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Goodbye Moon

Andrew O’Hagan: Me and the Moon

25 February 2010
The Book of the Moon 
by Rick Stroud.
Doubleday, 368 pp., £16.99, May 2009, 978 0 385 61386 6
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Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon 
by Craig Nelson.
John Murray, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2009, 978 0 7195 6948 7
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Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon 
by Buzz Aldrin and Ken Abraham.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £16.99, July 2009, 978 1 4088 0402 5
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... be, a thing of the imagination. Of all the books, and all the poems,* perhaps the strongest on this point, this natural downscaling of cosmic awe to the level of everyday worries, is to be found in BuzzAldrin’s memoir, Magnificent Desolation. Aldrin was different from the other astronauts. He was a data-wonk, as they all are, and a technical boffin, but he was much larkier than the others and ...

What did you expect?

Steven Shapin: The banality of moon-talk

1 September 2005
Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth 
by Andrew Smith.
Bloomsbury, 308 pp., £17.99, April 2005, 0 7475 6368 3
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... Goodbye spoony Juney Moon’): the men are unworthy of the Moon. Opening in January 1972 at the Old Vic, Jumpers came two and a half years after the Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and BuzzAldrin became the first men on the Moon and less than a year before the Apollo 17 astronauts Jack Schmitt and Gene Cernan became the last. Between July 1969 and December 1972, 21 astronauts left on Apollo ...

In for the Kill

Inigo Thomas: Photographing Cricket

16 August 2017
... he got a job at Which? magazine, where he says he ‘tested’ red wine. But photography was always the aim. In 1969 he photographed the images on his black and white television as Neil Armstrong and BuzzAldrin walked on the moon. Motion in space is always slow motion, so a photographer looking on had more time to think about the action, such as it was. ‘Always been interested in astronomy and ...

The Most Beautiful Icicle

Inigo Thomas: Apollo 11

15 August 2019
Reaching for the Moon: A Short History of the Space Race 
by Roger D. Launius.
Yale, 256 pp., £20, July, 978 0 300 23046 8
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The Moon: A History for the Future 
by Oliver Morton.
Economist Books, 334 pp., £20, May, 978 1 78816 254 8
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... In​ Neil Armstrong’s photograph of BuzzAldrin standing on the moon, taken with a camera strapped to his chest, Aldrin stands at ease, his right arm hanging loosely at his side, the left raised as if he’s about to do something – look at his watch, perhaps? The photograph was taken fifty years ago, on 20 July 1969 ...

Cosmic!

Tim Radford: Yuri and the Astronauts

5 March 1998
Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon 
by James Harford.
Wiley, 392 pp., £24.95, June 1997, 0 471 14853 9
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Countdown: A History of Space Flight 
by T.A. Heppenheimer.
Wiley, 398 pp., £24.95, June 1997, 0 471 14439 8
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Something New under the Sun: Satellites and the Beginning of the Space Age 
by Helen Gavaghan.
Copernicus, 300 pp., £15, December 1997, 0 387 94914 3
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Space and the American Imagination 
by Howard McCurdy.
Smithsonian, 294 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 1 56098 764 2
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... see a manned mission to Mars. There is also the recent proposal for spaceship ‘cyclers’ in permanent orbit between the Earth and Mars, like ships sailing the trade winds. Dotty? The proposer was BuzzAldrin, the second man to step on the Moon. All these books have valuable things in them. But the most interesting recent account of the epic journey from wonder to astonishment by way of evil was ...

Full of Hell

Fatema Ahmed: James Salter

5 February 2004
Cassada 
by James Salter.
Harvill, 208 pp., £10.99, August 2003, 1 86046 925 6
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Light Years 
by James Salter.
Vintage, 320 pp., £6.99, August 2003, 0 09 945022 4
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... of our time, the one called celebrity.’ Coming from a writer who is so reticent in other respects, these confessions of envy and inadequacy are astonishingly candid. He had also flown with BuzzAldrin, one of the ‘three white-clad men who were preparing my annihilation’. During the first moon landing, Salter was in a New York hotel room having sex with his Italian mistress; the television was ...

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