July 20, 1969, marked one of the climactic moments in our history?the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon. But it is only one piece of a magnificent story. Mission Control, This Is Apollo, by the acclaimed Andrew Chaikin (author of A Man on the Moon, basis of the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon), recounts space history from the Mercury missions through Apollo 17 and beyond. It is illustrated with stunning full-color paintings by astronaut Alan Bean, who walked on the moon with Pete Conrad on Apollo 12 and has devoted his post-NASA life to creating art. Handsome, informative, and dramatic, this is no textbook?it is the tale of humankind?s greatest adventure in the last frontier: space.
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Andrew Chaikin is the author of the acclaimed A Man on the Moon and several other books about space. He is a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition and had appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation.From School Library Journal:
Starred Review. Grade 5–8—Along with being based at least as much on personal interviews as on documentary and other sources, this album-sized history of the Apollo missions is also set apart by its unique illustrations. A former astronaut who walked on the Moon as part of the Apollo 12 crew, Bean has been for many years a full-time fine artist. He incorporates into moonscapes, spacecraft, and suited-up astronauts done over the course of his artistic career not only an unusually personal perspective, but also actual bits of moon dust, used mission patches, and other well-traveled memorabilia. He also provides illuminating, sometimes eloquent commentary in captions and a closing statement. Though the authors present an uncomplicated version of events with almost no discussion of the exclusion of women from the astronaut corps, for instance, and quoting Neil Armstrong's famous line as "one small step for a man" rather than what he actually said, they do tuck in memorable anecdotes (to the question "What's the most beautiful thing you saw in space?" an astronaut replies, "Urine dump at sunset"). They effectively highlight the Apollo program's magnificent achievements, as well as its moments of tension and tragedy. Supplemented with an admixture of photos and labeled diagrams, the large-scale art adds a dazzling visual element to this grand commemoration.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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