Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Publications & Multimedia
  'Must have' astronaut (auto)biographies

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   'Must have' astronaut (auto)biographies
Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 03-18-2011 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Which astronaut (auto)biographies do you consider are essential for your bookshelf?

Amongst many I think "Apollo: An Eyewitness Account" by Alan Bean, "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" by James Hansen and "Carrying the Fire" by Michael Collins should be included.

GoesTo11
Member

Posts: 1025
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 03-18-2011 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd add The All-American Boys by Walt Cunningham, and Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane. Both are well-written, engaging, and VERY candid memoirs that effectively convey the personal experience of spaceflight, as well as unfiltered perspectives on the people and politics of NASA and the space program.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1571
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-18-2011 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All American Boys is also available on CD read by Walt himself. I find his reading to be first rate and it adds another dimension to this excellent book.

J.L
Member

Posts: 388
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 03-18-2011 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would go with Cunningham and Mullane as top reads. Collins a very close second.

fredtrav
Member

Posts: 913
From: Birmingham AL USA
Registered: Aug 2010

posted 03-18-2011 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think all of them are essential. Some are better than others, but I don't know of any that I would not want. Each gives their own unique perspective. That being said, not all are equal in terms of quality either writing or information.

If you are talking about the best of the biographies, then Carrying the Fire is tops followed by the All American Boys.

icarkie
Member

Posts: 616
From: BURTON ON TRENT /England
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 03-18-2011 02:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Michael Cassutt 'Deke' was my first. Cracking read by the way.

GoesTo11
Member

Posts: 1025
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 03-19-2011 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Deke! should definitely be on any "short list" of astronaut books.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 03-19-2011 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have not read "Deke", but following your recommendations I have now ordered a copy from Amazon.

J.L
Member

Posts: 388
From: Bloomington, Illinois, USA
Registered: May 2005

posted 03-19-2011 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree... DEKE is in the top 5. A great read.

icarkie
Member

Posts: 616
From: BURTON ON TRENT /England
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 03-19-2011 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
I have not read "Deke", but following your recommendations I have now ordered a copy from Amazon.
Enjoy, mate you will not be disappointed. I brought it a few years back, seeing this post I might just re-read it again.

BEFreeman
Member

Posts: 24
From: Oak Ridge, TN 37830
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 03-19-2011 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BEFreeman   Click Here to Email BEFreeman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My high school astronomy students enjoy Two Sides of the Moon by Dave Scott & Alexei Leonov; Last Man on the Moon by Eugene Cernan; For Spacious Skies by Scott Carpenter & Kris Stoever; My Dream of Stars by Anousheh Ansari & Homer Hickam and Off The Planet by Jerry Linenger.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 03-20-2011 06:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a tip for the younger ones (alas not me)in our group who grew up in the shuttle era. "Riding rockets" by Mike Mullane is a very good insight and read about more recent times.

onesmallstep
Member

Posts: 508
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 03-22-2011 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Add 'Countdown' by Frank Borman and 'Light This Candle: The Life and Times of Alan Shepard' by Neal Thompson. The last book is a warts-all profile of an iconic but complex man, and the ending is sure to stay with you no matter what your opinion of him..

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1705
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 03-22-2011 08:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by onesmallstep:
Add ... and 'Light This Candle: The Life and Times of Alan Shepard' by Neal Thompson. ...

Regarding Light This Candle, I would recommend getting the paperback edition, which corrected some (but not all) of the more egregious flaws in the hardcover version.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 04-19-2011 02:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have just finished reading "Deke". As you said, it's an excellent account and was well worth getting.

Henry Heatherbank
Member

Posts: 146
From: Adelaide, South Australia
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 04-19-2011 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
  1. Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

  2. Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

  3. Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

  4. All American Boys by Walt Cunningham

  5. Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane.
Most of the rest are variants of these, in one way or another.

p51
Member

Posts: 771
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 10-10-2011 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
Just a tip for the younger ones (alas not me) in our group who grew up in the shuttle era. "Riding rockets" by Mike Mullane is a very good insight and read about more recent times.
I just finished it and I was sad for it to be over. I've never read a book where you actually felt that part of something. It's an amazing book, filled with all kinds of insights into NASA and little details of flying into space I never thought of.

lm5eagle
Member

Posts: 391
From:
Registered: Jul 2007

posted 10-10-2011 03:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lm5eagle   Click Here to Email lm5eagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Henry Heatherbank:
  • Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins
  • All American Boys by Walt Cunningham
  • Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane.

I absolutely and totally agree with the choice of these three magnificent books. I cannot make a distinction between them, however, and so I accord them equal status.

neke
Member

Posts: 55
From: PA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 10-21-2011 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for neke   Click Here to Email neke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just noticed a couple good autobiographies at bargain prices on Amazon, and thought I'd post the links for anyone who may not have the books or may want to pick one or two up for holiday presents:

dog320
Member

Posts: 49
From: West Sussex, United Kingdom
Registered: Jul 2010

posted 10-21-2011 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dog320     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this depends on your definition of essential. For me its those that provide an "as if you were there" view of events.

The majority of these books are badly written, bland, and many contain glaring inaccuracies. In my opinion, many are just not worth reading.

Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the field in my opinion - no real surprises:

  • Collins: Carrying The Fire
  • Cunningham: The All American Boys
  • Mullane: Riding Rockets
These three dispense with ghost writers and really get down to the nitty gritty.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, no "moon lander" has written a really good book, but the relevant sections of Irwin's "To Rule The Night" and Duke's "Moonwalker" are well worth a read.

As an aside only a single lunar mission has autobiographies by the entire flight crew - Apollo 15. The three books are very different and well worth a read.

For those with a wider interest Thompson's "At The Edge Of Space" is a good look at the X-15, but not really an autobiography as such.

Finally, for the chronology of Armstrong's life there is Hansen's "First Man". Unfortunately it is very thin on Armstrong's technical opinion or assessment of events and hardware which would have been very interesting.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 10-21-2011 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also found "Falling to Earth" by Al Worden and Francis French an excellent read.

dog320
Member

Posts: 49
From: West Sussex, United Kingdom
Registered: Jul 2010

posted 10-21-2011 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dog320     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
I also found "Falling to Earth" by Al Worden and Francis French an excellent read.
In my opinion, the overall best of the co/ghost written autobiographies, benefiting greatly from its later and more candid perspective.

Philip
Member

Posts: 4803
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 10-30-2011 03:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really appreciated Belgian astronaut Dirk Frimout's book "De Blauwe Planeet" , with a lot of background information on the STS-45 training and well illustrated as well!

crash
Member

Posts: 195
From: West Sussex, England
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-05-2011 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I really need some suggestions as to my next read. I have just finished Homesteading Space.

I have read all the above already apart from The Blue Planet, which I suspect may be in Flemish, and Falling to Earth. I do have two signed copies of FtoE courtesy of Farthest Reaches but am waiting for a cheap copy to surface so I can drag it around with me at work.

dss65
Member

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

posted 11-05-2011 07:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you're looking for something a little bit different from an "astronaut (auto)biography", one of my very favorite books in my collection is "The Unbroken Chain" by Guenter Wendt and Russell Still. If you haven't read it and can find a copy, I'll bet you'll like it!

crash
Member

Posts: 195
From: West Sussex, England
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-06-2011 02:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have indeed read it. Great book! Thank you for the suggestion dss65.
When I buy my books I prefer to get 1st ed hardbacks and I was fortunate enough to pick up a perfect copy of The Unbroken Chain for only $10 which was an absolute bargain.

dss65
Member

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

posted 11-08-2011 09:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed it was!

Spaceguy5
Member

Posts: 400
From: Pampa, TX, US
Registered: May 2011

posted 11-11-2011 05:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spaceguy5   Click Here to Email Spaceguy5     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My favorites are Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane, Skywalking by Tom Jones, Carrying to Fire by Michael Collins (though I've yet to finish it), The Last Man on the Moon by Gene Cernan, We Have Capture by Tom Stafford, and My Dream of Stars by Anousheh Ansari (I met her and got it signed and inscribed). I have a ton of others as well (pretty much most of the books others have mentioned, plus more), though haven't had time to read them yet.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-13-2011 11:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I've taken your recommendation and ordered a copy of "My Dream of Stars."

Paul78zephyr
Member

Posts: 344
From: Hudson, MA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 11-15-2011 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lm5eagle:
I absolutely and totally agree with the choice of these three magnificent books.
Totally agree with both.

Paul23
Member

Posts: 771
From: South East, UK
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-25-2011 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul23   Click Here to Email Paul23     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was able to get Moonwalker by Charlie Duke on my Kindle recently and am very much enjoying reading it.

The sections on the EVAs are very well written and seem to give a really good feeling of being there with him.

Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1623
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 12-29-2012 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have just finished reading a copy of Moonwalker, a very good read. Having been fortunate enough to meet Charlie twice in recent years his enthusiasm shone through. I did find the last few chapters something of a detour though.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement