This is a new book by Lost Moon coauthor Jeffrey Kluger that tells the story of America's first mission to the moon. While eclipsed by Apollo 11 seven months later in the popular imagination, Apollo 8 was a dramatic "swing for the fences" mission. It was originally planned as Apollo 9, an Earth-orbit checkout of the Apollo 7-tested command and service module with the untested lunar module, but when the LM wasn't ready, planners decided to combine the tested CSM with the similarly tested new Saturn V booster and try a trip to the moon instead. The gamble was in large part because while NASA didn't know exactly where the Soviet Union was as far as getting a man to the moon, they knew the Soviets were getting close – and had already sent missions carrying small animals on circumlunar trajectories, i.e. around the moon and back.
The mission is best dramatized by the relevant episode of From the Earth to the Moon, and many of the stories have been told previously in other space biographies, memoirs and accounts, but Kluger finds new ones, and provides updated research into what exactly happened and why. For example, Frank Borman's sickness en route was eventually determined to be one of the initial occurrences of space sickness as a result of the then-new CSM, which allowed astronauts to move about the cabin freely when their inner ear might have other ideas about whether that was agood idea.
Overall, I was a little disappointed in the book. It was interesting, but really didn't tell the a compelling story in a compelling way.