Few readers of ROOM - The Space Journal will be unaware of the significance of 2019 in the realms of human spaceflight and it would be surprising if space book publishers were unprepared to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that first manned lunar landing. The fact that this one ‘got in early’ indicates the potential interest in producing a retrospective of what its subtitle calls “the Golden Age of Moon Explorers”.
It has also stolen a march on potential competition by offering something a bit different in terms of presentation. Rather than attempt to provide a comprehensive historical analysis, the author has summarised the era with a selection of carefully chosen photographs and quotations tied together by his own personal observations.
In covering the 24 men that went to the Moon, the book explains why they went; what they did; what they were thinking at the time; and how they decided to spend the rest of their lives. In eight chapters, it reviews what the lunar astronauts did before their Apollo assignments, how they were trained and some of what they did afterwards. It concludes with appendices, source materials and an index. Each astronaut gets a bio page with two photos and brief details of qualifications and experience.
The rest of the book is well illustrated with colour photographs, which offer a nice balance between the ‘stock shots’ and those less often seen (among them many from the author’s own collection).
In his introduction, he reports his surprise at the fact that there is no single photograph that shows all 24 astronauts who went to the Moon, and even more surprisingly that “no one even thought to take a group photo of the 12 men who walked on its surface”.