100 books like Forever Young

By John W. Young, James R. Hansen,

Here are 100 books that Forever Young fans have personally recommended if you like Forever Young. 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 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?

6 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 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…


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 Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission

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?

It’s hard to imagine the competent, happily married Eileen Collins, the first female Space Shuttle commander, living off food stamps in subsidized housing with her alcoholic father trying to break down the door or later having to call 911 because her mother tried to kill herself. As she says, “It was awful to live through, but it shaped me into who I am today.”

I marveled at how she transformed herself from a mediocre student to a woman willing to work multiple part-time jobs to attend community college and avoid her parents’ fates. Not only did she become a test pilot, astronaut, and the first female space commander, she found her happily ever after. It just doesn’t get better than that!

By Eileen M. Collins, Jonathan H. Ward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The long-awaited memoir of a trailblazer and role model who is telling her story for the first time.
Eileen Collins was an aviation pioneer her entire career, from her crowning achievements as the first woman to command an American space mission as well as the first to pilot the space shuttle to her early years as one of the Air Force's first female pilots. She was in the first class of women to earn pilot's wings at Vance Air Force Base and was their first female instructor pilot. She was only the second woman admitted to the Air Force's elite…


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 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 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 Andrew Chaikin, Michael Light,

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 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 An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

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?

“Weightlessness is like a new toy you get to unwrap every day, again and again — and it’s a great reminder, too, that you need to savor the small stuff, not just sweat it.” One of many lessons learned offered by the Canadian astronaut (yes, the one who sang a creative version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) and flew on both the American Shuttle and Russian Soyuz. Like other next-generation astronauts influenced by the Apollo era, Chris reveals a non-jargon view about training and spaceflight with international crews. As Commander of the International Space Station during Expedition 34/35, he writes, “… don’t assume you know everything, and try to be ready for anything” is wisdom that can be related to here on Earth and up there in space.” 

By Chris Hadfield,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back on the earth after three spaceflights, Chris Hadfield's captivating memoir An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth reveals extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality. This edition contains a new afterword.

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in astronauts, pilots, and the moon?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about astronauts, pilots, and the moon.

Astronauts Explore 63 books about astronauts
Pilots Explore 47 books about pilots
The Moon Explore 129 books about the moon