The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon by Todd Zwillich

The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon

The story of John C. Houbolt, an unsung hero of Apollo 11 and the man who showed NASA how to put America on the moon. Without John C. Houbolt, a junior engineer at NASA, Apollo 11 would never have made it to the moon. Top NASA engineers on the project, including Werner Von Braun, strongly advocated for a single, huge spacecraft to travel to the moon, land, and return to Earth. It's the scenario used in 1950s cartoons and horror movies about trave...

Details The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon

TitleThe Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon
Release DateJul 4th, 2019
PublisherAudible Studios
GenreNonfiction, History, Audiobook, Science, Biography

Reviews The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon

  • Steve
    A fascinating look at how NASA decided to use the Lunar Orbital Rendezvous to get to the Moon and back. At least that part was interesting. The sad part was the moaning and complaining from John Houbolt, and how he spent the rest of his life angry and frustrated that he didn't get the recognition he thought he deserved. Sad, really.
  • Andrew Bulthaupt
    I listened to this book via Audible.I was familiar with John C. Houbolt's contributions to the Apollo program thanks to the seminal HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, so when I saw the Audible Original about the man who championed Lunar Orbit Rendezvous (LOR) I knew I had to listen.The production is a fantastic overview of Houbolt, giving you information on his background and upbringing, which gives context to his actions in the early 196...
  • Cammie
    Fascinating behind-the-scenes details about the moon landing 50 years ago.
  • Lis Carey
    John C. Houboldt was a airplane engineer who worked for NASA, and became interested, in some ways obsessed with, the Moon program that he logically ought to have no role in.In the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were already, before President Kennedy ever made his speech committing the US to get to the Moon and back before the end of the 1960s, space program scientists were already working on how to do it. There were three basic approaches--the...
  • Penny
    (Audible)3.5-4.0 stars The audio production explores the contribution of Apollo program engineer John C. Houbolt, a NASA associate at Langley Research Center. An aeronautic engineer, not assigned to the space program, he was an early advocate (zealot) of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous as the most economical and fastest strategy for putting man on the moon and returning them to the earth safely.The production includes sound bites from the period, as w...
  • Becky Carr
    2.5-2.75 this was a free audible perk and for being free it was ok. I really did like the interviews with various historians and ppl related to the Apollo missions but I found some small factual inaccuracies which right from the beginning raised some red flags. I then looked to see the author’s background and turns out he does stuff with public tv and isn’t a scientist or historian which becomes evident as the story continues and he orders it...
  • Geoff
    Thank good this was available for free. I got it, small man was right and big organization wasn’t ready to hear it. He got recognized wii magazines and peers within the time frame he needed to be recognized. He wasn’t shut out, even though he left nasa. Only thing interesting learned within this book is how wrong and how stubborn the “best” minds of nasa really were.
  • David Czuba
    This was an exceptional exploration of the contribution of Apollo program engineer John C. Houbolt, a NASA associate at Langley Research Center in North Virginia. Houbolt understood, perhaps more than anyone at the time, the singularity of using lunar-orbit rendezvous as the only acceptable mode to return the manned Apollo spacecraft safely from the moon after landing. This modular approach stood in stark contrast to the direct mode, in which a f...
  • Richard Haas III
    The story about John Houbolt is an extremely important and fascinating one, and I’m honestly shocked that I didn’t know more about his story or his contribution to getting us on the moon. Essentially that alone is what makes this Audible Original audiobook worth it in the first place, and probably should be more accessible in other mediums too. Now while the meat of the content is good, there are a few issues I have with the book.While listen...
  • Catherine Puma
    This 3.5 hour Audible Original production is about the NASA engineer John Houbolt, who was the earliest advocator for lunar orbital rendezvous. While he did not invent the concept, he was a champion for getting the idea considered by upper level NASA decision-making management personnel. Houbolt distributed memos, sent off frustrated letters, gave pitching proposal presentations, and was on a team that wrote a 100+ page report detailing how to pu...
  • PJ Jones
    I finished this book last week, and just realized I didn't add my review to Goodreads. The following review is what I left on Audible Original is a real eye-opener. It’s the story of the man behind the Lunar Orbit Rendevous (LOR). It’s how the moon landings became possible by allowing a “module” to separate and land on the moon, then take off again and dock with the Lunar orbiter in order to return to the Earth. But, ther...
  • Patrick Kelly
    Another fascinating audible original. These audio programs are great.This was a story about the man that fought for Lunar Orbital Rendezvous. A key figure in getting humans to the moon. LOR is the procedure of a separate ship detaching, landing on the moon and then ejecting from the service and reconnecting with the module. Instead of the original idea of one rocket flying from earth, landing on the moon, then ejecting from the moon back to earth...
  • Jessica
    Even as someone not into 60s history or space exploration much (tho I *do* love me a good Robert A. Heinlein novel — and I digress), I really really liked this book. It was fascinating and the story of the dogged and brilliant yet sometimes self-defeating Houbolt was wonderful.Unlike other readers, Houbolt’s desire for credit didn’t rankle me at all. Who wouldn’t have a little PTSD of sorts from superiors YELLING THAT YOU ARE LYING when y...
  • Nicole
    I am of two minds about this book. On the one hand, I learned some stuff I never otherwise would have looked into in regards to the moon landings of the '60's. On the other hand, most of what I learned made me dislike the titular man who "knew the way to the moon" and I really don't think that was the author's intent.My feelings for what I learned about John Houbolt aside*, I also have mixed feelings about the audiobook. There were lots of interv...
  • Jack Hansen
    John C. Houbolt, a mid-level engineer at NASA, gets the brass to accept his idea for a Lunar Orbit Rendezvous instead of all other suggestions to put a man on the moon within a distinct timeframe. Werner Von Braun, the ex Nazi rocket designer and ultimate voice on the issue, is in favor of using one rocket ship to land on the moon. The Man Who Knew The Way to the Moon is a story about man's adventure into space, a time when computers are people, ...
  • Kendra McIntyre
    John C. Houbolt was a junior engineer at NASA in the 1950s and 60s. Without the idea of John Houbolt, NASA would never have made it to the moon on July 20, 1969. Ask anyone about Apollo 11 and they’re not quick to think of Houbolt. Not many people around NASA were on board with Houbolt’s idea, Lunar Orbit Rendezvous. LOR would link two spacecrafts in orbit while the crafts were traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. Houbolt experienced much back...
  • Ken Burkhalter
    Listened to this as an Audible Original, narrated by the author. That is usually not a good thing but he did a very good job, quite impressive actually. The subject matter (a look at one key individual's contribution to the Apollo effort) limited the scope of this title and thus its length and appeal. It was interesting, but the scale of the Apollo project was so large that this small sliver seems a bit underwhelming, even though it is very well ...
  • Alan
    More Hidden FiguresReview of the Audible Studios audiobook (2019)This is an audiobook to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing of July 20, 1969. The audiobook centres on the story of John Houbolt, a junior NASA engineer who was an early advocate for Lunar Orbit Rendezvous, whereby only a lunar lander module would make the actual moon landing and then rendezvous with an orbiting module for the return to earth. In the early...
  • Stephen Heiner
    This is the first of the Audible Originals I've had a chance to listen to. It's highly produced and somewhere between an audiobook and a podcast. This particular one was especially relevant given the anniversaries of the Apollo program and the new pledges to go to the moon and beyond by the US government. That said, I am reminded of a quote by Harry Truman: "It is amazing what can be accomplished if one does not care who gets the credit." The man...
  • Rocky Sunico
    This was a nice short read as a sort of celebration of the anniversary of the moon landing. But more than talking about the mission, as has been covered extensively by many others, the goal of this book was to highlight the story of John Houbolt, the man who played a large role in pushing for lunar orbit rendezvous as the mission mode to get people to land on the moon safely. Yes, it's a story about the many debates that happened before as to how...
  • Lars Dradrach
    50 years ago a man walked on the moon.I can hardly say I remember the moment as I was 5 at the time, but the whole Space program has always fascinated me and are probably a big part of my science fiction interest.As part of the anniversary Audible issued this tale about one of the lesser known heroes of the Apollo program, it’s a very interesting story that gives some insight into some of the politics which surrounded this immense program spann...
  • Diane Adams
    I was delighted to find this in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. I am old enough to remember watching it on television, but I really didn't know very much about the background. What I learned is that there is not necessarily a lot of agreement about some of the history of that Apollo journey! Even about such a historically significant event, everyone seems to have their own side, and not everyone who should get credit always doe...
  • Silas
    This was a timely release from Audible, coming out near the Apollo 11 anniversary. I had personally recently been to the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and there had been a section on the decision to use the lunar orbit rendezvous method on the landing, due to time constraints, because it didn't use as much new equipment, particularly a big, new rocket for launch. What they didn't mention was that it was widely disregarded by NA...
  • Debbie
    This was a wonderful book about John Holbolt, an unsung hero of NASA who was most instrumental in America keeping JFK’s promise in 1960 of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. John had the idea of Lunar Orbit Redezvous, which was critical at the time for that successful mission. For years as an employee of Langley, he fought to get NASA to accept his idea. Finally they did accept but did not initially give him the credit. It’s ...
  • Crystal Gagne
    Very interesting listen about a small yet influential piece of history about the Apollo program and landing on the moon. I enjoy anything History, books, documentaries, docu dramas, historical fiction, you get the point, so I obviously chose this as one of my Audible original choices this month. I am glad I did. I enjoyed listening to his wife tell his story as well. My only complaint is how many times they all say Lunar rendevouz it's annoying a...
  • Carla
    Interesting Audible short about the NASA engineer who arguably made the moon landing possible within Kennedy’s deadline by persistently bringing the lunar orbit rendezvous method up until it was accepted as the best option. He had to be a complete PITA to get it done, although to be fair it seems that was his personal standard operating procedure. One star off for the uncalled-for insult to “Mr Cub” Ernie Banks, who spent his entire career ...
  • Mike Kennedy
    This was a free audiobook for Audible members. It was perfect timing as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. The story covers John C. Houblolt’s quest to push Lunar Orbit Rendezvous as the mode to reach the moon. His idea was eventually used, but he had to push hard as his theory was ignored at first. Short book, but full of content. Very listenable and timely. They did a good job of telling the story, and not diving deep i...
  • Rancy Breece
    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, "The Man Who Knew the Way to the Moon" tells the story of a gadfly, John Houbolt, who advocated for using a lunar orbiting vehicle as the best, most efficient and most inexpensive way to land a man on the moon and safely return him by Kennedy's deadline of doing so by 1970. A fascinating and well written and documented look at one man's stubborn belief in his views and NASA's politi...
  • Henry
    This is an interesting story of the John Houbolt who passionately pushed for the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous method for putting men on the moon and getting them home safely. It seems there are several different versions of this history and this is one telling of it. Regardless of whether John deserves the credit for his role in the Apollo missions or not, this is an amazing tale of our journey to the moon.
  • Don
    A nice, short interesting look at a bitter guy who felt he didn’t get enough lasting credit for lobbying through the NASA bureaucracy in the early stages of the space program.Bottom line seems to be that if it wasn’t for John Houlbolt we would never have gotten to the moon ... which is pretty debatable. At any rate, the lunar orbit rendezvous approach was the one that enabled us to meet President Kennedy’s timeline.Short as it is, this prob...