Purdue University Press releases book of letters to Neil Armstrong


WEST LAFAYETTE — A new book penned by James R. Hansen, author of the only authorized biography of Neil Armstrong, gives readers a glimpse into Armstrong’s life through the words of others.

Hansen has selected and edited a sampling of letters and cards that were sent to Armstrong, a Purdue University alumnus, in his newest book “Dear Neil Armstrong: Letters to the First Man from All Mankind.”

Armstrong received hundreds of thousands of cards and letters from all over the world after his historic moon landing in 1969. About 75,000 of those letters are housed in Purdue Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections — and nearly 400 of them are being published in Hansen’s new book.

The collection illustrates Armstrong’s impact following the moon landing and the cultural meanings of commercial spaceflight.

Hansen, professor emeritus of history at Auburn University, authored Armstrong’s biography “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.” Hansen donated 55 hours of one-on-one tape-recorded interviews with the famed astronaut to Purdue’s Archives and Special Collections. The book spent three weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.

“Dear Neil Armstrong: Letters to the First Man from All Mankind” can be purchased on the Purdue University Press website (thepress.purdue.edu) and at all major bookstores.