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  The Real Space Cowboys (Buckbee, Schirra)

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Author Topic:   The Real Space Cowboys (Buckbee, Schirra)
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-29-2004 10:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Coming from Apogee Books in June 2005:

"The Real Space Cowboys"
by Ed Buckbee with Wally Schirra

In 1959, seven U.S. military fighter pilots were selected to train as America's first astronauts. Alan Shepard, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Deke Slayton would become known as the Mercury Seven (M7). These men, who had jockeyed for the best flying jobs in the military, began competing for rides on rockets. Most would eventually vie for the ultimate ride to the moon.

The author Ed Buckbee, who has enjoyed a 40+ year association with the U.S. manned space flight program, follows these brave men who pioneered the U.S. space program. Through time and personal friendships, he captures dreams of flying higher, faster and farther than anyone in the known universe. Readers are invited behind the scenes to witness the competition between chimpanzees and astronauts, and the conflict between NASA engineers designing capsules and those who would pilot them. Through this book, readers feel the collective will of a nation to defeat the Russians in an all-out space race via an American team of 400,000 engineers, technicians, astronauts and support personnel who performed as if the country were at war.

The eras of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo-- these were times of nobility and humility, but also times of arrogance, tension, and from time-to-time, humor. "Gotcha's" were commonplace astronaut pranks and a dubious answer to the question, "Are you a turtle?" resulted in a healthy bar tab.

In Wernher von Braun, discover a man who was committed to living in a new frontier. His words, "late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise," are a testament to multi-tasking. Von Braun, the German-born rocket scientist and visionary of space flight, convinced presidents and congressmen to spend millions exploring space for peaceful purposes.

But what of our first space heroes after the Apollo program was completed? Accepting the call of Project Mercury meant a lifetime commitment. Their work continued with motivational programs for youth through the U.S. Space Camp programs, public programs at institutions such as the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, and others. The author himself shared the task of motivating the next generation through creation of U.S. Space Camp and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Shepard is a prominent figure in the book. Together, he and the author prepared anniversary presentations, articles and TV interviews. They traveled to seven countries and more than twenty-five states marketing and opening Space Camps. They designed, developed and built the U. S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. As Shepard proclaimed upon Buckbee's retirement from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, "He's a space relic. We need to keep him and put him on exhibit in that space museum and when he dies, bury him next to that damn monkey."

Bonus CD-ROM inlcludes anecdotes and rare film footage.


Posts: 1181
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 12-30-2004 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ed Buckbee gave a presentation here last year on the anniversary of Shepard's Mercury flight which was really great, and has me really excited about his book.

Buckbee intimately knows the personalities of the original astronauts and captures them well.


Posts: 821
From: Sandpoint, ID, USA
Registered: Mar 2003

posted 01-30-2007 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After a long time of wanting this book, I got it for my birthday late last year. I finished the book a while ago, but finally got around to finishing watching the DVD today. I think this is an outstanding book and DVD.

For some reason (that is no longer clear to me) I expected this book to have more Schirra than it did, and I must confess to have had very little knowledge of Buckbee before reading the book. The book is mostly Buckbee, and I have an enormous appreciation for the man now.

There's actually a lot about Shepard in the book, maybe more than there is about Schirra. (If you don't have "Schirra's Space", you really need to get it.)

I was enormously interested in the information about von Braun, and although I am fully aware about the controversy surrounding the man, I think my next area of interest is to learn more about him. Those who are interested will find a lot about him in both the book and the DVD.

The DVD is wonderful. I especially liked the gotcha's about Shepard and Apollo 12 and the film about the lighthouse at the Cape.

If there's anybody out there that waited longer than me, I encourage you to get off the fence. You'll be glad you did.


Posts: 555
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 01-31-2007 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I too have (and enjoyed) "The Real Space Cowboys," and the DVD is a treat. I was happy to finally get to see the Alan Shepard "Gotcha!" film after hearing so much about it.

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