Although I have little interest in rockets or space travel, I chose to read Robert Kurson’s latest work of nonfiction because I thoroughly enjoyed Shadow Divers and Crashing Through. Rocket Men is the story of Apollo 8 which was launched in late December 1968. In order to beat the Russians and be the first country to have men circle the moon, Apollo 8 was hastily put together, and some experts felt the dangers outweighed the advantages. The reader learns about the three astronauts-Borman, Lovell and Anders-not only during the flight but from their birth to the present. Kurson also takes us into the lives of their families and what they did while the three men were off in space. Interspersed throughout Rocket Men are anecdotes about what was occurring in the world in 1968.
I liked this book more than I thought I would. Kurson’s prose is simple and straight forward, yet it manages to clearly evoke the dangers, turmoil and excitement before, during and after the flight of Apollo 8.