Reviews, Articles, and Interviews
Shoot for the Moon
“Donovan impressively chronicles the Space Race . . . Exceptionally researched . . . Exciting, sometimes harrowing . . . A perfect volume to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing and all that led up to it.”
The countdown has begun. It's T-minus a month or so until the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 — and humanity's first and famous steps on another world...
Author James Donovan took viewer phone calls about the Space Race and the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. He spoke at the 2019 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
The Apollo 11 mission is a story of imagination, determination and the stuff of legend. James Donovan pilots us thru this extraordinary story covering Myths and more.
“Donovan combines his masterful research skills and narrative gifts in recounting the full story of the most famous Apollo trip . . . A powerfully written and irresistible celebration of the Apollo missions.”
Donovan shares how he unearthed new and little known details of the mission from his exhaustive research and interviews with veterans of the Apollo program.
[Donovan] puts the space program’s current and past relevance in perspective and reveals little known astronaut tidbits such as the story of Buzz Aldrin smuggling aboard a tiny vial of wine so he could take communion in space.
Rather than the start of a heroic era of manned exploration of the cosmos, the moonshot turned out to be a brief, shining moment of American courage and competence.
Even with 50 years’ hindsight, we may not yet fully realize the moonshot’s true worth. But an attempt at understanding how the manned space program began, and why, can provide a starting point.
By March 1966, the Gemini program, designed to perfect techniques that would be required for the Apollo lunar landing, was in full swing.
I think in the far future, the 20th century will be known for maybe three or four things. Two world wars; the atom bomb and harnessing the atom; and the first time a human stepped on another celestial body besides ours.
New book 'Shoot for the Moon' earns praise from Apollo 11 astronaut
Dallas-based historian Donovan finds fresh things to say about the events—as when, for instance, he recounts Buzz Aldrin’s constant lobbying to be the first to set foot on the moon, a campaign that his peers found tedious but not entirely unseemly.
The Blood of Heroes
The Wall Street Journal
“The best narrative history of the Alamo since Walter Lord's 1961 classic, A Time to Stand.”
“Stirring…combines strong narrative chops with exhaustive research.”
The Dallas Morning News
“Trust the Facts,” an essay by the author on the importance of distinguishing historical facts from myths.
The Dallas Morning News
“A mighty book.”
“Mr. Donovan's gripping book is history at its best--exactingly sourced and written with a vividness that challenges you to put it down.”
The San Antonio Express-News
“One of the best accounts ever of the Alamo siege….Donovan establishes historical background, then punctuates it with biographies….Using this approach [he] effectively builds drama.”
“The best book on the battle of the Alamo . . . Donovan has a splendid sense of historical narrative.”
MHQ (Military History Quarterly)
“James Donovan’s The Blood of Heroes provides not only a synthesis of previous work but also excellent new material from the byways and nuances of Alamo history. The result is surely the best account to date.”
“The best book on the battle.”
Article on the author and the book, with a list of important Alamo sources.
“Donovan develops the same kind of excellent read for Alamo aficionados that he earlier did for Custer/Little Bighorn fans….Donovan handles the 13-day siege, the final deadly March 6, 1836, assault and its aftermath in fine fashion.”
“The Blood of Heroes is an authoritative, moving retelling of an enduring episode of sacrifice and courage.”
San Angelo Standard Times
An insightful Q-and-A about the book.
A Terrible Glory
"Well-balanced and informative, A Terrible Glory comes closer to deciphering exactly what happened on the banks of the Little Bighorn River than any recent account. Monumental in its scope and gripping in its narrative, A Terrible Glory is history at its best."
Los Angeles Times
"A Terrible Glory is probably as close as we're going to get to knowing what happened."
"Exhaustive research, lively prose, and fresh interpretation make for a valuable addition to literature on this historical event."
Dallas Morning News
"James Donovan's expansive approach to the battle has resulted in the most memorable, readable, maybe best book on it to date. . . . The author is an adept biographer [and] provides astute portrayals of Custer and his engaging wife. . . . The Custer battle has never been as vividly and comprehensively told as in A Terrible Glory."