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Ratings and Book Reviews (3 20 star ratings
3 reviews
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  • Compelling story from Apollo's decision-makers

    The three authors were woven into the unfolding history of manned space flight. They tell a story with candour and with insight no others could. The journey, though well-worn by other authors, is illuminated by the personal and political insight of Slayton and Shepard, both 'Original Seven' Mercury astronauts who had a front-row seat as both observers and participants from before Gagarin's first pace flight to the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz link-up between the old USSR and the USA. It is the human and political insight, both American and NASA politics, that sets their narrative apart, along with the polished story-telling expertise of long-time space journalism veteran Jay Barbree. It is Barbree's shaping that blends the two astronauts' (especially Slayton's) legendary bluntness into a story that paints the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, all blown into larger-than-life heroes in their day, with their deeper human dimensions. The reader often wishes the story had been able to go on a little longer. For example, the final three Apollo missions: 15, 16 and 17, were the apex of the U.S. manned space program, and might have received greater in-depth analysis of the enduring science and data, as well as some recollections of three crews that each spent the equivalent of a long weekend on the lunar surface. The deep-space EVAs (spacewalks) on those missions are also worthy of more treatment. As the book closes, they excoriate the Obama administration for the wind-down of the space shuttle program. The typical reader didn't know that. The authors might have provided a little more detail into the decisions, and the alternatives to them. All in all, however, this is a book that any serious student of the early days of space exploration simply must read. It is the 'why' and 'how' to the normal 'who,' 'what,' 'when' and 'where' that history already records.

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  • Vivid account of our finest hours

    This is a very personal and dramatic telling of an amazing time in our human story. I hope it will inspire us to return to our better nature and leave behind our small preoccupations.

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  • 20th century Space race

    Billions wee spent in beating 'the ruskis' in space. Heroic. But millions were dying from hunger and our home planet suffered devastating pollution. Woulbn't a couple of robots have done the job on the cheap? No answer on such questions here. Just plain astronauts view on space.

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