100 books like All-American Boys

By Walter Cunningham,

Here are 100 books that All-American Boys fans have personally recommended if you like All-American Boys. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Nancy Atkinson Author Of Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions

From my list on 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.

Nancy's book list on books about the Apollo missions to the moon

Nancy Atkinson Why did Nancy 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 Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module

Don Eyles Author Of Sunburst and Luminary: An Apollo Memoir

From my list on by Apollo insiders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have read most of the books written about Apollo, especially those ostensibly written by my fellow participants. I have read these books for pleasure, to find out about parts of the moon effort that I did not see first-hand, and to learn what I could from the authors’ mistakes and successes — with a view to the writing of my own book. The books I have come to value the most are the books that seem to have been created for some other reason than commercial gain, the books unmarred by ghostwriting or heavy-handed editing, the books where the author’s authentic voice speaks from the page.

Don's book list on by Apollo insiders

Don Eyles Why did Don love this book?

I visited Grumman in Bethpage, New York after Apollo 14 and had the rare privilege of entering the cavernous cleanroom where the final moon landers were being assembled. Grumman loved me because my software fix had kept their defective switch from ruining the mission. I believe Tom Kelly was at the table in the executive dining room that day. His book is a gritty account of how, finally, after many failures, many frustrations, NASA pressure, managerial chest-thumping, test and retest, the lunar modules were finally delivered. Even the book’s flaws are interesting, such as how he spins certain inflight events, of which I believe my own account is more balanced.

By Thomas J. Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chief engineer Thomas J. Kelly gives a firsthand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo lunar module. It was, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream job of the century.” Kelly’s account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on safety, reliability, and maintainability. He catalogs numerous test failures, including propulsion-system leaks, ascent-engine instability, stress corrosion of the aluminum alloy parts, and battery problems, as well as their fixes under the ever-present constraints of budget and schedule. He also recaptures the exhilaration of hearing Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong report…


Book cover of Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race

Don Eyles Author Of Sunburst and Luminary: An Apollo Memoir

From my list on by Apollo insiders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have read most of the books written about Apollo, especially those ostensibly written by my fellow participants. I have read these books for pleasure, to find out about parts of the moon effort that I did not see first-hand, and to learn what I could from the authors’ mistakes and successes — with a view to the writing of my own book. The books I have come to value the most are the books that seem to have been created for some other reason than commercial gain, the books unmarred by ghostwriting or heavy-handed editing, the books where the author’s authentic voice speaks from the page.

Don's book list on by Apollo insiders

Don Eyles Why did Don love this book?

This is a buddy story, two guys telling their parallel stories in interleaved fashion. Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov flew in Earth orbit three times and made the first spacewalk. Dave Scott went to the Moon as commander of Apollo 15. They are the same age, both kids old enough to remember the Second World War. Both military pilots who might have been ordered to fight each other, who instead through the adventure of spaceflight became friends. They are thoughtful, open-minded, generous. Here, in their own words, they share their perspectives. 

By David Scott, Alexei Leonov, Christine Toomey

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Sides of the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"An extraordinary book."
---Arthur C. Clarke

Space was one of the most fiercely fought battlegrounds of the Cold War, the Moon its ultimate beachhead.

In this dual autobiography, Apollo 15 commander David Scott and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first man to ever walk in space, recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploration―and their participation in the greatest technological race ever―to land a man on the Moon.

With each mission fraught with perilous tasks, and each space program touched by tragedy, these parallel tales of adventure and heroism read like a modern-day…


Book cover of Journey to the Moon (Library of Flight)

Don Eyles Author Of Sunburst and Luminary: An Apollo Memoir

From my list on by Apollo insiders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have read most of the books written about Apollo, especially those ostensibly written by my fellow participants. I have read these books for pleasure, to find out about parts of the moon effort that I did not see first-hand, and to learn what I could from the authors’ mistakes and successes — with a view to the writing of my own book. The books I have come to value the most are the books that seem to have been created for some other reason than commercial gain, the books unmarred by ghostwriting or heavy-handed editing, the books where the author’s authentic voice speaks from the page.

Don's book list on by Apollo insiders

Don Eyles Why did Don love this book?

Eldon Hall led the development of the Apollo Guidance Computer, that one-cubic-foot device with 76kb of memory that navigated, guided, and controlled each of the Apollo spacecraft — the machine that I helped program. His book is both a detailed description of the Apollo computer and a history of its development. The most dramatic chapter chronicles the bold decision to use integrated circuits in the design of the computer — all of the same type, to encourage the vendor to keep making them — although that technology was then anything but reliable. 

By Eldon C. Hall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journey to the Moon (Library of Flight) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first of its kind, Journey to the Moon details the history and design of the computer that enabled U.S. astronauts to land on the moon. The book recalls the history of computer technology, both hardware and software, and the applications of digital computing to missile guidance systems and manned spacecraft. The book also offers graphics and photos drawn from the Draper Laboratories' archives that illustrate the technology and related events during the Apollo project. Written for experts as well as lay persons, Journey to the Moon is the first book of its kind and a must for anyone interested…


Book cover of Go for Orbit: One of America's First Women Astronauts Finds Her Space

Marianne J. Dyson Author Of A Passion for Space: Adventures of a Pioneering Female NASA Flight Controller

From my list on biographical stories of women in space.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was 14, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be an astronaut. It was 1968, and all astronauts were men. My role models came from fiction. It wasn’t until after I got my degree in physics and went to work for NASA that I finally got to know other women scientists and engineers, including the first women flight controllers and American women astronauts. After leaving NASA, I became a space journalist, author, editor, and book reviewer, often focusing on women’s contributions to space. I’m currently the volunteer historian for Mission Control and helping to capture more stories of women in space.

Marianne's book list on biographical stories of women in space

Marianne J. Dyson Why did Marianne love this book?

As one of the 8,000 people who applied (and wasn’t selected) as an astronaut in 1978, I wondered what made the six women chosen, including Dr. Seddon, stand out.

How about the stamina and skill to handle 24-hour shifts saving gunshot victims in the emergency room? How about pushing her body to the limit to hold her breath and swim two lengths underwater? And then there is the sheer determination that allowed her to endure almost drowning when the spacesuit she had to wear was sized for a man.

She not only was one of the first women astronauts, but she also married an astronaut and raised a happy family during the high-pressure Shuttle era. In my opinion, Rhea Seddon’s story should be required reading for all Americans!

By Rhea Seddon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a small town in Tennessee, the young girl stood with her father and gazed at the Russian Sputnik in the night sky. She knew that she was witnessing the beginning of a new era for the human race. Would she play a part? Rhea Seddon was ten years old.

As years went by, humans ventured off the planet and walked on the moon. The astronauts were men but she felt that would change. At Berkeley in the tumultuous late 1960s, in medical school and a surgery residency she learned that the world no longer belonged solely to males. When…


Book cover of The Right Stuff

Carol Fiore Author Of Flight through Fire

From my list on on loss that do more than make us cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Loss, with its many contours, finds us all. For me, it came quite unexpectedly. During a long decade of profound grieving, I found inspiration in books. Through real characters and fictional ones, I learned and questioned and found strength. Adversity should evoke more than sadness. When we cheer for the characters on the page, we learn about ourselves. These are books that have helped me dig deeper into my own loss and to live fuller. I start with The Right Stuff because I know what it means to be married to a test pilot and to get the knock on the door. Loss does not have to be the end.

Carol's book list on on loss that do more than make us cry

Carol Fiore Why did Carol love this book?

It seems incomprehensible that I didn’t read this book until my test pilot husband died. He’d applied to NASA, just before the plane crash.

This book is popular in the aviation community because Tom Wolfe nailed it—the pilot lingo, the tall tales from the cockpit, the egos, the spot-on descriptions, and mostly, the brilliance and love of adventure. I’ve spent most of my life around pilots (I’m a licensed private pilot) and Wolfe gets it. He is an extremely talented writer who helped bring Chuck Yeager’s ultra-cool bravery into the mainstream. Wolfe traces the successes and horrific failures of the early NASA program, weaving characters together in a way that is more action fiction than true life. This book will change the way you look at airplanes and the people who fly them. 

My late husband was buried with his tattered copy of The Right Stuff.

By Tom Wolfe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Right Stuff as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A wonderful novel and perfect book club choice, The Right Stuff is a wildly vivid and entertaining chronicle of America's early space programme.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY US ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY

'What is it,' asks Tom Wolfe, 'that makes a man willing to sit on top of an enormous Roman Candle...and wait for someone to light the fuse?' Arrogance? Stupidity? Courage? Or, simply, that quality we call 'the right stuff'?

A monument to the men who battled to beat the Russians into space, The Right Stuff is a voyage into the mythology of the American space programme, and a dizzying…


Book cover of Marooned

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

This high-tech thriller about three astronauts stuck in Earth orbit aboard an Apollo spacecraft (in an earlier version, it was about one astronaut in a…

By Martin Caidin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Source for exciting movie of the same name, starring Gregory Peck.


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

Nancy Atkinson Author Of Eight Years to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Missions

From my list on 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.

Nancy's book list on books about the Apollo missions to the moon

Nancy Atkinson Why did Nancy 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.

By Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Man on the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space

Kelly Weinersmith Author Of A City on Mars: Can we settle space, should we settle space, and have we really thought this through?

From my list on being an astronaut.

Why am I passionate about this?

My husband/co-author and I are sci-fi nerds and started getting excited about space settlements after writing two space-related chapters in our first book, Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. We spent 4 years doing research for A City on Mars and ended up with around 35 shelves of space-related books in our bookcases. About 3 of those shelves are books related to life in space, many of which are astronaut memoirs. Here are some of our favorites, picked so they span from the Apollo to the International Space Station eras!

Kelly's book list on being an astronaut

Kelly Weinersmith Why did Kelly love this book?

Lynn Sherr is a reporter, and was a friend of Sally Ride. Between knowing Ride personally and her many interviews with Ride’s partners, family, and friends, Sherr was able to write a remarkably in-depth biography of a person who largely avoided sharing personal information publicly.

I learned a lot about Ride I didn’t previously know, like the fact that the US’s first woman astronaut was also LGBTQIA+! She was a trailblazer on so many fronts.

By Lynn Sherr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive biography of Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, with exclusive insights from Ride’s family and partner, by the ABC reporter who covered NASA during its transformation from a test-pilot boys’ club to a more inclusive elite.

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women.

After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the…


Book cover of Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut

Kelly Weinersmith Author Of A City on Mars: Can we settle space, should we settle space, and have we really thought this through?

From my list on being an astronaut.

Why am I passionate about this?

My husband/co-author and I are sci-fi nerds and started getting excited about space settlements after writing two space-related chapters in our first book, Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. We spent 4 years doing research for A City on Mars and ended up with around 35 shelves of space-related books in our bookcases. About 3 of those shelves are books related to life in space, many of which are astronaut memoirs. Here are some of our favorites, picked so they span from the Apollo to the International Space Station eras!

Kelly's book list on being an astronaut

Kelly Weinersmith Why did Kelly love this book?

This book is hilarious and raunchy and is an incredible story about how social progress is made.

Mike Mullane was at NASA when the first astronaut class that included women was recruited. He was a pretty massive sexist when the women initially joined, and he details how his thoughts on working with women astronauts changed as he found the women astronauts to be eminently capable.

By the end of the book, it’s clear that Mullane could still stand to make a little more progress on the sexism front, but he has come a long way. Social progress is often achingly slow, but this is a fun story about how it sometimes slowly inches forward. 

By Mike Mullane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Selected as a Mission Specialist in 1978 in the first group of shuttle astronauts, Mike Mullane completed three missions and logged 356 hours aboard the Discovery and Atlantis shuttles. It was a dream come true. As a boy, Mullane could only read about space travel in science fiction, but the launch of Sputnik changed all that. Space flight became a possible dream and Mike Mullane set out to make it come true. In this absorbing memoir, Mullane gives the first-ever look into the often hilarious, sometime volatile dynamics of space shuttle astronauts - a class that included Vietnam War veterans,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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