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  Deke! (Deke Slayton/Michael Cassutt)

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Author Topic:   Deke! (Deke Slayton/Michael Cassutt)
Jacqueline
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Posts: 344
From: UK
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 08-02-2001 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jacqueline   Click Here to Email Jacqueline     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deke Slayton has always been one of my favourite astronauts, his story about being selected as one of the Mercury 7 astronauts and then not being able to go into space must be a very compelling one. Also one of my favourite missions is Apollo/Soyuz and the fact the Deke made it into space on this particular mission after waiting so long must be one of the best stories ever told.

I have often seen the book "Deke" mentioned on this website and others. Have any of you out there read it and what did you make of it?

Dan Lorraine
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Posts: 372
From: Cranston, R.I.
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-02-2001 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Lorraine   Click Here to Email Dan Lorraine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you are so interested in Deke, why wouldn't you just buy it... if he's your guy I am sure that it will be worth it! If not, then just add it to the old collection of books!

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

posted 08-02-2001 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Deke is an excellent book. In particular his astronaut selection process train of thought. A must for the true enthusiast. Out of 5 stars I'd give it a solid 4.

Tom
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Posts: 1536
From: New York
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 08-02-2001 04:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's one of my favorite astronaut written books! It's a must if you are into the early years of human spaceflight (pre-shuttle).

I was always fascinated by the way crews were assigned to a flight and Slayton was the guy doing the choosing. There's a part in the book that I wasn't aware of until reading it. It seems that Deke was seriously thinking about assigning Jim McDivitt to Alan Shepard's crew as LMP on Apollo 13, along with Stu Roosa. McDivitt turned it down, and Shepard was assigned two rookies and was given a few extra months training and Apollo 14. Jim Lovell previously assigned to "14" moved up in rotation to Apollo 13.

I think you'll enjoy it.

tegwilym
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Posts: 2322
From: Crest Airpark (S36) Kent, WA
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 08-02-2001 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have that book, but I have read it. Good book!

jm6662
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Posts: 169
From: Kent, UK
Registered: May 2001

posted 08-02-2001 10:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jm6662   Click Here to Email jm6662     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's an excellent read, get it.

bruce
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Posts: 905
From: Fort Mill, SC, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 08-03-2001 11:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Deke!" is a great book! My sister worked with Slayton when he was heading up Slayton Energies in Houston in the 80's. I remember Deke having a sort of deep, coarse voice and as I read the book it was like I was hearing him recite each word to me! He was just a super person, inwardly sensitive, but as cool as they come (even his buddy Al Shepard "The Ice Commander" would agree to that!) and a just real no nonsense, no frills kind of guy.

Wayne and Tom are right. It's very interesting to definitively learn how he worked out the flight crew selections. I know you'll enjoy the book!

Jacqueline
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Posts: 344
From: UK
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 08-03-2001 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jacqueline   Click Here to Email Jacqueline     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks everyone, I have just ordered the book from the Astronaut Hall of Fame. I really look forward to reading Deke's story.

mark plas
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Posts: 385
From: the Netherlands
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 08-03-2001 01:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mark plas   Click Here to Email mark plas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great book! I think it is a shame he wasn't back on flight status three years before he did so he could command an lunar mission.

music_space
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Posts: 1168
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 08-11-2001 07:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a soft spot for Deke Slayton too. In Sparta, Wisconsin (the small town near which he was raised), the Monroe county museum has a small Deke Slayton Memorial Space & Bike Museum.

In the same room you have a few dozen antique and collectible bikes, then artefacts from Deke's collection. His space library is there for the perusing -- I spent a whole day there.

I like the book because it lets you share Slayton's thought process through crew assembling. Unfortunately, his illness obviously got the best of him before he could polish the conclusion...

randy
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Posts: 1937
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 03-14-2008 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just finished reading 'DEKE!' and found it to be a very good book about the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and early Shuttle programs. It was written by 'Deke' Slayton, of course, with Michael Cassutt. I got a lot of new insights into the space program by reading this, and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the space program.

capoetc
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Posts: 2044
From: Plano TX (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 03-14-2008 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Since Deke passed away before the publication of his book, I assume that he did not sign any copies. Or were there advance copies that he signed?

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 348
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 03-14-2008 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
Or were there advance copies that he signed?
None. Deke died before the final manuscript was delivered to the publisher.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 2044
From: Plano TX (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 03-15-2008 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Cassutt, thank you so much for posting what has to be THE definitive response to my question!

Henry Heatherbank
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Posts: 197
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 04-02-2011 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Was Deke! ever published and released in hardcover? Mine is softcover, but I prefer hardcover for durability/longevity. Does Michael Cassutt know?

(Great book, by the way.)

Editor's note: Threads merged.

ColinBurgess
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Posts: 1938
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 04-02-2011 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, "Deke" was first published in a hardcover version by Forge Books. You should be able to find reasonably-priced copies at AbeBooks or other online book dealers.

fredtrav
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Posts: 1549
From: Birmingham AL
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 04-02-2011 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can buy a new copy on Amazon for less than $10.

You can occasionally find copies signed by Donald Slayton and/or Mr Cassutt.

Sorry meant to say Bobbie Slayton.

Editor's note: As Michael Cassutt confirmed earlier in this thread, Deke Slayton passed away before a single copy of Deke! went to press.

Blackarrow
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Posts: 2787
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-02-2011 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The hard-back edition is a great read and an asset on any bookshelf. The red spine stands out from all those other fine space books with black spines (and even those books with black spines dotted with stars....)

Paul78zephyr
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Posts: 653
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 03-03-2012 10:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always wondered about the exclamation point in the title and if it is any reference to the way it was written - four times - by Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff as he wrote about how Gus Grissom was 'calling' for Deke during the infamous near drowning episode during his recovery after the spashdown of MR-4 ("Deke!...where was Deke!"). What do you think?

(By the way, it's on page 239 in my old paperback copy).

Michael Cassutt
Member

Posts: 348
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 03-03-2012 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes. In fact, we used the Wolfe passage in the front matter of the book.

ApolloAlex
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Posts: 390
From: Yeovil, England
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 03-04-2012 05:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ApolloAlex   Click Here to Email ApolloAlex     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ironically enough I am reading this book and find it very interesting with Deke's experiences in regards to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, his involvement in ASTP.

It was also a good touch with the other voices of such people as Charles Berry, Gene Cernan and Kent Slayton and he also comes across as a boss who defended you to the hilt but woe betide anyone who crossed him or put him in a precarious position with either management or the Public.

randy
Member

Posts: 1937
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 03-04-2012 10:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I bought it and read it. It's well worth the time and money.

Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 653
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 03-05-2012 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Cassutt:
In fact, we used the Wolfe passage in the front matter of the book.
Thank you Mr. Cassutt for the response and a wonderful book.

HistorianMom
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Posts: 103
From: Columbia, Missouri USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 03-05-2012 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for HistorianMom   Click Here to Email HistorianMom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fredtrav:
You can occasionally find copies signed by Donald Slayton and/or Mr Cassutt.
Unfortunately you sometimes CAN find people on eBay who are selling "autographed" copies by Deke. He also seems to come back from the grave from time to time to sign copies of "Moonshot."

fredtrav
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Posts: 1549
From: Birmingham AL
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 03-05-2012 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have seen those as well, especially Moonshot. I did revise my original post. I had made a mistake when I said signed by Donald Slayton. I had meant to say signed by Bobbie Slayton. My copy is signed by both Bobbie Slayton and Michael Cassutt on an attached bookplate. I purchased it on Amazon several years ago for something less than $10.

It is a very good read and I do recommend it.

dom
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Posts: 745
From:
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 02-22-2018 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael, I can't believe it's taken me 25 years to read it but I've just finished this superb book. I really felt I was "in the room" for much of the office politics of Apollo.

I'd always thought of Slayton as a bully who missed his chance to fly and took it out on the younger astronauts. After reading this auto/biography I couldn't have been more wrong. He really comes across as a gentle giant but were you constrained in how you portrayed him because you were his official biographer?

As a writer I'm interested in the process of putting the book together. You mention a few hours of face-to-face interviews plus follow-up discussions on the phone when Slayton was ill with cancer. Did you get enough info directly from him or did you have to find the stories from other sources?

Michael Cassutt
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Posts: 348
From: Studio City CA USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 02-24-2018 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Cassutt   Click Here to Email Michael Cassutt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the kind words, even if they took 25 years to arrive! There were moments where I relied on basic history, of course. And several of those cited as Other Voices provided insights here and there. But most of the material came from Deke himself, both in person, on the phone, and in some cases, from his own written documents.

All times are CT (US)

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