First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrongis the first and only authorised biography of one of America's most celebrated yet enigmatic heroes, Neil Armstrong. It is considered the definitive biography of Armstrong and lauded for the way Hansen addresses the complex legacy of Armstrong as both an astronaut and an individual. On 20 July 1969, the world stood still to watch 38-year-old astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first person ever to walk on the Moon. Perhaps no words in recent human history became better known than those few he uttered at that historic moment. Upon his return to Earth, Armstrong was honoured and celebrated for his achievement. But he was also misunderstood. As authorised biographer James Hansen reveals in this fascinating and important book, it was the act of flying that had driven Armstrong rather than the pull of the destination, from his distinguished career as a fighter pilot in the Korean War right through to his most famous mission.
Drawing on flight logs, family interviews, NASA archives and over 125 original interviews with key participants, First Man vividly re-creates Armstrong's life and career, from the heights of honour earned as a naval aviator, test pilot and astronaut, to the dear personal price paid by Armstrong and, even more so, by his wife and children, for his dedication to his vocation. It is a unique portrait of a great but reluctant hero.