The Last Man on the Moon

authors: Eugene Cernan and Don Davis (1999)
date read: 19 February 2023
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The memoir of Gene Cernan, the commander of Apollo 17 and astronaut on two other flights. It focuses on his career up to Apollo 17; how he became an astronaut and how it felt fly those three flights.

Overall it was an easy and compelling read, and some of the usual astronaut’s bravado has been knocked off in the time between flying and writing. For example, he’s more aware and pointed about how neglected his wife Barbara felt that he was when he was an astronaut.

Something struck me is how much it was luck; being in the right place at the right time. There was no “grand plan” for the crew assignments, and it was a series of fortuitous moments that led to his Apollo 17 command slot.

It reminded me of Carrying the Fire, which is one of my favourite books – I don’t think this is quite as good, and most of the reflection and soul-searching comes towards the end, but I still enjoyed it.

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