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
  Apollo astronauts' absent (auto)biographies

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

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Apollo astronauts' absent (auto)biographies
Ade74
Member

Posts: 37
From: Peterborough, England
Registered: Nov 2009

posted 09-12-2011 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ade74   Click Here to Email Ade74     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Over the weekend I was having a look at which astronauts I don't have an auto/ offical biography on and was hoping you knowledge people could advise if one exists and, if not an official biography, which ones are worth reading and/or buying.
  • Donn Eisele
  • Bill Anders (I suspect no autobiography!)
  • Jim McDivitt
  • Rusty Schweickart
  • John Young (his "imminent" autobiography has been well documented on this forum!)
  • Dick Gordon (per his trip to England he said he has no plans to write one regardless of the prompting!)
  • Jack Swigert
  • Fred Haise
  • Stu Roosa
  • Ken Mattingly
  • Ron Evans

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 09-12-2011 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A biography of Stu Roosa will be released soon by author Willie Moseley: Smoke Jumper, Moon Pilot.

HistorianMom
Member

Posts: 92
From: Columbia, Missouri USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 09-12-2011 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for HistorianMom   Click Here to Email HistorianMom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There's no Harrison Schmitt biography either, is there?

Max Q
Member

Posts: 381
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 09-12-2011 05:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by HistorianMom:
There's no Harrison Schmitt biography either, is there?
That's a great pity. It would be interesting to hear from a non-fighter pilot perspective about the moon missions.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-12-2011 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is one of the reasons Colin Burgess and I concentrated on Eisele, Anders and Schweickart so much in our book "In the Shadow of the Moon," using personal interviews where possible to create chapter-length insights into their lives and flights. We were told by some family members that this is probably the closest some will come to writing a memoir. Nevertheless, I hope everyone still alive on your list writes a book, because each story is fascinating in its diversity.

Schmitt wrote a chapter in the book "Where Next, Columbus?" that is a beautiful account of his moon mission, and may be the closest he gets to writing those experiences at length.

And I think you'll find Willie Moseley's book an interesting insight when it comes out - I know I did, in draft form.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-12-2011 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of the last (potentially) great Apollo biographies to be written could be "They Flew Alone: the Apollo Astronauts Who Stayed in Orbit."

Starting with John Young (who EVER asks him to talk about his time alone on Apollo 10?) it could detail the experiences of the command module pilots on the lunar landing missions, the "forgotten men" who were, as Neil Armstrong reminds us on the front cover of Al Worden's recent book, the second-in-command on the Apollo missions.*

To be more than a rehash of existing material, it would require someone to interview Young, Collins, Gordon, Worden and Mattingly. Jan Evans and Gene Cernan could provide insight into the character of Ron Evans, one of several Apollo astronauts who departed too soon.

Ed Mitchell could provide insight into Stu Roosa's contribution on Apollo 14. (Jack Swigert should not be overlooked and there should also be a preliminary chapter on the CMPs on 7, 8 and 9, even though only Dave Scott flew alone out of those four).

*I can't resist comparing the Neil Armstrong front-cover comment on "Falling to Earth" with page 260 of "Footprints in the Dust" (published one year earlier).

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 09-12-2011 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
One of the last (potentially) great Apollo biographies to be written could be "They Flew Alone: the Apollo Astronauts Who Stayed in Orbit."
As soon will become public, an author attempted to write this book only to find his proposal had "more than one flat tire before it even attempted to get cranked up." Of course, that doesn't mean it is impossible but I suspect many of the same (if not now more) hurdles would be present...

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 09-12-2011 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What about Alan Bean?

GoesTo11
Member

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

posted 09-12-2011 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding the proposed CMPs memoir, I'm guessing that the author in question was greeted by potential publishers with something essentially along the lines of, "Who wants to read about the guys who didn't walk on the moon?" A pity, but not exactly shocking.

And I'd definitely read an Alan Bean memoir, but he's obviously chosen to share his experiences through a different medium...

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 09-12-2011 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
What about Alan Bean?
Alan Bean has written a children's book, "My Life As An Astronaut," plus his book for adults "Apollo," with Andy Chaikin, which relates his Apollo experiences in second-person point of view, like Lovell with "Lost Moon."
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
I'm guessing that the author in question was greeted by potential publishers with something essentially along the lines of, "Who wants to read about the guys who didn't walk on the moon?"
Top selling astronaut memoirs for the last couple of months according to Amazon sales listings are Al Worden, Mike Collins, and Jim Lovell. And the Collins book is 37 years old.

DChudwin
Member

Posts: 972
From: Lincolnshire IL USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 09-12-2011 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I asked Jim McDivitt at SpaceFest II if he planned to write a book. He laughed, said no way, and made a comment, if I remember correctly, that some already published books were not telling the true story.

GoesTo11
Member

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

posted 09-12-2011 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Francis, I appreciate your point, but...Worden's book has the advantage of being the first new first-person Apollo memoir in years (haven't read it yet, but I plan to), Carrying the Fire is an acknowledged classic recently re-released in paperback...and Lovell's was a crisis story that was made into a major movie.

I'm just not sure how a publisher would take any of those as a fair indicator of a broad market for a collective CMP memoir. Again, I think this is a shame, but it is what it is.

GoesTo11
Member

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

posted 09-12-2011 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DChudwin:
I asked Jim McDivitt at SpaceFest II if he planned to write a book. He laughed, said no way, and made a comment, if I remember correctly, that some already published books were not telling the true story.

Now that's just a tease! I'd be first in line to buy a McDivitt memoir.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

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

posted 09-12-2011 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
I'm just not sure how a publisher would take any of those as a fair indicator of a broad market for a collective CMP memoir.
For what it's worth, the author I was referring to was not describing problems with finding a publisher. For more details, we'll just need to wait until he is ready to go public.

GoesTo11
Member

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

posted 09-12-2011 10:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting, Robert...I was just speculating. Curious to hear more.

328KF
Member

Posts: 829
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 09-12-2011 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In co-authoring Footprints in the Dust, I made a concerted effort to tell the story of Apollo 12 from the perspective of the CMP. One of the greatest challenges, I found, was to describe the mission without it becoming The Pete Conrad Story.

Of course, most readers would expect to see the recollections of the lunar surface activities of 12, most notably the interactions of Conrad and Bean and the TV camera issues, so the chapter digresses from the CMP's viewpoint there.

A few observations from my research and extensive interviews with some of the key players in the mission:

- There aren't enough pages available in any book to convey how highly regarded Conrad was in the eyes of his crewmates and most of the astronaut corps. Most of the time spent in interviews somehow were spent in discussions related to him.

- Dick Gordon is still today more interested in the technical accuracy of his performed tasks than any eloquent descriptions of the sights, sounds, or feelings of his experiences. I found it somewhat challenging to draw things from him at times. He can be equal parts salty sailor and absolute gentleman when speaking of various people he worked with or who had influences on his astronaut career.

I don't want to mischaracterize anything he said to me, but it seems that if he ever harbored any regrets for not walking on the moon, these are long forgotten or buried behind the pride taken from having the role he had in such a historic program.

- Alan Bean's story has been told many times over through his paintings and their associated descriptions written by him, his own art books (essentially memoirs in themselves), and various televised interviews and movies. It would take a serious researcher/ author along the lines of Neal Thompson (Light This Candle) or James Hansen (First Man) to bring new insights into his life story.

- It has been four decades since these events, and while some recollections are often repeated and easily recited, when pressed for additional details, the guys are sometimes stumped. Who can blame them? Even with very significant events in our lives, how many of us can recall exact details other than those we speak of frequently, especially after a considerable amount of time?

This is where the serious, detailed research comes in, and the publisher would have to allow the volume (pages) to include minute details and analysis.

I have not yet received my copy of Worden's book, but have heard plenty good about it and look forward to reading it. It, along with Collins', may well end up being the representative CMP memoirs for all of the men who orbited the moon alone.

music_space
Member

Posts: 1050
From: Canada
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 09-13-2011 09:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Several, including Harrison Schmitt, have written chapters in NASA publications, such as Special Publication 350 "Expeditions to the Moon".

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