"All this is possible only through the blood, sweat, and tears of a number of people . . . All you see [are] the three of us, but beneath the surface are thousands and thousands of others."
Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins
The story of the famous few who ventured into the stratosphere on Apollo 11 is one known by many.
But what about the chronicles of those involved whose feet never left the ground?
"That's really a huge part of the story," Catherine Thimmesh states.
"Those are the people who really did it.
Against all odds, 400,000 people worked together and actually accomplished the unthinkable putting man on the moon."
This is their story: The Apollo 11 story as it has never been told before.
Thoroughly researched and accompanied by stunning photographs from the NASA archives, Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon leads the reader through the gut-wrenching challenges of the space mission via intense behind-the-scenes narrative, with direct quotes from the people who made it all possible flight directors, engineers, managers, camera designers, software experts, suit testers, telescope crew, and navigators.
"We didn't worry too much until the guys on the moon started jumping up and down," says Eleanor Foracker, space suit seamstress, in just one of the many colorful moments when readers gain an utterly human perspective on man's first walk on the moon.
In the present day, when space travel has come to be taken so lightly that companies can even consider it as grounds for publicity stunts a Canadian golf club manufacturer recently paid Russia's space agency an undisclosed amount to have Commander Pavel Vinogradov whack a gold-plated golf ball into orbit from the international space station it's easy to forget the groundbreaking and risky nature of the earliest human ventures into space.
In Team Moon, Thimmesh reminds us of the danger and nobility of the first journey to the moon.
Space enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy this rare, intimate portrait of the people whose colossal teamwork made the Apollo 11 mission one of mankind's most glorious achievements, rather than one of its deepest tragedies.
Catherine Thimmesh took on an enormous mission in researching Team Moon.
Devoting time to reading, interviewing, watching videos, listening to tapes, and researching photos, she collected many remarkable stories of those involved in the Apollo 11 effort.
Catherine lives in Plymouth, Minnesota, with her husband and two young children.
She is the author of Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women; The Sky's the Limit: Stories of Discovery by Women and Girls; and Madam President: The True, Extraordinary (and Evolving) Story of Women in Politics.
When she isn't writing, Catherine enjoys playing with her kids, reading (new favorite author: Zadie Smith), and traveling (especially to warm locales in the winter).
And what started as a lark has now become a passionate hobby once a week the author can be found hanging upside down and flipping off the flying trapeze at circus school.