the Apollo 8 mission not only personal, but also relevant and fresh.

I’ve read
A very thrilling story, indeed! Following the disastrous Apollo 1 fire in January 1967, where three astronauts died when a fire erupted in their cabin, the American space program was determined to SAFELY beat the Soviet Union in the 'space race' to the moon. In December 1968, Apollo 8 became the first manned spacecraft to successfully leave Earth's orbit, establish orbit with the moon (it orbited the moon 10 times), then return SAFELY to earth. (Apollo 11 was the first flight to LAND on the moon ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Apollo 8 by Jeffrey Kluger is a story about the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. The story centers mostly on the three astronauts who served as the Apollo 8 crew: Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, but also covers their families and the NASA technicians and engineers who made the historic journey possible. It is a bit sobering to read about the greatest minds of a generation gathering to develop 36-story, liquid-fueled, thermodynamically-propelled rockets designed to launch huma ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Apollo 8 is the exhilarating tale of that momentous first mission to the moon and all that led up to it. It traces through relevant histories for each of the three astronauts, including their previous trips to space during the Gemini missions. It also contains information about the successes and failures of the Gemini and previous Apollo missions, the knowledge of which went into designing and planning for subsequent missions.

Kluger must have meticulously researched the material for this book, f
Lisa Hunt
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars for this one. I am so not a science-y person, but for some reason the early Astronaut program is so intriguing to me. I think it's a combination of the time period along with the idea of something so big and exciting that the entire world was wrapped up in. This (obviously) focuses on the Apollo 8 mission, the first mission to the moon - orbiting it, not landing on it. There is a fair bit of backstory working up to it that was interesting. The author spends time on the families and NAS ...more
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Tomorrow 3 pm ET NEW #podcast on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show: 1 4 May 23, 2017 04:29PM  
Space Exploration...: "Apollo 8" Jeffrey Kluger 1 10 May 16, 2017 07:28PM  
Jeffrey Kluger is a senior writer for TIME. He joined TIME as a contributor in 1996, and was named a senior writer in 1998. He has written a number of cover stories, including reports on the connection between sex and health, the Mars Pathfinder landing, the loss of the shuttle Columbia, and the collision aboard the Mir space station.

In 2002, Mr. Kluger along with two other colleagues, won First P
More about Jeffrey Kluger
“Commenting on the crew’s Christmas Eve reading from Genesis, he looked down at the justices of the Supreme Court—a court barely seven years removed from having ruled prayer in the classroom unconstitutional—and said, “But now that I see the gentlemen in the front row, I’m not sure we should have read from the Bible at all.” 0 likes
“So the first-man-on-the-moon profiles of Stafford were shelved, to be replaced by stories about Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong—and those were the stories that ultimately ran.” 0 likes
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