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Last updated 2017-02-10

As a topic, space history and the Apollo program in particular are quite well represented in print and on the World Wide Web. Below is a list of books and web resources which either have been invaluable to us while compiling this journal, or have become worthwhile additions to the Apollo canon. The list is not exhaustive but a fuller list can be found on the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.


A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

Andrew Chaikin, Viking Penguin Inc., 1994. The best general read about the achievements of the Apollo program. Well balanced, well written and well researched.

Angle of Attack: Harrison Storms And The Race To The Moon

Michael Gray, W. W. Norton & Co., 1992. Originally conceived as a film script, this is a good read, though not necessarily a historical account of Harrison Storms, the North American Aviation manager who brought the Apollo spacecraft to the company.

Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime

Sy Liebergot with David M. Harland, Apogee Books, 2003. This was the first biography of the Apollo genre that featured a flight controller. Sy's position in space history was sintered in the crucible of the Apollo 13 explosion as it fell to him to make sense of the sparce information coming down from the newly crippled spacecraft. Unusually, this is a fuller biography than most Apollo accounts in that Sy tells a wide ranging story of his life and the book is better for it. Real rags to riches stuff.

Apollo Expeditions to the Moon

Edited by Edgar M. Cortright, NASA SP-350, 1975. Now an online document, compiled by Hans-Peter Engel, this is a collection of articles outlining the history of Apollo and written by senior managers of the Apollo program and by some of the Apollo astronauts.

The Apollo Spacecraft - A Chronology. (Four volumes)

NASA SP-4009. These four volumes are available online from the NASA History website. They are a detailed chronology covering the design and construction of the Apollo hardware. Volume I, edited by Ivan D. Eertel and Mary Louise Morse, was published in 1969 and covers up until November 7, 1962. Volume II, edited by Mary Louise Morse and Jean Kernahan Bays, was published in 1973 and covers the period November 8, 1962-September 30, 1964. Volume III, edited by Courtney G. Brooks and Ivan D. Ertel, also was published in 1973 and covers the period October 1, 1964-January 20, 1966. Volume IV, edited by Ivan D. Ertel and Roland W. Newkirk with Courtney G. Brooks, was published in 1978 and covers the period January 21, 1966-July 13, 1974.

Apollo: The Race to the Moon

Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox, Simon and Schuster, 1989. Unmissable by any student of Apollo, this is a deep though not comprehensive account of the development and success of Apollo as a human achievement. Instead it uses the technique of following a series of threads in detail to illustrate the human involvement in one of history's great megaprojects. It has a dual climax; first in the successful story of Apollo 11, then it peaks again with an utterly gripping account of Apollo 13's travails, showing why this perilous mission came to be known as NASA finest hour. The writers have recently re-published this book as "Apollo", and it comes very highly recommended.

Atlas of the Moon

Antonín Rükl, edited by Dr. T. W. Rackham, Kalmbach Books, 1990. As far as the near side of the Moon is concerned, this lovingly and skilfully crafted book is a gem. Rükl's painstaking maps have been my companion since I began the Apollo Flight Journal. My only wish is that it would have been extended properly to the far side. However, it is intended as an astronomer's book and its Earth-bound perspective fulfils its role beautifully. Includes good essays on the Moon's movements, surface and observation.

The Bell System Technical Journal

May-June 1972, Vol. 51, No. 5.

Carrying the Fire

Michael Collins; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1974. Collins came up with the best of all the astronaut biographies. Written without ghost help, it is honest, funny and glorious; and a must for all Apollo students.

Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft.

James M. Grimwood and Loyd S. Swenson, NASA SP-5205, 1978. This book can be accessed online. It is an excellent account of the gestation of the Apollo spacecraft; Command, Service and Lunar Modules.

Chariots for Apollo: The Untold Story Behind the Race to the Moon

Charles R. Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff, Avon Science, 1985. An entertaining book written in a good narrative style which concentrates on the procurement of the Lunar Module. Not to be confused with a book of the same name from the NASA History Series.


Frank Borman with Robert J. Serling, Silver Arrow Books/William Morrow, 1988. Borman is a no-nonsense, mission-oriented hard driver. This biography shows hoe he applied those attributes both to his pioneering role on Gemini 7 and Apollo 8, and then as president of Eastern Airlines. An illuminating read.


Donald K. Slayton with Michael Cassutt, Tom Doherty Associates Inc., 1994. It is very good that Deke Slayton got this book out of his system before he left us. Honest and to the point, it is an excellent antidote to his earlier flawed collaboration with Alan Shepard.

Exploring the Moon: The Apollo Expeditions

David M. Harland, Springer-Verlag/Praxis Publishing Ltd., 1999. Harland does what should have been done years ago. Mixing a narrative style with solid science, he takes the reader with the crews on their voyages of discovery and all the while informs. Excellent stuff. It is now in its second edition, rewritten, and most remarkable of all, very lavishly illustrated with the rich store of imagery from the missions, all reproduced in a large format and placed in context for the reader.

Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond

Gene Kranz, Simon & Schuster, 2000. Kranz was both hard-driving and inspirational as an Apollo Flight Director. He was in charge of mission control during the landing of Apollo 11 and when the Apollo 13 Service Module was ripped apart by an exploding oxygen tank. An excellent book, later editions included corrections garnered from a website that accompanied the book's release.

Flight: My Life in Mission Control

Chris Kraft, Dutton, 2001. Kraft defined the role of the omnipotent Flight Director and was a linch-pin of NASA's operational management. This good account is illuminating throughout.

Full Moon

Michael Light, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999. Unusual and astonishing. This reminds us that the Apollo crews took some of the best cameras in the world to record their explorations. Michael Light gained access to the master transparencies and negatives to produce this glorious imaginary journey to the Moon. After page upon page of stunning pictures, we get an explanation of them all and an essay from Andrew Chaikin. I had the pleasure of seeing them in April 2001 at the Rose Center For Earth and Space.

Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8

Robert Zimmerman, Dell Publishing, 1998. Robert takes a parallel track in this account of the first human expedition out of Earth's sphere of influence. On one hand, it is a well-researched description of the flight. Throughout, Robert weaves stories of contemporary world events that set the meaning of this flight in context.

Hello Earth: Greetings from Endeavour

Alfred M. Worden, Nash Publishing, 1974. Al Worden's post-mission reflections captured in a little book of poetry. Out of print now but an evocative expression of a flight to the Moon.

How Apollo Flew To The Moon

W. David Woods, Praxis/Springer, 2008. Okay, it's a bit of self publicity. This is my book and it sprang from all that I had learned about Apollo while writing and compiling the Apollo Flight Journal. It has been well received and I'll say no more except that I commend it to you.

The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration

Philip J. Stooke, Cambridge University Press, 2007. Stooke has put a lot of work into describing the various lunar sites that have been visited by humans, either robotically or in person.

The Last Man on the Moon

Eugene Cernan and Don Davis, St. Martin's Press, 1999. Cernan is the archetypal patriotic, can-do American astronaut. This book is above par in its type and his account of his EVA during Gemini IX is at once terrifying and gripping but he holds back somewhat on Apollo 17.

Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13

Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, Houghton Mifflin, 1994. Lovell's testimony of the harrowing events surrounding Apollo 13 was the foundation for Ron Howard's successful film, Apollo 13 starring Tom Hanks.

Lunar Impact: A History of Project Ranger

R. Cargill Hall, NASA SP-4210, 1977. NASA's account of the trials, tribulation and achievements of the ground-breaking Project Ranger. Now available online

Lunar Sourcebook: A User's Guide to the Moon

Edited by Grant H. Heiken, David T. Vaniman, and Bevan M. French, Cambridge University Press, 1991. A very comprehensive collection of just about all we know of the Moon as a physical body.

Men From Earth

Buzz Aldrin and Malcolm McConnell, Bantam Press, 1989. Aldrin mixes a history lesson on the American/Soviet race to the Moon with his own story of achievement culminating in Apollo 11.

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth

Andrew Smith, Bloomsbury, 2005. This is an unusual book in the Apollo canon, being an account by a journalist of his attempts to understand what Apollo meant by trying to meet up with the nine Moonwalkers who remain. Non-technical, very human story intended for a general readership, it is nevertheless to be recommended, despite some bloopers, to give the reader a wider cultural context for the Apollo story. later editions have addressed the technical issues that the first edition had.

Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module.

Thomas J. Kelly, Smithsonian, 2001. Tom Kelly was at the helm of the team at Grumman who were responsible for the extraordinary Lunar Module. His book is an enjoyable personal history of how he and his 7,000 co-workers brought their project to a successful conclusion, landing six times on the Moon, and on one occasion, saving the lives of three astronauts.


Charlie and Dotty Duke, Oliver Nelson, 1990. Mostly written by Dotty Duke, this is a very worthwhile astronaut biography. Split between Charlie's life as an astronaut and as a born-again Christian, it portrays the pressures endured by so many during the Apollo program.

Moonport: A History of Apollo Launch Facilities and Operations.

Charles D. Benson and William Barnaby Faherty, NASA SP-4204, 1978. This detailed history of the development of Kennedy Space Center through its construction and operation is available online.

On The Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini

Barton C. Hacker and James M. Grimwood, NASA SP-4203. Available online, this account of the Gemini program is important for tracing the development of those spaceflight techniques that were crucial to Apollo - particularly rendezvous and docking, from both a management and operational standpoint.

The Once and Future Moon

Paul D. Spudis, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996. Very readable and authoritative, Spudis picks up on lunar exploration in the generation after Apollo, and in this book, gives the reader a tremendous overview of our current knowledge.

The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Edward Clinton Ezell and Linda Neuman Ezell, NASA SP-4209, 1978. Available online, this is NASA's account of the first example of manned cooperation in space.

Stages to Saturn: A Technological History of the Apollo/Saturn Launch Vehicles

Roger E. Bilstein, NASA SP-4206, 1980. With greater technical detail than most other of the NASA History Series, this book describes the immense engineering challenges that went into the Saturn launch vehicles.

This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury.

Loyd S. Swenson Jr., James M. Grimwood, Charles C. Alexander; NASA SP-4201, 1966. This account of Project Mercury is available online.

To A Rocky Moon: A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration

Don E. Wilhelms, University of Arizona Press, 1993. Informative, entertaining and well written, Wilhelms helped train the crews and provides insight into what they found and its context, scientifically and politically. This book has been made available in downloadable PDF format, by permission of the University of Arizona Press, at the Lunar and Planetary Institute website.

Tracking Apollo to the Moon

Hamish Lindsay, Springer, 2001. Lavishly illustrated and well presented, this is a detailed telling of the Apollo flights from the point of view of a participant who helped man the Honeysuckle in Australia.

Two Sides of the Moon

David Scott & Alexei Leonov with Christine Toomey, Simon & Schuster, 2004. Scott and Leonov take an unusual line in this excellent dual astronaut biography. Toomey expertly weaves together parallel tales of courage, near-disaster, loss and achievement. These two Cold Warriors have astonishing tales to tell and this book lets them speak.

Virtual Apollo

Virtual LM

Scott P. Sullivan, Apogee Books, 2002. The Apollo spacecraft were among the most complex devices of their time and it can be difficult to visualise how so much equipment could be squeezed into a very small space. In these two volumes, Scott has brought 3D modelling technology to help us all come to know these exquisite machines. Some small errors in the visualisations should not detract from the overall usefulness of these images.

The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds

Dr. Edgar Mitchell with Dwight Williams, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1996. This is two books in one. It usefully relates Mitchell's Apollo 14 experience and recounts his search for a reconciliation between science and the mystical.

We Have Capture: Tom Stafford and the Space Race

Tom Stafford with Michael Cassutt, Smithsonian, 2002. Stafford took on important roles during Gemini and Apollo, both in flight and management, all related in this biography.

Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of Apollo Lunar Exploration Missions

William David Compton, NASA SP-4214, 1989. Rather than detailing the lunar exploration itself, this book primarily studies how various exploration issues developed from conception to execution. Available online.

Web sites

Apollo by the Numbers. is a statistical reference on all the Apollo missions.

Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.

Biomedical Results of Apollo

Exploring the Moon: Apollo Missions

Kipp Teague's "Project Apollo Archive"

Papertrainer publish stunning colour posters of the instrument panel of Apollo 13's Command Module Odyssey.

Welcome to the NSSDC!

Honeysuckle Creek website maintained by Colin MacKellar in Australia

General Apollo Documentation


A great many documents on NASA's spaceflight work have become available in recent years. Bob Andrepont has to be highly commended for lovingly compiling a website that catalogued what is available and provided links to them. Recently this site has gone down but hopefully will be reinstated soon. You can spend a lot of time and much storage space acquiring these documents. Then you will be reading for the rest of your life. Kudos to Bob. Awesome.
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