The Last Man on the Moon

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9780312264581: The Last Man on the Moon

Eugene Cernan is a unique American who came of age as an astronaut during the most exciting and dangerous decade of spaceflight. His career spanned the entire Gemini and Apollo programs, from being the first person to spacewalk all the way around our world to the moment when he left man's last footprint on the Moon as commander of Apollo 17.

Between those two historic events lay more adventures than an ordinary person could imagine as Cernan repeatedly put his life, his family and everything he held dear on the altar of an obsessive desire. Written with New York Times bestselling author Don Davis, this is the astronaut story never before told - about the fear, love and sacrifice demanded of the few men who dared to reach beyond the heavens for the biggest prize of all - the Moon.

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That "Geno" Cernan was commander of Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, was a fitting conclusion to a flying career that included two previous stints in space (Gemini 9 and Apollo 10). His frank, earthy memoir of his years at NASA adds another entertaining, informative volume to the burgeoning shelf of books illuminating the inner workings of the space program and the people who made it happen. Coauthor Don Davis, a veteran journalist, helps Cernan craft a colloquial prose style that nicely captures the competitive, macho personality that seemed virtually mandatory for astronauts in the 1960s and '70s. Cernan candidly depicts the reckless streak that twice led to needless injuries jeopardizing his spot on a mission. He also acknowledges the stresses endured by his ex-spouse Barbara as she struggled to be the perfect astronaut wife--cheerful and uncomplaining for the cameras while he experienced all the fun and adventure of the job. And it sure was fun, as becomes clear in the exciting descriptions of his spacewalk from Gemini 9 and stroll around the moon from Apollo 17. Detailed accounts of each flight, including technical problems and personal tensions (particularly with Apollo 17 teammate Jack Schmitt, distrusted because he was a scientist, not a test pilot), remind readers that the space program is a human endeavor, with inevitable failures that make the triumphs that much sweeter. --Wendy Smith

From the Publisher:

"Gene Cernan chronicles his involvement in man's reach for the Moon with an intensity that matches the incredible excitement of that remarkable time." --Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon

"Gene Cernan's wild ride into history included a tortuous spacewalk devised,it seems, by Dante...with enough sacrifices and close calls to fill a lifetime." --Tom Hanks, star of Apollo 13 and producer of the HBO series From the Earth to the Moon

"Gene Cernan's The Last Man on the Moon rumbled off the launchpad and propelled me into a world of hope and triumph over tragedy. It's a high-powered read I won't soon forget." --Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

"With the feel of a story recalled among friends, this is an appealingly down-to-earth account from the last man to walk on the Moon. No advanced physics, no scientific mumbo jumbo, just a thoroughly engrossing recollection of Cernan's crucial role in the conquest of space. I loved the book." --Ron Howard, director of Apollo 13

"Gene Cernan shares the extra dimension beyond the usual who, what, when, where, and how of space flight. For those who would like to go and can't, this is a look into the real experience and feelings of space flight." --Senator John Glenn, first American to fly in orbit

"Gene Cernan has written a whale of a personal space tale, filled with firsts, lasts, and many thrills in between. This is a super story of the emotional highs and lows of our U.S. astronauts and their families when the supreme challenge was to reach the Moon and return alive. I promise you will not be able to put it down." --Donald D. Engen, director of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

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