Smith's notion of finding the men who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 is brilliant, necessary (only nine of the 12 are still alive) and wonderfully realised. The ironic thing about this brief adventure is that it was only the straightest of individuals who made the biggest trip of the psychedelic era.
None came away unmarked by the experience. Neil Armstrong retreated from the world, while Edgar Mitchell experienced a "flash of understanding" that sent his life on a spiritual tangent. Smith gives a vivid and transporting account of lunar exploration.
In a new afterword to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing, Smith suggests his journey among the astronauts will have been "shared in the minds of anyone who pondered the subject", but we are fortunate that it was tackled by such a humane and humorous writer.