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  We Seven: By The Astronauts Themselves

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Author Topic:   We Seven: By The Astronauts Themselves

Posts: 72
From: Seneca, PA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-09-2001 06:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mzieg   Click Here to Email mzieg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a book club edition of "We Seven" with a 1962 copyright, but no mention of which edition or printing it is. I'd assume it's probably a first printing given the fact there's no other designation, or one of those "countdown" string of numbers or letters to indicate such, but can someone confirm?


Posts: 969
From: South Fork, CO
Registered: Mar 2000

posted 01-09-2001 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Book Club editions in my experience don't mark what edition, what printing, etc. It's just "Book Club Edition".

Russ Still

Posts: 535
From: Atlanta, GA USA
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-10-2001 08:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ Still   Click Here to Email Russ Still     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, there were no less than two different book club editions of "We Seven." If you have a copy of "Relics of the Space Race" (Edition 2), take a look on page 140. That should help you ID which one you have.

The grey one had a particularly crappy binding job and they frequently split at the spine. Both editions are fairly common at used book stores.

Rick Boos

Posts: 850
From: Celina, Ohio
Registered: Feb 2000

posted 06-27-2007 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We Seven has always been one of my favorite books. Having said that I have often wondered why the publishers didn't hold off publishing it until the flights of Sigma and Faith 7 were completed? I always meant to ask Wally and Gordo about it but never got around to it.


Posts: 75
From: Michigan
Registered: Aug 2004

posted 06-27-2007 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman48263     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought the book a few weeks back and just finished it. I was surprised that the other flights were not included too. I thought the book was a very good read and am glad that I added it to my collection.

E2M Lem Man

Posts: 846
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 06-27-2007 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man   Click Here to Email E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I surmise that they thought that there would be more Mercury missions and that they would come out with another volume later.

It was the result of the Life Magazine deal and I have always been surprised that more articles "by the Astronauts themselves" came out.

KC Stoever

Posts: 1011
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 06-27-2007 07:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My sense of the book, which I have read, is that the volume editor (working with the publisher) was focused on covering and explaining pioneering U.S. spaceflight. Project Mercury.

All the guys submitted chapters on various subjects. The chapters covered most major aspects of the program, from the selection process to training to hardware development (the capsule) to the spacesuit, etc.

But covering each Mercury mission? The publishers didn't have to. Project Mercury was officially a success with MA-7 (a mission described as "The Confirmation" [of MA-6] in the book). And readers were clamoring for a good contemporaneous account.

Longer-duration missions were deemed necessary by NASA but not by the publisher.


Posts: 3768
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 06-28-2007 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Plus, I expect the popularity of the space program after Glenn's flight was at a real high, so the publishers wanted to act sooner instead of later. Carpenter flew before the book came out, so his mission was included too (and like Kris said, it proved Glenn's mission wasn't a fluke). That's just my guess, at least...

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 36029
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-05-2010 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for Francis French and Kris Stoever for pointing out that a new paperback edition of We Seven is about to be released:
We Seven: By the Astronauts Themselves

The pioneer astronauts who took America into space tell their personal stories about the challenges they faced -- their fears, joys, friendships, and successes.

Chosen from hundreds of crackerjack pilots for their fitness, intelligence, and courage, the original Mercury Seven astronauts risked their lives to cross the space frontier. In We Seven, they take readers behind the scenes to show them their training, technology, and teamwork, and to share personal stories, including the lighter moments of their mission. They bring readers inside the Mercury program -- even into the space capsules themselves. We Seven straps you in with the astronauts and rockets you along for the ride.

Share Alan Shepard's exhilaration as he breaks through the earth's atmosphere. Endure moments of panic with Gus Grissom when his hatch blows, stranding him in the open sea. Race with John Glenn as he makes split-second life-or-death maneuvers during reentry, and feel his relief when he emerges safe but drenched with sweat.

Despite such heroism, Project Mercury was more than the story of individual missions. It defined the manned space flight program to come, from Gemini through Apollo. In We Seven, America's original astronauts tell us firsthand -- as only they can -- about the space program they pioneered, and share with us the hopes and dreams of the U.S. at the dawn of a new era.

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439181039
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439181034


Posts: 2503
From: Stuart, Florida
Registered: Jun 2000

posted 01-05-2010 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is good news. I wonder what's prompted this?

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 36029
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-05-2010 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is only a guess (and not a great one at that), but with the 50th anniversary of Shepard's and Grissom's Mercury flights on tap for next year, I suspect publishers may be gearing up as they did starting about a year before the 50th anniversaries of Sputnik and NASA (and the more recent 40th anniversary of Apollo 11).


Posts: 1156
From: Carrollton, GA USA
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 01-05-2010 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That is good news. One can't have too many different editions of We Seven. The cover looks great!


Posts: 314
From: Kiel, Germany
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 01-06-2010 04:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can not wait. Great news.


Posts: 5439
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 01-06-2010 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had seen that new edition but didn't post because I didn't know what was the big deal about it. Is it because it has been out-of-print for a while? Or something else?


Posts: 2215
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 01-07-2010 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unless I'm suffering from a 'senior moment' I'm sure that "We Seven" was also published as "Into Orbit". Was one for the US market and one for the UK?

As I recall one chapter was "Seven miles of wire and a swizzle stick". Did any of the '7' ever use the swizzle stick?

Mike Z

Posts: 451
From: Ellicott City, Maryland
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 01-07-2010 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My father was a book rep. and his company published "We Seven" I have the original with the promo poster and the Mercury Capsule bank they sent him. Those were the very 1st space items I ever got.


Posts: 1871
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 01-08-2010 12:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, "Into Orbit" was/is the same book. In March 1963 my parents gave me "Into Orbit" for my sixteenth birthday, and within days I had written off to Cassell & Company in Melbourne (Australia) to complain about incorrect captions on two of their photos - one supposedly of John Glenn showing his son David an "Atlas engine" (in fact it was a Titan engine) and "Scott Carpenter" being winched aboard a helicopter "after his three-orbit flight" which in fact was Alan Shepard after his flight in "Freedom 7." They forwarded my letter to the parent company in London who thanked me for my letter and said they would ensure corrections were made in any subsequent editions of the book. I still have both letters in the front of my cherished copy of "Into Orbit."

I may have only been sixteen years old, but it shows how passionate I was about the subject way back then.


Posts: 1061
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 01-08-2010 05:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have an April, 1963 1st printing of the paperback (price then 75 cents) which I bought at the time.

I have heard that the book was extensively ghost-written for the guys based on interviews with them by Life magazine staff members. The Mercury 7 had signed an exclusive contract with Life for their personal stories.

The introduction is written by John Dille for Life. Does anyone know whether he was the principal ghost-writer for "We Seven?"


Posts: 208
From: Durham, NC, USA
Registered: Jun 2011

posted 08-06-2012 10:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jiffyq58   Click Here to Email jiffyq58     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently acquired a First Edition, First Printing of "We Seven" in great condition.

For those who have had these signed by any of the Mercury astronauts, what page have you had them sign on? The main title page is mostly black, so would have to be signed with a silver sharpie or something like that. Have most of you had the book signed on that page, or one of the blank pages before that?

If anyone feels like posting a scan, that would be helpful, too. Thanks!


Posts: 16
From: Scotland
Registered: Sep 2012

posted 08-04-2013 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SleeBaudrons     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've recently finished reading a copy of the old book, "We Seven" about Project Mercury. The chapters are listed as if written by the original seven astronauts themselves, but I've heard that the book was ghost-written, like the Life Magazine articles. Was this the case?

Editor's note: Threads merged.


Posts: 523
From: Delft, Netherlands
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 08-04-2013 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kirsten   Click Here to Email Kirsten     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seems to have been written by the astronauts themselves and edited by John Dille (Time). On, I found the following review by cS member Kris Stoever (guess her info is reliable!) :
Published as Project Mercury was thrilling the Free World at the height of the cold war, WE SEVEN was written by the original seven astronauts (and edited by LIFE magazine's John Dille). For researchers and space enthusiasts, the chapters offer valuable contemporaneous, first-person accounts of Project Mercury--from the men, to the machines, to the systems.

Particularly valuable are the accounts of the historic 1959 selection process (and selection medicine) at Lovelace Clinic and Wright-Patterson A.F.B. There are painstakingly technical accounts of the engineering and design work on the hardware in addition to first-person accounts of spaceflight itself, from the days when astronauts flew alone and then only briefly--for a lifetime of fame.

First military tests pilots and then engineers, the Mercury astronauts were not professional writers. The editor does a brilliant job of preserving the distinctive voices of the individual astronauts, while showcasing the highly technical subjects the men describe in WE SEVEN, a bestseller when it was first published in 1962.

A must for any spaceflight history library.

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