Auburn University Professor James R. Hansen's book, "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong," has been named by Choice magazine as one of the Outstanding Academic Books of 2006.
Choice, the publication of the Association of College and Research Libraries, listed Hansen's book in its January issue among the top 10 percent of more than 7,000 works reviewed last year.
"My challenge in writing the Armstrong biography was composing a book that would serve the dual purpose of attracting and satisfying readers from the general public while still living up to the highest standards of academic scholarship," said Hansen, a professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts. "It is extraordinarily fulfilling to receive this confirmation that I have somehow managed to do both."
Hansen's book, published by Simon and Schuster in 2005, is the first authorized biography of astronaut Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. It spent two weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and has also won the Gardner-Lasser Aerospace Literature Award, presented by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts, and the Eugene M. Emme Prize in Astronautical Literature, awarded by the American Astronautical Society.
Reviewer John Carver Edwards of Library Journal said the book is "a Herculean effort" and that Hansen "succeeds in penetrating his subject's seemingly enigmatic personality. This impressively documented and engagingly written biography will stand the test of time."
Choice magazine editors selected its Outstanding Academic Books based on a variety of criteria, including overall excellence in presentation and scholarship, value to undergraduate students, and importance in building undergraduate library collections.