Review Blog

Jul 12 2019

To the Moon and back by Bryan Sullivan with Jackie French

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Angus and Robertson, 2019. ISBN: 9781460757741.
(Age: 12-Adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Space Travel; Moon landing; Astronomy; Space History; Science History; Technology. This edition of To the Moon and Back has been released in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first landing of humans on the moon. The book details the involvement of Australian Space Tracking technicians in enabling the world to see the Apollo 11 astronauts take their first steps on the moon's surface. Bryan Sullivan was one of those technical experts. In an era when the experts involved had 'fix-it' and 'can-do' expertise (sometimes self-taught), and computers were relatively rudimentary beasts, the miracle of the moon landing seen through the eyes of one of the Aussies involved is great reading. With updates that acknowledge the involvement of women in the space industry in its early years (as an example, reference is made to Katherine Johnson and the female experts of the Hidden Figures movie renown); essentially though, this is a book that gives insights into the Australian contributions to the Space History related to the exploration of the Moon. The book does not just describe the history, it also inspires readers to consider Astronomy as a field of study and to view the discoveries beyond our planet in a new light. Young and older readers will look at the moon differently and will also be more critical of Space History as seen in movies (note: The Dish was a great Australian film, but it did not accurately record the location of the Tracking station involved in conveying the images of the Moon Landing. A reminder that movies are not necessarily 'truth'.) With Jackie French's finesse and writing skill, this book is very easy to read and hard to put down.
This is definitely a book worth recommending to another cohort of readers, particularly those with STEM interests.
Highly recommended for readers aged 12 - adult.
Carolyn Hull

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