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  Light This Candle

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Author Topic:   Light This Candle
Ed Krutulis
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posted 01-31-2004 11:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed Krutulis   Click Here to Email Ed Krutulis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi all,

Just got my copy of Air & Space mag and in the back was a review of a new book about Al Shepard. Looks like it could be an interesting read, especially about Shepard's post astro career. I looked it up on the net and it will be released on March 23, 2004. Light This Candle: Life and Times of Alan Shepard, America's First Astronaut by Neal Thompson. Crown Publishers.

Scott
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posted 01-31-2004 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great title!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 01-31-2004 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is "Light This Candle" on Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0609610015/collectspace/

SRB
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posted 02-01-2004 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like a great book. I can hardly wait to see them sold on eBay with in person autographs by Shepard himself.

Steve

eurospace
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posted 02-02-2004 05:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SRB:
Looks like a great book. I can hardly wait to see them sold on eBay with in person autographs by Shepard himself.

Steve


Don't forget the questions on this site asking whether and when Shepard would undertake a book signing tour! ;-)


------------------
Jürgen P Esders
Berlin, Germany
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Astroaddies

Ed Krutulis
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posted 03-25-2004 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ed Krutulis   Click Here to Email Ed Krutulis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Just received my copy via Amazon.com.

So far, very interesting & entertaining !!!!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-26-2004 07:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An interview with Neal Thompson, author of "Light This Candle" is now online:

http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-032604a.html

mensax
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posted 03-26-2004 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great interview Robert. Thank you!

Noah

TrueNorth
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posted 03-26-2004 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TrueNorth   Click Here to Email TrueNorth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good stuff, Robert. It sounds like a great read. But where is the "Pearlman Review"?

John

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-26-2004 10:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thompson writes with a brisk, engaging voice that lends nicely to Shepard's story. He injects first-hand accounts into the narrative flow of the biography, providing insight into how events early in Shepard's life would affect later decisions. I especially enjoyed reading of Shepard's pre- and post-NASA life, of which I knew very little (such as the fact that he and his wife were neighbors with former President and Mrs. Bush).

As I raised in the interview, the 'In Space' section of "Candle" steps back from Shepard's personal story to tell of the larger space race. History enthusiasts will be familiar with many of these stories, especially if you have read the other astronaut biographies and titles from which Thompson cites, but they are enjoyable to read again here. There are few factual errors (such as describing the service module engine as responsible for TLI [as opposed to the S-IVB]) but they are not overly distracting.

The rivalry and friendship between John Glenn and Alan Shepard runs throughout the book. Much has been written and said of Buzz Aldrin's desire to be the first man on the Moon, but there are parallels to be drawn with how Glenn and Shepard jockeyed for the first Mercury flight and Glenn's reaction after the decision was made.

Ultimately, "Candle" imparted a greater appreciation for the brief encounter I had with Shepard in 1997, and a regret that I hadn't known more about him at the time.

FFrench
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posted 03-26-2004 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Robert, for that interesting review and the interview you did with Thompson. It sounds like a fascinating and important book, which I am eager to read.

I am not sure, however, how Thompson justifies his statement in the interview he did with you: "As it turned out, Glenn - despite his anger over losing the first flight to Shepard - got the bigger prize because his orbital flight put us ahead of the Russians for the first time."

Six months before Glenn's flight, Gherman Titov flew for over a day in space, on a 17-orbit flight, giving the USSR two orbital flights to their credit. Glenn's flight lasted three orbits and less than five hours. While it put America in the game, I don't see by any stretch of the imagination that it could be considered "ahead" - especially when the next Russian flights were the tandem Vostok 3 and 4 missions, demonstrating fast, precision launches and mission durations (almost four days for Vostok 3) far beyond Mercury's endurance capabilities.

FF

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-26-2004 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I, of course, cannot speak for Neal but will invite him to participate here. That said, in "Candle" he writes:
quote:
"Glenn's flight -- each moment of which was broadcast live on television -- had finally pulled the United States alongside the Russians in the space race. The previous summer, a few weeks after Gus Grissom's flight, the Soviets had sent their second cosmonaut, Gherman Titov, into space for a seventeen-orbit flight. But now, with Glenn's flight, the United States had edged ahead: three astronauts versus two cosmonauts."

FFrench
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posted 03-26-2004 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ah, number of flown people - okay, I can see an argument can be made there. Thanks Robert!

FF

Gilbert
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posted 03-29-2004 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I picked up a copy of Light This Candle this weekend. It is a very nice book. I've read about 100 pages so far and it ranks up there among the best astronaut biographies. It is amazing that the same story (early space exploration) can be told over and over and it is still more interesting than 99% of everything else published (IMHO).

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