My favorite books about the Apollo missions to the moon

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author and science journalist with a passion for telling the stories of people involved in space exploration and astronomy. I’ve written over 6,000 articles, sharing the latest news from space. My two books: Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions, which shares little-known stories from the engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make the Apollo missions possible; and Incredible Stories From Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos shares compelling insights from over 35 NASA scientists and engineers, taking readers inside nine robotic missions that are exploring the solar system and beyond.


I wrote...

Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions

By Nancy Atkinson,

Book cover of Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions

What is my book about?

It shares the unique personal stories of over 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make the Apollo program possible. The eight years from President Kennedy's challenge in 1961 to the first moon landing in 1969 are filled with tales of the dedication and perseverance it took to overcome the challenges, hurdles and conflicts of doing things that had never been done before.

The stories are fun, heart-warming, and heart-breaking and provide a glimpse into the lives of some of the hundreds of thousands of people who made it possible to land humans on the moon. The book also includes a previously unpublished account of an almost fatal accident as the Apollo 11 astronauts returned from the moon.

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The books I picked & why

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

Nancy Atkinson Why did I love this book?

This is the quintessential book on the Apollo program and probably my favorite book of all time. Even though I was very young during the years when astronauts were landing on the moon, the excitement and historic nature of those missions stayed with me, leading me to my career as a space journalist.

Andrew Chaikin’s book let me re-live it. This is the most comprehensive look at the Apollo program, I call it the “Apollo Bible” because it tells the entire story of Apollo, with unique insights into this fascinating period of history. Chaikin was able to interview all the living astronauts and NASA officials who were part of the program, as well as many of the engineers who worked behind the scenes.

This provides an intimate and comprehensive look at Apollo. Magnificently written and a monumental book on space history.

Book cover of Apollo Remastered: The Ultimate Photographic Record

Nancy Atkinson Why did I love this book?

I’ve always wished I could have gone to the moon with the Apollo astronauts. This book is the next best thing!

Image restoration specialist Andy Saunders was able to get access to new digital scans of the original Apollo images, which have been stored in a frozen vault for decades, and with the latest technology and incredibly pain-staking work, has created the highest quality Apollo photographs ever produced. Under-exposed or over-exposed shots are now crystal clear, revealing new details and incredible views of the astronauts, the spacecraft, and the lunar surface.

I love the large, coffee-table-sized book, and it is a must-have for any space enthusiast, historian, or photographer. Simply stunning.

By Andy Saunders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Apollo Remastered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This definitive photographic book about the Apollo missions reveals hundreds of extraordinary, newly-restored, and all-new images from the NASA archives that provide a never-before-seen perspective on the Apollo endeavors more than 50 years after humankind first stepped foot on the moon. 

In Houston, Texas, there is a frozen vault that preserves the original NASA photographic film of the Apollo missions. For half a century, almost every image of the Moon landings publicly available was produced from a lower-quality copy of these frozen originals. Over the last few years, NASA image restorer Andy Saunders has been working hard. Taking newly available…


Book cover of Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys

Nancy Atkinson Why did I love this book?

This is one book I couldn’t put down. Even though Michael Collins might be considered one of the "forgotten” astronauts (as the lone astronaut from the seminal Apollo 11 mission who didn’t get to land on the moon), his book provides an amazing and amusing look at what it’s like to be an astronaut.

His conversational writing style is engaging, witty, and insightful, and I loved his self-deprecating humor. I classify this book as the best astronaut biography ever written and Collins as one of the most endearing icons in history.

By Michael Collins,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Carrying the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reissued with a new preface by the author on the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon

The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events―technical and spiritual―of our lifetime.

In Carrying the Fire, Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of that adventure. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the…


Book cover of Apollo: The Race to the Moon

Nancy Atkinson Why did I love this book?

I love behind-the-scenes stories, and this book excels in that department! Apollo: The Race to the Moon shares everything from the political workings of Apollo to the NASA management hierarchy to a comprehensive look at the engineering required for the U.S. space program. The authors provide a remarkable narrative of the Apollo program based on hours of interviews with NASA administrators, managers, engineers, and mission controllers.

I felt like I personally got to know all these people, who helped achieve one of the greatest feats in human history. The book highlights the creativity, imagination, and genius it took to realize the dream of landing on the moon. 

By Charles Murray, Catherine Bly Cox,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Apollo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book tells the story of how a group of unheralded men and women accomplished the extraordinary feat of landing men on the moon and returning them safely to earth. Based on extensive interviews this book tells in rich, human and scientific deal how this dream was realized in less than ten years.


Book cover of Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

Nancy Atkinson Why did I love this book?

This children’s book about the Apollo program inspired *me*, so I can only imagine how inspirational it is for curious young minds. This book focuses on several non-astronauts, “the regular folks whose efforts made an impossible mission possible in the first place,” writes author Catherine Thimmesh.

This is a fascinating look at the dramatic story behind the Apollo 11 mission, the first to land humans on the moon. The personal stories from scientists, engineers, and even seamstresses portray how it took an army of people from around the world to successfully send three humans to the moon.

By Catherine Thimmesh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Team Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Apollo 11, the first moon landing, is a story that belongs to many, not just the few and famous. It belongs to the seamstress who put together twenty-two layers of fabric for each space suit. To the engineers who created a special heat shield to protect the capsule during its fiery reentry. It belongs to the flight directors, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, aerospace technicians, photo developers, engineers, and navigators. Gathering direct quotes from some of these folks who worked behind the scenes, Catherine Thimmesh reveals their very human worries and concerns. Culling NASA transcripts, national…


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The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

Book cover of The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

John Winn Miller

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The Hunt for the Peggy C is best described as Casablanca meets Das Boot. It is about an American smuggler who struggles to rescue a Jewish family on his rusty cargo ship, outraging his mutinous crew of misfits and provoking a hair-raising chase by a brutal Nazi U-boat captain bent on revenge.

During the nerve-wracking 3,000-mile escape, Rogers falls in love with the family’s eldest daughter, Miriam, a sweet medical student with a militant streak. Everything seems hopeless when Jake is badly wounded, and Miriam must prove she’s as tough as her rhetoric to put down a mutiny by some of Jake’s fed-up crew–just as the U-boat closes in for the kill.

The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

What is this book about?

John Winn Miller's THE HUNT FOR THE PEGGY C, a semifinalist in the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition, captures the breathless suspense of early World War II in the North Atlantic. Captain Jake Rogers, experienced in running his tramp steamer through U-boat-infested waters to transport vital supplies and contraband to the highest bidder, takes on his most dangerous cargo yet after witnessing the oppression of Jews in Amsterdam: a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution.

The normally aloof Rogers finds himself drawn in by the family's warmth and faith, but he can't afford to let his guard down when Oberleutnant Viktor…


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Interested in the moon, the Apollo program, and astronauts?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the moon, the Apollo program, and astronauts.

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