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Author Topic:   A Long Voyage to the Moon (Bowman)
ColinBurgess
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 12-30-2021 11:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As 2021 draws to a rather untidy end, it's time to look forward to what we all hope will be a far less demanding and more open and less concerning 2022. However it would be remiss of me - having complimented Francis French's work with Al Worden on "The Light of Earth" - to not mention the other Outward Odyssey book which came out at virtually the same time: Geoffrey Bowman's sensational biography of Apollo 17 CMP Ron Evans. Ron has never been to the fore when discussing Apollo astronauts, but don't let that fool you - he had an amazing life before and during NASA, and this is reflected in Geoffrey's book.

In trying to set aside my series editor cap, I have to say that this is one of the very best astronaut biographies I have ever had the pleasure to read, and to hear that the entire Evans family (and especially Jan) loved the book is nothing short of a wonderful endorsement of Geoffrey's work over the past couple of years. For a person writing their first full book, he did an outstanding job, and his narrative (and accuracy) is superb throughout.

Making it even more outstanding is the fact that he did most of his research and writing from his home in Belfast. Just like "The Light of Earth", "A Long Voyage to the Moon" captures what it is like to be a CMP on an Apollo mission, and if it is not gracing your bookcase by now, it definitely should be.

Although several other Outward Odyssey books are currently in the research and writing pipeline, it looks as if there will only be one more published in 2022, and so far the author and I have kept it a secret between us. However I can reveal that it has been accepted for publication and is a very human story about yet another Apollo astronaut, written by someone very close to him. More will be revealed next year.

It's New Year's Eve here, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you out there for your ongoing support of the Outward Odyssey books, and in the case of 2021, two very outstanding new books in the series.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-31-2021 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Colin! Now you've got me blushing.

I will add that the more people I talked to about Ron Evans, the more I wished I had met him myself. I think Al Worden hit the nail on the head in "The Light of Earth" when he referred to Ron as "the definition of a nice guy."

Kite
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Posts: 1024
From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 12-31-2021 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had this book as a much appreciated present for Christmas and look forward to reading it very soon. Hopefully, if the world returns to something like normal, I will be able to catch up with Geoffrey at some space event and he might kindly personalise and sign it for me.

May I take this opportunity to wish Geoffrey, Colin, Francis and all the authors who contribute so much to this site, plus of course Robert and all cS members a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-01-2022 06:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kite:
Hopefully, if the world returns to something like normal, I will be able to catch up with Geoffrey at some space event and he might kindly personalise and sign it for me.
It would be an honour to sign your copy. I think it was just over 4 years ago when we last met in Milton Keynes, with Charlie Duke. I'm sure we all hope for a return of great events like that. A good start would be a better 2022!

JLR1
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From: Cincinnati, OH
Registered: Oct 2008

posted 01-04-2022 07:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JLR1   Click Here to Email JLR1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am about halfway through the book and thoroughly enjoying it.

On page 186, there is a reference to a cartoon printed in the Chicago Today newspaper that maybe a lot of you have seen but I had not. To quote the passage in the book, "Chicago Today printed an achingly poignant cartoon showing Armstrong raising the U.S. flag, Iwo Jima-style, aided by the spectral figures of Grissom, White, and Chaffee."

Thanks to the author for referencing that.

gareth89
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From: Ireland
Registered: May 2014

posted 01-04-2022 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gareth89   Click Here to Email gareth89     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Geoffrey, I’d love to purchase a copy of your book, I’m based in Dundalk (just down the road from you!), do you have a copy for sale that you might be able to send my direction? Congratulations on the publication!

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-05-2022 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gareth, I don't know what bookshops you have available, but you could buy a copy on Amazon and probably get it within a few days. It looks from the map as if you are about 40 miles from where I live. Maybe we should let Omicron settle a bit, but why not get together (somewhere half-way?) for lunch and a chat about space generally and Ron Evans in particular?
quote:
Originally posted by JLR1:
On page 186, there is a reference to a cartoon printed in the Chicago Today newspaper...
You don't need to be an American for that cartoon to bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye. I think it was a work of genius.

gareth89
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From: Ireland
Registered: May 2014

posted 01-12-2022 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gareth89   Click Here to Email gareth89     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Geoffrey, I've purchased my copy and it's in transit. I can't wait until the day in the hopefully near future where you're treating me to lunch and insider tales about Ron Evans.

I'm looking forward to my book arriving, and upon finishing it I'd love to make a date to discuss it over a coffee at your leisure.

Kite
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Posts: 1024
From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 01-13-2022 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do not normally comment on books when I am only half way through but in this case I will make an exception. Geoffrey wrote two superb chapters previously in "Footprints in the Dust" so I knew what to expect in "A Long Voyage to the Moon" but I have to say he has surpassed himself with this masterly written account of Ron Evans' life.

His meticulous research is phenomenal, finding witnesses in all the many different parts of his subjects life and writing it all in such a relaxed and readable style. It is so enjoyable and after each chapter I choose to reflect on it rather than carry on reading as much as it is tempting to do so. How a former solicitor having spent years of reading and writing legal jargon can switch to such an understandable narration is amazing! Well done and thank you Geoffrey, and also to Colin and others in the collectSPACE environment who saw your potential and have unearthed another brilliant author for us to enjoy.

I will now get back to reading the second half of the book and have no doubts whatsoever that the high quality will be maintained. Congratulations on a brilliant biography.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-13-2022 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nigel, I'm really most grateful for your generous comments. And you have touched on a point that had worried me a little.

After I supplied Nebraska with details for my "author profile" it occurred to me that my nearly 40 years as a litigation lawyer might leave some potential readers concerned that Ron's story would be written like a legal report to an insurance client! So I tried for a fairly "laid-back" style, while trusting my copy-editor to rein-in any excessively casual text. I hope I struck the right balance!

quote:
Originally posted by gareth89:
...you're treating me to lunch and insider tales about Ron Evans.
Gareth - delighted to buy you a coffee but I'm afraid adding lunch might use up all my book royalties!

Brock
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From: Orlando, Florida
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 01-23-2022 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brock   Click Here to Email Brock     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just finished this book and it was excellent!

Ron Evans indeed has an amazing life story. It is refreshing to read about one of the lesser known astronauts who made great contributions to Apollo.

It is rich irony to consider a Vietnam combat veteran enjoying all that NASA had to offer while knowing that several of his Navy buddies were being held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam. I had assumed that the astronauts all working together and living in the same neighborhoods would be best of friends and buddies but this book showed that was not really the case.

Thank you to Mr. Bowman for the research and writing for this book. You have done a phenomenal job! You have given Ron Evans his due!

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-24-2022 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Brock - much appreciated! I suspect NASA astronauts were (and are) much like workers in a large office. Some very close friendships are forged, but you aren't necessarily bosom buddies with everyone in the office. And in the high-pressure world of Project Apollo, if you weren't working on the same mission as one of your neighbours, you might not see much of each other for weeks!

Kite
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From: Northampton UK
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 01-29-2022 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kite     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have finished this book now and as I suspected the quality was maintained to the highest possible level. So thorough and written with such empathy towards the subjects widow and family I am not at all surprised by Colin's comments on how much the family love it, and what a lovely gesture by Geoffrey to dedicate the book to Ron's wife, "For Jan, This is your story,too." Wonderful.

I cannot recommend this book enough and can only state that it is certainly one of the very best biographies I have ever read too. Hopefully it will enjoy great sales which concern me as when looking around quality book stores in both Market Harborough and Northampton I could not locate it. At the latter in Waterstones the keen assistant assured me it could be ordered by them but they do not keep American books in store. I wonder if this is the same in big cities such as London, or indeed Belfast who should be proud of their local new author. Perhaps someone might know.

What now Geoffrey, will you relax and enjoy your well deserved retirement or possibly be tempted to write again? We can only hope you do as you have proved beyond doubt that you are a talented and gifted author. Thank you very much.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-31-2022 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you for your very kind comments, Nigel. It's very encouraging for any author to hear that his efforts have been appreciated!

Your post also touches on a thorny point which I am still pursuing. Last October I asked the Belfast branch of Waterstones booksellers if they would stock "a local author's first book." I received an email on 29th October confirming that the branch's buyer had "placed an order for the Belfast shop today."

I understand four copies were ordered: enough to "test the waters." Since then, although the book is available on Waterstones' website and can be ordered online to be collected at branches, there is no sign of the copies ordered for the shelves last October. No one I have spoken to has been able to explain this.

I wonder if the Northampton assistant has "let the cat out of the bag" by stating that Waterstones "do not keep American books in store." If true, it would have been nice if they had told the author! It remains to be seen whether an actual order by a branch might override any such blanket policy.

On reflection, I have never seen any "Outward Odyssey" title on display in Waterstones in Belfast. I have certainly seen American titles such as "A Man on the Moon" and "Carrying the Fire" but these have actually been UK editions.

Of course, Amazon is happy to supply copies on this side of the pond, usually within two days. To my certain knowledge, Waterstones in Belfast have had to turn people away who wanted to buy copies for themselves and as Christmas presents. Those people then turned to Amazon.

It's just a pity that those of us who like to support "real bricks-and-mortar bookshops" like Waterstones are finding that the biggest impediment to this are the real bricks-and-mortar bookshops themselves!

FFrench
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Posts: 3269
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-18-2022 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My review of this book as part of my latest book review blog.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-19-2022 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Francis! Your comments are very much appreciated.

And I discovered yesterday that my local branch of Waterstones in Belfast now has copies of the book on display. There is apparently no "ban" on American books provided there is a UK supplier and the book appears on Waterstones' web-site.

fredtrav
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From: Birmingham AL
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posted 02-19-2022 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Now you need to do a signing at the store.

FFrench
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From: San Diego
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posted 02-19-2022 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are most welcome!

Grounded!
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From: Bennington, Vermont, USA
Registered: Feb 2011

posted 02-19-2022 07:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Grounded!   Click Here to Email Grounded!     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fredtrav:
Now you need to do a signing at the store.
Ditto!

Blackarrow
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Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 02-21-2022 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fredtrav:
Now you need to do a signing at the store.
Maybe not just yet. I've had Covid for the last week (but with minimal symptoms).

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-16-2022 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Ron Who?" were the opening words of what was actually a very favourable review of the book on a lesser-known book-store website.

I was reminded of that today when I was looking for something in my 2010 Dover reprint of the NASA publication "Where No Man Has Gone Before"(NASA SP-4214). I was browsing through the Appendices and noticed that the 1966 astronaut group ("The Original Nineteen") had been reduced to only 18. I soon realized that the "missing man" was Ron Evans!

I have just checked the NASA History Office website and Ron is again missing from the Group 5 list of astronauts in Appendix 6. I couldn't help thinking it's a good thing I wrote "A Long Voyage..." if even NASA can overlook one of its Apollo astronauts.

As a matter of interest, can anyone check the original (1989) NASA printed version of SP-4214 to see if that's the origin of the omission?

sch61
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From: Ramona, CA, USA
Registered: Dec 2001

posted 04-16-2022 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sch61   Click Here to Email sch61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I checked my copy of the original NASA publication and I can confirm that, for the listing of the fifth group of astronauts (p. 378), Ron Evans is not included. There are only 18 names listed.

Jurg Bolli
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From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 04-16-2022 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
He is identified on page 68 of the paper copy in the photo of the group. But he is missing in the appendix.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 3438
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-16-2022 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the clarifications. I don't want to overplay a simple printing error, but someone ought to have picked it up somewhere along the line.

Still, the good news for Mr French is that "Whatshisname" didn't get left out of Group 3!


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