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In 1999, Andrew Smith was interviewing Charlie Duke, astronaut and moon walker, for the Sunday Times. During the course of the interview, which took place at Duke's Texan home, the telephone rang and Charlie left the room to answer it. When he returned, some twenty minutes later, he seemed visibly upset. It seemed that he'd just heard that, the previous day, one of his fellow moon walkers, the astronaut Pete Conrad, had died. The more Charlie spoke the more Andrew realised that his grief was something more than the mere fact of losing a friend. 'Now theres only nine of us,' he said. Only nine. Which meant that, one day not long from now, there would be none, and when that day came, no one on earth would have known the giddy thrill of gazing back at us from the surface of the moon. The thought shocked Andrew, and still does. Moondust is his attempt to understand why. The Apollo moon programme has been called the last optimistic act of the 20th Century. Over a strange three year period between 1969 and 1972, twelve men made the longest and most eccentric of all journeys, and all were indelibly marked by it. In Moondust Andrew sets out to interview all the remaining astronauts who walked on the moon, and to find out how their lives were changed for ever by what had happened. 'Where do you go after you've been to the moon?' In addition to this question that would prove hugely troubling to many of the returned astronauts, they also had to deal with the fantasies of faceless millions at their backs, for this was the first truly global media event. The walkers would forever be caught between the gravitational pull of the moon and the earth's collective dreaming.
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Andrew Smith is English although he was born in New York and lived in California until he was in his early teens. He watched the moon landings on TV in his home near San Francisco. He has written for the Melody Maker, the Face, the Sunday Times, and the Observer where he has written on the KLF, death row, Damien Hirst, Jeff Bezos, Bianca Jagger and much much more. He currently lives with his family in Norfolk.Review:
“Splendid!” (Arthur C. Clarke, author 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY )
“Moondust is an inspired idea, immaculately executed: witty, affectionate, completely captivating.” (WORD magazine )
“Highly entertaining...[Smith’s] superb book is a fitting tribute to a unique band of 20th-century heroes.” (GQ )
“Fascinating...We know what happened inside the Apollo, but what went on inside the astronauts’ minds? Extremely thought-provoking.” (J. G. Ballard, author of Empire of the Sun and Memories of the Space Age )
“[A] fascinating book... [Smith’s] humour is underpinned by a sense of extreme danger.” (Mail on Sunday, Book of the Week (four stars) )
“A rich mix of cultural history, reportage and personal reflection.” (Evening Standard )
“Forget flower power, the Beatles and Beach Boys...what made the 1960s an unforgettable decade was the conquest of space.” (The Guardian, Best Books of the Season )
“A crisply dramatic account.” (Sunday Telegraph )
“An extraordinary book...as profoundly as any work of philosophy.” (Uncut (UK), four stars )
“A wonderful collective biography written with deftness, compassion and humour.” (The Observer )
‘Utterly gripping. Smith is both sympathetic and bracingly unsentimental.” (Daily Mail (London) )
‘Enthralling...Smith is an ideal narrator: sharp-eyed yet increasingly affectionate about his subjects.” (Financial Times )
“Riveting...so vivid you can almost smell the suburban lawns.” (Time Out London )
“Spellbinding...a provocative meditation on lunar travel and humanity’s relation to space.” (Business Week )
“A wild ride swerving between then and now.” (Richmond Times Dispatch )
“Smith’s book succeeds...because he bungee-cords together so many intriguing digressions.” (New York Times )
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Book Description Bloomsbury, 2005. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M074757779X