First Man

First Man

The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

Book - 2005
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On July 20, 1969, the world stood still to watch 38-year-old American astronaut Neil A. Armstrong become the first person ever to step on the surface of another heavenly body. Upon his return to Earth, Armstrong was celebrated for his monumental achievement. He was also--as NASA historian Hansen reveals in this authorized biography--misunderstood. Armstrong's accomplishments as an engineer, a test pilot, and an astronaut have long been a matter of record, but Hansen's access to private documents and unpublished sources and his interviews with more than 125 subjects (including more than fifty hours with Armstrong himself) yield the first in-depth analysis of this elusive, reluctant hero. Hansen recreates Armstrong's flying career, from his combat missions over North Korea to his transatmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to the first-ever docking in space. For a pilot who cared more about flying to the Moon than he did about walking on it, Hansen asserts, Armstrong's storied vocation exacted a dear personal toll, paid in kind by his wife and children.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c2005
ISBN: 9780743256315
074325631X
Branch Call Number: B ARM
Characteristics: xi, 769 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm

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m
MT60
Oct 23, 2012

I started reading this book within a week after Neil Armstrong died. The length concerned me at first, but I dug in. Author Hansen subjects the reader to tedious detail at times, but this makes for a more complete picture of the man. Reveals Armstrong to have been a thinker who also took decisive action; a brave combat and test pilot who also was a calm engineer. Also reveals him not to have been the recluse he was reputed to be. Very active as professor, head or board member of charitable organizations, civic leader, etc. Just did not make himself very accessible to the media.

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jmkrasner Feb 22, 2014

Somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million people, the largest crowd ever for a space launch, gathered at Florida’s Cape Kennedy in the days leading to Wednesday, July 16, 1969. Nearly a thousand policemen, state troopers, and waterborne state conservation patrolmen struggled through the previous night to keep an estimated 350,000 cars and boats flowing on the roads and waterways. One enterprising state auto inspector leased two miles of roadside from orange growers, charging two bucks a head for viewing privileges.

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