100 books like Apollo

By Charles Murray, Catherine Bly Cox,

Here are 100 books that Apollo fans have personally recommended if you like Apollo. 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 Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on 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?

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…


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 Apollo Remastered: The Ultimate Photographic Record

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’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 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 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 The Promise of Space

Ian Ridpath Author Of Star Tales

From my list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, editor, lecturer, and sometime broadcaster on astronomy and space. My early interest in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life and interstellar communication led me to write my first books, Worlds Beyond (1975) and Messages from the Stars (1978). This interest also led me to investigate UFO sightings, but I soon realized that their explanation lies in human misperception and not ETs. My investigation and explanation of the famous Rendlesham Forest UFO case of December 1980, widely regarded as one of the top-ten cases worldwide and sometimes known as Britain's Roswell, can be found hereIn conjunction with the outstanding Dutch celestial cartographer Wil Tirion, I have produced two standard observing guides for amateur astronomers. 

Ian's book list on that have inspired my writings on astronomy and space

Ian Ridpath Why did Ian love this book?

Although Arthur C. Clarke is usually regarded primarily as an author of science fiction (think 2001, Rendezvous with Rama) he was also a masterful exponent of science fact. Written at a time when humans were still preparing to land on the Moon, this book opened the door to the vistas of outer space for this budding author. A man generations ahead of his time, Clarke would have been as disappointed as any at our slow rate of progress in space exploration since the Apollo Moon landings. An uplifting view of our technological future, some of it still to come, from a true visionary.

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"When Clarke wrote this volume in 1968, humanity stood on the brink of bursting forth from this ball of dirt into the universe. It is full of hope for the Space Age to come, and a rather sad thing to read today. Still, it's a great book, crammed with technical diagrams, astronomical photographs, and good solid science."


Book cover of Go, Flight!: The Unsung Heroes of Mission Control, 1965-1992

Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Author Of Apollo Mission Control: The Making of a National Historic Landmark

From my list on manned spaceflight operations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was fortunate to be one of the first NASA Flight Controllers. I supported Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. I joined the NASA Space Task Group at the Langley Research Center in 1961. My first supervisor was Gene Kranz, a Former F-86 pilot who got there a year before me. He was 28, and I was 25. Gene trained me to take his place as the Operations and Procedures Officer. I later moved up to the Assistant Flight Director position in Gemini and was the Guidance Officer on Apollo 1, which ended in a disastrous fire.  

Manfred's book list on manned spaceflight operations

Manfred “Dutch” von Ehrenfried Why did Manfred love this book?

I enjoyed this book because the authors give much credit to all the Flight Controllers at all the positions including those in the back rooms supporting those in the Mission Operations Control Room.

The book highlights the backgrounds of young ordinary people from “rural America and smokestack towns” who became extraordinary, if not brilliant. They were a band of brothers supporting the first missions to the Moon. 

By Rick Houston, Milt Heflin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The inspiration for the documentary Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo

At first glance, it looks like just another auditorium in just another government building. But among the talented men (and later women) who worked in mission control, the room located on the third floor of Building 30-at what is now Johnson Space Center-would become known by many as "the Cathedral." These members of the space program were the brightest of their generations, making split-second decisions that determined the success or failure of a mission. The flight controllers, each supported by a staff of specialists, were the most visible…


Book cover of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13

Patrick Chiles Author Of Frozen Orbit

From my list on space history that read like novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been obsessed with space exploration since watching the Apollo missions as a child. As an adult, I devoured every book I could find on the subject while nursing my own desire to create “what if” stories that were not too far removed from present day. A career in managing flight operations gave me some appreciation of the technical challenges and personality types, experiences which I’ve extrapolated into my fiction. Some of my novels have been described as “Airport for the 21st century” and “Apollo 13 meets The Hunt for Red October.” The books on this list were the foundation of my early research and remain favorites to this day.

Patrick's book list on space history that read like novels

Patrick Chiles Why did Patrick love this book?

By now, nearly everyone has seen Apollo 13, the movie based on this gripping account by the mission’s commander. The book delves into both the events themselves and the background of the mission in ways a movie cannot, including an unlikely event during the spacecraft’s assembly, which ultimately led to the oxygen tank explosion.

Of all the hard-charging, high-achieving astronauts, Mr. Lovell was perhaps the most “normal” of the group, which I think is illustrated by the fact that he was one of the few to get through the Apollo program with his marriage intact. His humanity, intelligence, and determination shine forth in this account, illustrating what it took to survive their ordeal.

By Jim Lovell, Jeffrey Kluger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In April 1970, during the glory days of the Apollo space program, NASA sent Navy Captain Jim Lovell and two other astronauts on America's fifth mission to the moon. Only fifty-five hours into the flight of Apollo 13, disaster struck: a mysterious explosion rocked the ship, and soon its oxygen and power began draining away. Commander Lovell and his crew watched in alarm as the cockpit grew darker, the air grew thinner, and the instruments winked out one by one. The full story of the moon shot that almost ended in catastrophe has never been told, but now Lovell and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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

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

The Apollo Program Explore 23 books about the Apollo program
NASA Explore 67 books about NASA
The Moon Explore 128 books about the moon