The semicentennial of the Apollo 11 mission is one of those anniversaries that involves a good deal of forgetfulness.
It was not a big hit, at least until John Glenn used it during his five hours in orbit in 1962.
Pappas is an award-winning science reporter, and a number of chapters are in the genre of inventor profiles or product biographies.
But they open up into sketches of how the technical problems and innovations involved in the moon mission linked up with (mainly) American trends in Cold War-era political and consumer culture.
Popular technophilia took a different path once home computers became available, making Pappas’s book a sort of guided tour of a lost world.
The chapters are digressive but fairly self-contained, and James Spiller (a professor of history at State University of New York at Brockport) writes in his foreword that they “whirl with greater energy than standard historical accounts.” Their sequence is not noticeably linear.