This book is primarily a photographic record of the resumption of manned space missions after the tragic Apollo I fire in which three astronauts lost their lives.
The program started again with Apollo VII, taking a crew of three into earth orbit in the new Apollo command module.
Then taking a huge leap of faith, Apollo 8 followed, taking man away from earth for the first time, travelling to, and orbiting, the moon before returning to earth.
The crew gave themselves only a 50-50 chance of success. Considering the alternative, a 50% chance of failure and what that would mean… I doubt any mission with such a risk factor would, or could, be considered today.
Those two missions, particularly Apollo 8, helped to fast track the US race to the moon and set the foundation for six successful moon missions and the aborted Apollo 13 attempt.
Photos in the book illustrate images of the moon, the earth from the moon, and the space craft and astronauts involved in the Apollo program. They were initially taken for scientific, technical and navigational purposes: helping to identify possible future landing sites, observing the condition of spacecraft and equipment, and recording lunar geology.
If you recall moon photos with a grid of small crosses all over the images, they are marks added by the photographic equipment to allow the calculation of distances and object sizes on the lunar surface.
Brief details are given of each mission crew and their basic achievements during those missions.
There is also a section about the photographic hardware and film stocks used, and an overview of the ongoing training Astronauts were given. Experts were also on hand in mission control to give on the spot instructions should a challenging photographic opportunity arise. An example of one of those exchanges and the resulting photo is included in the book.
One of the facts I found interesting is that many photos taken on the moon have never been released or viewed. Not because of any conspiracy trying to hide photographic details, but because the crew forgot to pack the film into the lunar ascent module prior to leaving the lunar surface. Therefore the undeveloped film remains there on the moon.