7 new out-of-this-world moon books to celebrate Apollo 11 anniversary

The moon is always a fascinating subject, but especially now as July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.

These seven recently released books by historians, science writers and assorted great thinkers capture the drama, terror and exhilaration of overcoming impossible odds to put a man on the moon.

Our closest cosmic neighbor may be 238,900 miles from Earth, but these out-of-this-world books will transport you there:

1. “The Moon: A History for the Future,” by Oliver Morton (Economist Books)

This engaging work of popular-science reporting explores how the moon has been perceived by humanity throughout the centuries, touching on Galileo, the space race and its possible role in the future of space exploration. Our nearest neighbor in the solar system has rarely been so fascinating.

More: Apollo 11’s 50th anniversary: 5 great moon movies to celebrate humanity’s great achievement

2. “Reaching for the Moon,” by Katherine Johnson (Atheneum Books)

Many people have told Johnson’s story for her – the brilliant former NASA mathematician’s work, along with that of other black female mathematicians, helped send Apollo 11 to the moon. Now, at age 100, the American legend tells her own story for young readers.

3. “Moonshot: What Landing a Man on the Moon Teaches Us About Collaboration, Creativity, and the Mind-set for Success,” by Richard Wiseman (TarcherPerigee)

The odds were seemingly impossible, yet humanity succeeded. How? Celebrated psychologist Wiseman offers a unique perspective on the moon landing, marrying history with self-help in a guide to achieving success even when the odds are stacked against us.

4. “Destination Moon: The Remarkable and Improbable Voyage of Apollo 11,” by Richard Maurer (Roaring Brook)

Maurer traces the thrilling history of NASA’s Apollo program and tells the extraordinary story of accomplishing a goal that seemed so unachievable in a way that almost reads like fiction. This detailed history is completed with archival black-and-white photographs, a timeline and extensive references.

More: Blast off with these TV specials celebrating 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s moon landing

5. “Apollo’s Legacy: Perspectives on the Moon Landings,” by Roger D. Launius (Smithsonian Books)

The former chief historian of NASA explores the lasting historical, scientific and cultural impact of one of humanity’s greatest achievements – and even does his best to make sense of moon-landing conspiracy theorists.

6. “American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race,” by Douglas Brinkley (Harper)

Drawing on new primary source material and interviews, award-winning historian Brinkley tells the thrilling story of the U.S. space race: the geopolitical tensions that spurred Kennedy’s challenge, the breakneck technological revolutions that made it possible and the brilliant men and women who took man to the moon.

7. “Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight,” by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang)

Writer and nonfiction graphic artist Fetter-Vorm tells the dramatic story of the Apollo 11 mission – and captures humanity’s fascination with the wider wonders of space – in words and beautifully detailed color illustrations.

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