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Author Topic:   Astronaut John Young's autobiography (memoirs)
DChudwin
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posted 08-15-2006 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the UACC meeting in San Antonio a veteran astronaut told me that John Young is busy writing a book. "He's wearing out a lot of pencils."

Many have suggested that Young write his memoirs because of the length of tenure at NASA starting in 1962. In past years he has stated that he had no plans for such a book. Apparently in retirement he has second thoughts.

mjanovec
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posted 08-15-2006 09:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Young signed for Novaspace in May 2005, he told them he was writing a book. But there was no mention of when it would be released.

I wonder if Young is penning the book by himself or whether he will employ a ghost writer to help him.

Dwayne Day
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posted 08-15-2006 09:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope he uses a ghostwriter. It helps to have a scribe put thoughts into a coherent narrative.

That said, I don't have high hopes for such a memoir. There's a lot of things that I'd like to see Young discuss candidly, such as management of the astronaut office in the 1980s and his response to Challenger. See Mike Mullane's book for an impolite perspective on Young.

bruce
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posted 08-19-2006 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having been privileged (?) to have read some of John Young's sometimes blistering emails while he was at NASA, I can vouch for his ability to write rather succinctly when it comes to expressing thoughts and opinions. If his book writing style in any way mimics his emails, the book should be a most interesting read!

Blackarrow
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posted 08-20-2006 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it's true that he is now writing his memoirs, that really is great news. John Young's career, through Gemini, Apollo and the shuttle, is unique and deserves to be put down on paper. If it appears, I will definitely buy it, sight unseen.

CJBINCO
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posted 04-24-2007 11:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJBINCO   Click Here to Email CJBINCO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone know anything about Captain Young's so called forthcoming book? How many are 'chomping on the bit' in regards to this?

mjanovec
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posted 04-24-2007 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CJBINCO:
Anyone know anything about Captain Young's so called forthcoming book? How many are 'chomping on the bit' in regards to this?

Novaspace reported that he had a first draft completed as of January 2007. I don't know how long the editing process usually takes, but it sounds like progress is being made. It might also depend somewhat on finding a publisher (shouldn't be too hard, hopefully) and when the publisher wants to release it.

SRB
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posted 04-24-2007 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If John Young writes it, with or without help, I'll get on line to buy it and read every word. Maybe he'll even sell autographed copies.

E2M Lem Man
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posted 04-24-2007 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As one who has been around the good captain a few times I am often amazed about the emotions that John Young raises. He is either loved or hated even by some that have flown with him on spaceflights. As a test pilot I would think that his strong feelings would be welcomed by those who care and by those who believe in crew safety.

But.... tell us what you know or think?

chappy
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posted 04-24-2007 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When the book comes out written by John Young, I definitely will buy it to read and hope that the real truth will come out since the Challenger disaster, which he was 'removed' from his office over his leaked memos. It should be a very interesting book to read. Its got to be the book that the whole thing will be revealed during his 42 years at NASA.

kyra
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posted 04-25-2007 11:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kyra   Click Here to Email kyra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Young has a very good sense of being able to "see the forest through the trees" and make very profound observations with a dry wit. In fact it was his article with Robert Crippen that inspired my space interests years ago !

His style is usually not very emotional at the surface, but he gets you to thinking - then Pow! - you get hit with the emotion after realizing the implications of what he says. I would bet those that hate him are inclined to let emotions or sentimentality override intellect. That causes a blindness to see things as they are. (Don't shoot the messenger) When the Challenger memos circulated I was thinking "Is he the only one who gets it? I see an administrator in the making, but they'll probably punish him for it instead. He's heroic even at the desk in just plain saying what needed to be said!"

I can relate to him more than any other M-G-A era astronaut - so here's one to look forward to that can read with left over things to ponder.

jrkeller
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posted 04-26-2007 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jrkeller   Click Here to Email jrkeller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On page 123 of SP-4027 Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1986-90:Chronology of Science, Technology, and Policy, John Young states that he was forced to resign as chief of the astronaut office because of his frequent criticism of NASA safety policies after Challenger.

Link to the pdf

funkygirlauca
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posted 06-18-2007 11:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for funkygirlauca   Click Here to Email funkygirlauca     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any news on the John Young autobiography? There was talk of it late last year and around the Novaspace signing but haven't heard any more.

Kim, any news?

Dwayne Day
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posted 06-19-2007 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jrkeller:
On page 123 of SP-4027 Astronautics and Aeronautics, 1986-90:Chronology of Science, Technology, and Policy, John Young states that he was forced to resign as chief of the astronaut office because of his frequent criticism of NASA safety policies after Challenger.
Yeah, he says that, but apparently the truth is much more complicated.

From what I have heard--all third-hand, of course--many people considered Young to be part of the problem _before_ the accident. He made it clear through actions and words that shuttle safety was not really a priority. Then the Challenger accident happened and suddenly he tried to assume the role of safety hero. It didn't work for him because too many people knew what he had done before the accident.

The only example that I can think of offhand was a comment by somebody who said that they saw Young walk out of meetings concerning shuttle safety. He's always been a bit of a grumpy old man (witness his recent disparaging comments about the Ares I and Orion). Supposedly he would show up for a meeting on shuttle safety, stay a little while, and then announce that the whole thing was a waste of time and get up and leave. His actions then indicated to the rest of the astronaut office that nobody needed to attend shuttle safety meetings (outside of their actual training, that is).

chappy
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posted 09-27-2007 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be very interesting to see what Young's written in his book, also to find the real reason for him to be 'removed' from the chief astronaut duty into different level. I'll be very interested to get his book when it's come out in public. Does anyone know when it will come out in public?

OWL
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posted 10-17-2007 01:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any further news on John Young's autobiography?

John Youskauskas
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posted 10-17-2007 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John Youskauskas     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not very encouraging, but when he spoke at Spacefest, he was asked this question, and responded that he really had not made much progress on it...

Blackarrow
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posted 12-13-2007 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has John Young completed his memoirs? Does anyone have any idea when they might be published? Is there a title?

FFrench
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posted 12-13-2007 09:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've been reading John Young's memoirs for a few days now. I never knew he'd had such an exciting life. I've read the parts about him being a trail driver, hog chaser, sheriff, ranger, horse thief killer, prairie fire fighter, and ranch manager, and I'm wondering when we are going to get to the part about NASA...

Jay Chladek
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posted 12-13-2007 10:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for that Francis, I want to see you try to get astronaut John Young to autograph that book!

Lou Chinal
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posted 12-14-2007 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
I've been reading John Young's memoirs for a few days now.
Now I know how John Young got the first Gemini flight - he threatened to hang Deke!

carmelo
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posted 12-23-2007 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
News about Young's memoirs?

ColinBurgess
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posted 12-23-2007 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This always reminds me of that scene in the Charlton Heston movie about Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, with Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) continually asking, "Hey Michelangelo, when-a you make-a the finish?" To which he rudely retorts from the scaffolding, "When I'm-a done!"

OWL
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posted 01-05-2008 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OWL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any news of John Young's autobiography yet?

FFrench
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posted 01-05-2008 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you read the October post on this thread where it essentially says he has only just begun it, I doubt there is going to be anything much new to report only three months later.

This is the kind of question perhaps to ask a year or so from now, if at all - as I am sure, if there is any news, it will be posted here anyway.

astronut
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posted 06-24-2008 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm sure it's been asked but I haven't followed these pages as much since I retired, but if/when is John Young going to write a book on his historic career? I don't think any astronaut out there past or present has seen more of America's space program than John Young.

Just curious.

chappy
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posted 01-31-2009 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chappy   Click Here to Email chappy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do anybody know that astronaut John Young had wrote his memoirs yet? Do anyone know any of his books are out on the shelves?

I will be grateful if anyone replied back to me, cheers.

GoesTo11
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posted 02-02-2009 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really hope John Young completes his memoirs, if he is indeed still working on them. No one else can match the breadth of his spaceflight experience.

Personally, I'd also be very interested in his recollections of his time as Chief of Astronauts. I know he wasn't terribly popular with his peers in that capacity, and I'd love to get his "take" on the events of those years. Fingers crossed...

dss65
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posted 02-04-2009 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you. I think Young is a rather enigmatic figure, and it's always interesting to get the other side of a story. I can scarcely imagine a more unique and interesting perspective of this portion of our history.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-05-2009 02:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having just read Mullane's Riding Rockets (great book), it really would be interesting to read JY's take on events! George Abbey's memoirs would be an equally intriguing conuterpoint.

GoesTo11
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posted 02-05-2009 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
Having just read Mullane's Riding Rockets (great book), it really would be interesting to read JY's take on events! George Abbey's memoirs would be an equally intriguing conuterpoint.
Paul, it was "Riding Rockets" that really piqued my interest in the subject as well. I was aware of the tension between the astronaut corps and their management, especially in the wake of the Challenger tragedy, but not its extent or depth...Col. Mullane's book was a real eye-opener.

Through my readings on the subject, I've come to perceive John Young as a brilliant engineer and astronaut, but a poor manager of people. His perspective on NASA as an organization during the early Shuttle years would no doubt be fascinating. And yes, I'd also snap up an Abbey memoir in a heartbeat, but from what I know of his personality, I somehow doubt that there's one forthcoming.

Jay Chladek
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posted 02-07-2009 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Concerning Abbey, I don't think he's going to write a book. His psychological style seems to be "keep them guessing" based on his tenures at JSC. As such, I have a feeling he's going to stay quiet on things he experienced rather then write about them. Enigma is part of Abbey's reputation.

Young sounds to me like he suffered in a typical middle management position during his chief astronaut days. By that point, the chief astronaut position had been pruned a bit from the days of Deke Slayton's word being law and part of that had to do with guys like Abbey who did the crew assignments. As such, John did the job he figured he had to do (ramp up shuttle's flight schedule to 12 launches a year) and went on with it until he got a wakeup call (Challenger).

Astronaut responsibilities at the time (the early shuttle days) seemed to be more a deal of fly the vehicle, do the stuff on orbit and let the engineers sort out the data they were seeing and let management decide if it was safe to fly. That is essentially what lead to the breakdown in communication prior to STS-51L as mission control was out of the loop on the discussions taking place at the higher management level to launch on that cold January day or not. As such, Young was at fault, but at the same time as much a victim as anyone else in the wake of what came after. Unfortunately, he seemed to take out his frustrations on those under him while at the same time trying to be the safety advocate and it cost him his chief astronaut title.

Now if you read Tom Jones' autobiography "Sky Walking," it picks up pretty much right where "Riding Rockets" left off. He paints a different picture of John Young as John seemed to be a bit different when he was out of the role of chief astronaut. He still was heavily involved with shuttle related items, but I think by not having the responsibility as chief astronaut helped him to lighten up a bit more while still keeping his edge as a guy who questioned things.

Tom Jones mentions in the book a shuttle ascent sim where John was in the CDR position and Tom was in back as MS1 with one of his classmates as MS2, a guy who formerly worked at NASA the simulation and training department before he got the call to become an astronaut. The ascent had no programmed failures in it as it was just a run through to show the ASCANs what a normal ascent sim looked like. Well, the other MS reached up and shut off one of the SSMEs when John wasn't looking and as a result, the mission became a TAL abort. So after landing, John somewhat sternly asks why a failure was thrown in and the simsup over the comm mentioned he had nothing to do with it and they weren't sure why it happened. Tom is trying to make himself look very small in the seat as his buddy finally chimes in with a smile on his face that he was the one who shut an engine off on purpose. At that point, John apparently just cracked a big smile and started laughing as he appreciated the practical joke that was played on him. Its a funny story to read.

RichieB16
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posted 08-13-2009 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for RichieB16   Click Here to Email RichieB16     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone know if Young's Memoirs are going to be published in the foreseeable future?

Tyler
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posted 08-21-2009 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tyler   Click Here to Email Tyler     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am Tyler, a graduate student who just entered Auburn University’s Ph.D. history program. I met Dr. James Hansen at his office yesterday, and I’ve got some details to share on a potential John Young autobiography. I asked him to sign my copy of First Man, and then I told him of my interest in doing some dissertation work on Young’s career.

At the mention of this he chuckled, and told me about Young’s plans to write his own book. Apparently Young’s original plan was to write his memoir on his own, with no ghostwriter assisting him. But having written a modest amount, he solicited Dr. Hansen’s help recently in improving the writing and historical details of Young’s manuscript. Dr. Hansen told me that he’s under an 18 month contract to assist in this project. He’s a very busy man, being the director of the honors college here and having participated in the Apollo 11 fortieth anniversary celebrations this summer. But evidently 2011 would be a reasonable year to expect a John Young memoir to be published.

Anyway, I look forward to hopefully working with Dr. Hansen in the future and writing a space history Ph.D. I will have to decide whether my idea to write about Young is a good option or not.

GoesTo11
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posted 08-21-2009 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tyler: Thanks for sharing... That's very good news indeed. I'd been hoping that Young hadn't discarded his effort to write a memoir; his unmatched breadth of experience as an astronaut (not to mention his famously impenetrable personality) should make this a fascinating read. I'm also glad to hear Dr. Hansen is assisting him. Thanks again and good luck with your studies.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 08-21-2009 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder if John Young's autograph will skyrocket outrageously after the release of his book as Neil Armstrong's did?

AstroAutos
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posted 08-21-2009 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Judging by his current Novaspace fee of $495, I think it already has skyrocketed!

minipci
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posted 08-22-2009 05:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for minipci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But could John Young ever sign his memoirs for just the cost of the book as other astronauts have done when they have published a book, e.g. Buzz Aldrin and Alan Bean? Or would he decline to do so outright?

AJ
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posted 08-22-2009 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there any reason why he wouldn't? I know his fee is steep and he doesn't do many autograph signings, but book signings are a great way to sell books. I think it would be in the best interests of him and the publisher to have some; if it's not something he wants to do a lot of, maybe he would do something special at KSC? I daresay that Buzz's new book would not sell nearly as many copies if it weren't for all the signings he's been doing.

Spacefest
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posted 08-23-2009 04:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacefest   Click Here to Email Spacefest     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good question. While most publishers REQUIRE a book signing tour as part of the publishing deal. Young is not really a "people person" like Buzz or Bean. He would not hold up well under such travel demands and glad-handing.

There has been talk of posthumous publication to avoid this. Or, self-publication.


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