In the Shadow of the Moon


In the Shadow of the Moon

A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969

Francis French and Colin Burgess
With a foreword by Walter Cunningham

Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight Series

464 pages
25 illustrations


June 2010


$24.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

September 2007


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About the Book

In the Shadow of the Moon tells the story of the most exciting and challenging years in spaceflight, with two superpowers engaged in a titanic struggle to land one of their own people on the moon. Drawing on interviews with astronauts, cosmonauts, their families, technicians, and scientists, as well as rarely seen Soviet and American government documents, the authors craft a remarkable story of the golden age of spaceflight as both an intimate human experience and a rollicking global adventure. From the Gemini flights to the Soyuz space program to the earliest Apollo missions, including the legendary first moon landing, their book draws a richly detailed picture of the space race as an endeavor equally endowed with personal meaning and political significance.

Author Bio

Francis French is the director of education at the San Diego Air and Space Museum and the coauthor with Colin Burgess of Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961–1965, available in a Bison Books edition. Colin Burgess is a former flight service director with Qantas Airways and the editor of Footprints in the Dust: The Epic Voyages of Apollo, 1969–1975 (Nebraska 2010). Walter Cunningham was a NASA astronaut from 1963 to 1971 and a crew member on the first manned Apollo flight.


“[T]he authors craft a remarkable story of the golden age of spacecraft as both an intimate human experience and rollicking global adventure. . . . [T]heir book draws a richly detailed picture of the space race as an endeavor equally endowed with personal meaning and political significance.”—QUEST

“[A] readable introduction to the first years of America’s leap into space.”—Publishers Weekly

“French and Burgess present a first-rate, detailed, and very personal account of the space race to the moon . . . . Strongly recommended both as a study of the social interactions among this unique group of people and as a gripping series of anecdotes that describe the exciting, dangerous steps behind the successful moon landing.”—CHOICE

"Authors Burgess and French are even-handed and equitable, and have done an excellent job in covering a vast expanse of material. . . . The opportunity to get the true stories from the astronauts themselves is a luxury that will sadly not be available forever, and In the Shadow of the Moon has done an excellent job in gathering and eliciting the stories of these men, not just the 'official reports,' but the personal touches that render them more human. . . . The authors have a touch for weaving revealing and captivating personal narratives amidst the nuts-and-bolts space history."—Michael Patrick Brady,

“French and Burgess have written yet another excellent book. . . . [They] bring the history of space flight to life. I eagerly await another exceptional book from these authors.”—Kate Cooper, Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation

“The writers have gone beyond old soviet propaganda to tell the untold stories of heroic cosmonauts through new and recent interviews. This volume captures the anxiety and haste shown by both nations at the height of the space race . . . . This series will be read by future generations when they want the complete perspectives of the original generation of space explorers.”—Space Times

"This book has everything you ever wanted to know about the astronauts that paved the way for the first Moon landing. Rarely does one get the entire information of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programmes, encased in one book, about the men who entered the dangerous and untried realm of flying off the Earth."—Jeff Green, Liftoff

"Highly enjoyable, immensely readable, this work, while never eschewing the technological side of the Gemini and Apollo programs, is an extraordinarily intimate and personal history of the astronauts, cosmonauts and their families and it belongs on the shelves of anyone looking for the very finest scholarship on the first age of space exploration."—Brian Laslie, From Balloons to Drones

“President Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the Moon was achieved only because of 15 trailblazing Gemini and Apollo missions flown during four dynamic years of trial and discovery described in this meticulously researched book. In the Shadow of the Moon truly captures the spirit and culture of those who won the race to the Moon.”—Dave Scott, commander of the Apollo 15 mission

“For both space superpowers, human spaceflight was filled with remarkable triumphs as they strove to place the first person on the moon. There were also devastating tragedies to overcome. Through diligent research and pivotal interviews the authors recount that extraordinary era in this superbly crafted and eminently readable book.”—Rex Hall, MBE, former president of the British Interplanetary Society and spaceflight historian

"My husband told the authors stories about his Apollo 8 mission that he had never even told me!"—Valerie Anders, wife of Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders

“Our lives and those of future generations were forever transformed by the events so vividly related in this book. These were the tense, often inspiring days of pioneering human space travel, and the authors are to be congratulated for their unerring portrayals of many larger-than-life personalities involved in that historic endeavor.”—Cece Bibby, first woman to work at the Mercury launch pad

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



1. Gemini Raises the Bar

2. A Rendezvous in Space

3. The Ballet of Weightlessness

4. The Risk Stuff

5. The Astronaut Enigma

6. Starting Over

7. Leaving the Good Earth

8. A Test Pilot's Dream

9. The Highest Mountain





2007 Emme Award for Astronautical Literature, sponsored by the American Astronautical Society, finalist.
2009 Outstanding Academic Title, sponsored by American Library Association's Choice magazine.

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