“In the last few years I’ve been dazzled by NASA’s beautiful new high-resolution scans of the photographs [the Apollo astronauts] took during their missions … Seeing their explorations in unprecedented detail, I found myself wanting to hear their words, to bring these images fully to life. This was the inspiration for Voices from the Moon.”
So writes Andrew Chaikin in the introduction to this book. And from the inspiration to the finished product, Voices from the Moon is exactly what Chaikin set out to do, is exactly what he describes. It is 198 pages of photographs from the Apollo programme, accompanied by excerpts from the interviews Chaikin had with the astronauts while researching his book, A Man on the Moon. It is the Apollo astronauts in their own words.
Voices from the Moon is organised into twelve thematic chapters: Before, Preparing, Outward Bound, Another World, Landing, On the Surface, Solo, Homeward, Apollo 13, Aftermath, Remembering, and The Spirit of Apollo. The quotes Chaikin has chosen, from the hours of interviews he had collected, were picked especially to go with the accompanying images. They are the astronauts at their most honest, most awestruck, and sometimes not even their most articulate. The photographs are gorgeous, crisp and clear high-quality reproductions.
This is not a book which sheds new light on the Apollo programme, or some aspect of it. It is a book which celebrates the astronauts and their achievement, and those who assisted them. It’s a coffee-table book, but it’s a fine one to have in your collection.
Voices from the Moon, Andrew Chaikin with Victoria Kohl (2009, Viking Studio, ISBN 978-0-670-02078-2, 198pp)