81 books like Apollo

By David West Reynolds,

Here are 81 books that Apollo fans have personally recommended if you like Apollo. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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

Robert M. Brantner Author Of Skyheist: An Aviation Thriller

From my list on pilots in the greatest profession known to man.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a child, I wanted to be a pilot. I started flying when I was in high school, and now I am a captain for one of the world’s largest airlines. My journey has been the greatest adventure I could ever imagine, but so many others are out there. Far too many adventures for one person to experience. Through great books, I have been able to visit so many facets of the profession I love so much. I treasure so many of the amazing books about flying that have been written and greatly anticipate the many more that are just beyond the horizon.

Robert's book list on pilots in the greatest profession known to man

Robert M. Brantner Why did Robert love this book?

I read every book I could find on space flight. However, none meant more to me than this one. It wasn’t necessarily the story of the two flights Collins made that touched me. What set this book apart for me was the fact that he wrote it himself. What resulted was a first-hand experience as an astronaut. 

When I was a kid, I was able to pass enough math and physics to become a professional pilot, but I had nowhere near the aptitude required to be an astronaut. I always found this a disappointment in my life. After spending hours with this book, I was taken on a journey no other author was ever able to fulfill. For that, I will always be grateful.

By Michael Collins,

Why should I read it?

6 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 The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space

Alan Smale Author Of Hot Moon

From my list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hot Moon, my new alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, is my labor of love and the book I always wanted to write. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, far from Cape Kennedy and Mission Control, but was always obsessed with the Apollo Program and with astronomy and space in general. This passion (nudged along by shows like Doctor Who, UFO, and Star Trek) eventually led to degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford. I now live in the US and work for NASA studying black holes and other bizarre celestial objects.

Alan's book list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions

Alan Smale Why did Alan love this book?

If you only ever read two books penned by astronauts, this should be the second. Gene Cernan flew on Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo 17; on this final mission in 1972 he was the last man to walk on the Moon as part of the Apollo Program. Like Collins, Cernan sheds the astronaut tough-guy image to show us the human cost of the Apollo Program, as well as the bravery and glory of the enterprise. He’s unflinchingly honest, but also thoughtful and sometimes lyrical about his space experiences, and always entertaining. Of all the astronauts, Cernan might have been my first choice as a dinner companion; I’d have loved to talk with him about his three EVAs covering 22 hours of lunar exploration. That would have been terrific.

By Eugene Cernan, Donald A. Davis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Last Man on the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eugene Cernan is a unique American who came of age as an astronaut during the most exciting and dangerous decade of spaceflight. His career spanned the entire Gemini and Apollo programs, from being the first person to spacewalk all the way around our world to commanding Apollo XVII, man's last mission to the moon. Between those two historic events lay more adventures than an ordinary person could imagine as Cernan repeatedly put his life, his family and everything he held dear on the altar of an obsessive desire. Written with "New York Times" bestselling author Don Davis, this is the…


Book cover of How Apollo Flew to the Moon

Alan Smale Author Of Hot Moon

From my list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hot Moon, my new alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, is my labor of love and the book I always wanted to write. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, far from Cape Kennedy and Mission Control, but was always obsessed with the Apollo Program and with astronomy and space in general. This passion (nudged along by shows like Doctor Who, UFO, and Star Trek) eventually led to degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford. I now live in the US and work for NASA studying black holes and other bizarre celestial objects.

Alan's book list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions

Alan Smale Why did Alan love this book?

You’ll find a thousand books that tell the Apollo story, describing the missions and the astronauts and the drama, and A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin is most people’s gateway drug. It’s a great book. But being on the technical side myself–and needing all those messy in-depth technical details to get my own book right–I found Woods’ book perfect for delving deep into the scientific and technical ingenuity of the missions, of all the procedures and maneuvers from launch through splashdown, and many other fascinating aspects that other books leave out. If you’ve ever read an Apollo history and wondered: “But how did that really work, how long did it take, what was the process, why did they do it that way?” or even just “Uh, they did what, now?” then this is totally the book for you.

By W. David Woods,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stung by the pioneering space successes of the Soviet Union - in particular, Gagarin being the first man in space, the United States gathered the best of its engineers and set itself the goal of reaching the Moon within a decade. In an expanding 2nd edition of How Apollo Flew to the Moon, David Woods tells the exciting story of how the resulting Apollo flights were conducted by following a virtual flight to the Moon and its exploration of the surface. From launch to splashdown, he hitches a ride in the incredible spaceships that took men to another world, exploring…


Book cover of Apollo 13 Owners' Workshop Manual: An insight into the development, events and legacy of NASA's 'successful failure'

Alan Smale Author Of Hot Moon

From my list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hot Moon, my new alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, is my labor of love and the book I always wanted to write. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, far from Cape Kennedy and Mission Control, but was always obsessed with the Apollo Program and with astronomy and space in general. This passion (nudged along by shows like Doctor Who, UFO, and Star Trek) eventually led to degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford. I now live in the US and work for NASA studying black holes and other bizarre celestial objects.

Alan's book list on the excellence behind the Apollo Moon missions

Alan Smale Why did Alan love this book?

Haynes Manuals: they’re not just for cars anymore. Haynes also publishes books dedicated to the technical details of planes you’ll never own or service, and spacecraft you’ll never fly in. They’re detailed, they’re technical, and they’re geek gold. With a million color pictures and cutaway diagrams, and text crammed with comprehensive engineering details, the Haynes' Apollo 13 volume is a perfect companion to my Woods pick, or a great standalone in getting literally beneath the skin of the Apollo spacecraft and seeing exactly how all the moving parts worked. By all means buy the Haynes' Apollo 11 Manual too (I did), but I think this one has the edge in terms of technical depth–and you obviously get the full backstory of this aborted and almost disastrous Lost Moon mission too.

By David Baker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Apollo 13 Owners' Workshop Manual as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special new edition of Apollo 13 Manual, published to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the Moon mission launched in April 1970, which very nearly turned into a catastrophe. New content includes an expanded look at what was learned from the analysis of the problems that precipitated the crisis, and how these lessons affected the future space programme, and also a look at the worldwide reaction to the crisis, as the the international community held its breath. This Haynes Manual tells the story of the complex technical challenges involved in returning the crippled spacecraft safely to Earth, explained in…


Book cover of Reaching for the Moon

Evonne Blanchard Author Of Amelia, the Merballs and the Emerald Cannon

From my list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a science fiction and fantasy children’s book author, who loves everything about space and science fiction. I’ve been fascinated by space ever since I was little; mesmerized by clips of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon. As a teenager, War of the Worlds by H.G Wells was my favorite book! My daughter’s complete lack of interest in space inspired me to write a space adventure series. How could I make space entertaining? When it comes to children, I’m a big fan of mixing space facts with a dollop of space fiction, so I hope you will enjoy the collection of books on this list!

Evonne's book list on space books that will launch your kids into orbit

Evonne Blanchard Why did Evonne love this book?

If there’s any book that deserves the title inspirational, it’s surely this children’s book narrated by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Here he recounts his life story, beginning with his childhood and how he acquired the name Buzz⎯such a cute story! This is followed by the significant events that led him to become an astronaut, then eventually to his epic moon landing. Buzz believed in education, discipline and he felt strongly that any goal was possible. He certainly lived up to those ideals! On July 20, 1969, after blasting off in the Apollo 11, he and Neil Armstrong became the first people ever to set foot on the moon. An incredible achievement! Children will love Wendell Minor’s gorgeous paintings and enjoy reading about the personal story of a great American hero.

By Buzz Aldrin, Wendell Minor (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reaching for the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

I walked on the moon. This is my journey. But it didn't begin when I stepped on board Apollo 11 on July 1, 1969. It began the day I was born. Becoming an astronaut took more than education, discipline, and physical strength. It took years of determination and believing that any goal is possible-from riding a bike alone across the George Washington Bridge at age ten to making a footprint on the Moon. I always knew the Moon was within my reach-and that I was ready to be on the team that would achieve the first landing. But it was…


Book cover of Full Moon

Michael Soluri Author Of Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration

From my list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve followed the history of space exploration since I was a kid! Although I spent decades photographing assignments in exotic international locations and co-authored visually driven books on astronomical phenomena, my dream was to photograph in NASA’s restricted space exploration work cultures. Never giving up, I achieved unprecedented access into the shuttle mission that saved the Hubble Space Telescope and, for more than a decade, with the New Horizons team that first explored the Pluto system. I’ve been published in media like Smithsonian, Nat Geo, WIRED, New Scientist, and NPR. Honored that my photographs of astronaut space tools are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.   

Michael's book list on space exploration, astronauts, the moon, and beyond

Michael Soluri Why did Michael love this book?

As explorers carrying cameras, the Gemini and Apollo astronauts (1965-72) were like the pioneer photographers of the 19th century who, with their cameras, responded to the unknowns of the American West. These astronauts, however, were responding to the new and unexplored by photographing their experiences inside their spacecraft and outside in the vacuum of space. During the late 90s the photographer Michael Light gained access to NASA’s Apollo-era photo archive and made the first drum-scanned digital files from perfect copies of the original flight films. Light’s artful editing and juxtaposition of superbly reproduced full-page black and white, and color images creates a cinematic-like journey to the moon and back. In the annals of published space photography, there are very few well-designed books as timeless.

By Michael Light, Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The most thrilling of all journeys--the missions of the Apollo astronauts to the surface of the Moon and back--yielded 32,000 extraordinarily beautiful photographs, the record of a unique human achievement. Until recently, only a handful of these photographs had been released for publication; but now, for the first time, NASA has allowed a selection of the master negatives and transparencies to be scanned electronically, rendering the sharpest images of space that we have ever seen. Michael Light has woven 129 of these stunningly clear images into a single composite voyage, a narrative of breathtaking immediacy and authenticity that begins with…


Book cover of Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo

Stephen P. Maran Author Of Astronomy for Dummies

From my list on space from someone with 35 years at NASA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve studied space for 60+ years, including spotting Sputnik from atop 30 Rock for Operation Moonwatch; monitoring an exploding star for a PhD at University of Michigan, leading the Remotely Controlled Telescope project at Kitt Peak National Observatory, hunting pulsars from Arizona and Chile, and helping develop scientific instruments for the Hubble Space Telescope. I worked for 5 years at Kitt Peak and 35 years for NASA. As Press Officer (now retired) of the American Astronomical Society, I organized press conferences on many notable cosmic discoveries. Minor Planet 9768 was named Stephenmaran for me, but I haven’t seen it yet. What I have spotted are five exceptional books on space.  Enjoy!

Stephen's book list on space from someone with 35 years at NASA

Stephen P. Maran Why did Stephen love this book?

When NASA’s manned spaceflight program began, engineers focused on technology to launch men, sustain them in orbit, and eventually take them to the Moon and back. But U.S. Presidents approved the program to improve America’s image, not for scientific purposes. They wanted to counter the successive shocks of the USSR’s first artificial satellite and first person in space. This wasn’t about bragging rights, but to deter emerging nations from choosing communism over democracy. NASA launches welcomed media and US astronauts were sent abroad, guided by the State Department. They gave unscripted speeches, so listeners could relate to them as regular folks. After John Glenn orbited Earth, his Friendship 7 capsule went on tour, drawing 4 million visitors in Bombay alone. Operation Moonglow explains the unspoken politics that drove early NASA.

By Teasel Muir-Harmony,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On July 20th, 1969, over half of the world's population tuned in to witness the first lunar landing, waiting with bated breath as Neil Armstrong ventured outside the cabin door of Apollo 11 and declared "that's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." As the most expensive civilian scientific and technological program in American history, Project Apollo symbolised the unmatched prestige of American space exploration. Yet despite appearances, the project was never just about winning the Space Race, advancing scientific progress, or even conquering the final frontier. Instead, the ambitions of Project Apollo would ultimately reveal…


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

Christopher Gainor Author Of The Bomb and America's Missile Age

From my list on the exploration of space.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I was inspired by the feats of the first astronauts and cosmonauts, culminating with the Apollo expeditions to the Moon. As I grew up, I found that I was more of a historian than an engineer or a physicist. So, I began writing the stories of some of the people who were involved in the 1960s space race. I have since written about topics ranging from the strategic missiles that kicked off the space race to the Hubble Space Telescope, and today, I am the editor of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly. 

Christopher's book list on the exploration of space

Christopher Gainor Why did Christopher love this book?

I have read many books about the Apollo astronauts and their journeys to the Moon, but this very readable book is the only one that took me along on the greatest human adventure in space.

Chaikin also left me knowing each one of these astronauts better than I did when I started.

By Andrew Chaikin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'IMPRESSIVE AND ILLUMINATING' TOM HANKS

This is the definitive account of the heroic Apollo programme.

When astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their 'giant leap for mankind' across a ghostly lunar landscape, they were watched by some 600 million people on Earth 240,000 miles away.

Drawing on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with the astronauts and mission personnel, this is the story of the twentieth century's greatest human achievement, minute-by-minute, through the eyes of those who were there.

From the tragedy of the fire in Apollo 1 during a simulated launch, Apollo 8's bold pioneering flight around the…


Book cover of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong

Christopher Mari Author Of Ocean of Storms

From my list on history of space exploration.

Why am I passionate about this?

My love of space exploration is an old one. I remember learning about the Apollo missions when I was very young, both from television and children’s books, and was amazed that people had worked together to achieve such a monumental task. I was also massively disappointed to discover that no one had been back to the Moon since 1972! Since then, I’ve read deeply on the history of space exploration and wished intensely that every new NASA plan would bring us back out to explore our solar system. Part of the reason I wrote Ocean of Storms with my buddy Jeremy K. Brown was to create a reality in which that return to the Moon actually came true. 

Christopher's book list on history of space exploration

Christopher Mari Why did Christopher love this book?

Neil Armstrong was an American hero not just because of his skills as a pilot during the Korean War or because of his prowess as an astronaut or by becoming the first man in history to touch the lunar surface. He is a hero because he did all of those things without ever bragging or seeking to make a profit from his success. His commitment to duty, as well as his sacrifice and humility, are lessons for every generation. 

By James R. Hansen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major film starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and Kyle Chandler, directed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle, First Man by James Hansen offers the only authorized glimpse into the life of America's most famous astronaut, Neil Armstrong - the man whose "one small step" changed history.

In First Man, Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over 50 hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources, this "magnificent panorama of the second half of the American twentieth century" (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review) is an unparalleled biography…


Book cover of Apollo: The Race to the Moon

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?

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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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

11,000+ 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.

The Moon 129 books
Astronauts 63 books