Friday, 24 July 2009
Back home, but then what?
Moon Dust - Andrew Smith
At 16.10 GMT on July 24th 1969 Apollo 11 splashed down safely. Kennedy's dream of putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth had been realised. What next?
There were another 6 moon missions, five successful, and by the end of 1972 twelve men had walked on the lunar surface. So few people to experience such an out of this world experience. What happened next?
A few years ago writer Andrew Smith realised that there were only 9 moon walkers left and that if someone wanted to find out their stories it had to be done soon. The resulting book was Moon Dust. For the most part it is a fascinating read, Smith interviewed 8 of the remaining men and tells their post-Apollo life in a vivid way. He is a little struck by hero worship, but then so am I, this isn't my beef with the book.
My problem is that Moon Dust is part social history, part biography and part autobiography. And I don't want to read about Andrew Smith. I want to read about my heroes.
It is a small gripe and the book brings us up to date on all of the Apollo astronauts and finishes the story nicely, it should appeal to most people who like to know 'what happens next' and reads very well. I just find Smith intrudes too much at times.
This year I have been very lucky to have met some of these incredible men. Some I've just seen at a distance and others I've had the chance to speak to. I hope that in another 10 years we are looking forward to meeting the next generation of moon walkers as well as celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first landing.