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  Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space (John Young with James Hansen) (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space (John Young with James Hansen)
minipci
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posted 09-13-2012 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for minipci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Received mine from Foyles today, so haven't had a chance to really look through it yet, but curious as to which printing it is. The numbers at the front of the book are:

17 16 15 14 13 12 6 5 4 3 2 1

Anybody know how to decipher this?

WAWalsh
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posted 09-13-2012 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The string of numbers go to the printing run. That yours has a 1 in it confirms it as a first edition. If there is a second printing run, the 1 is removed.

minipci
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posted 09-13-2012 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for minipci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WAWalsh:
The string of numbers go to the printing run. That yours has a 1 in it confirms it as a first edition. If there is a second printing run, the 1 is removed.

Thanks! That's nice to know.

kr4mula
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posted 09-13-2012 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
As demonstrated by the earlier discussion of JWY's role in the Apollo 13 crisis, individuals' recollections of events can legitimately differ and even conflict,

Of relevance: In the book, John Young reiterates his involvement in Apollo 13, much along the lines of what Sy refuted in that earlier thread. Young mentions going to Sy's console after the explosion (he says he was in the MCC with the astronaut's wives) and conversing with Sy.

kr4mula
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posted 09-14-2012 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I finished the book and thought that there are a few areas that will be diasppointing to spaceflight enthusiasts because of a lack of coverage.

(possible spoiler alerts!)

Throughout the book, Young studiously avoids more than any casual references to the politics of the astronaut office, particularly during the shuttle program. He unfortunately all but ignores his key role as head of the astronaut office and the tremendous power and influence he had within the corps (and the program) in that role. He gives a few tidbits (such as favoring Crippen for multiple flights and that he didn't care for his replacement after he was bumped upstairs following 51L) here and there, but nothing like what you see in the memoirs of shuttle-era astronauts. George Abbey's name appears only a handful of times, and never in depth. He makes more mention of crew issues during the Gemini and Apollo eras, but not much more.

He mentions once that he didn't expect STS-9 to be his last flight, but the topic is never brought up again. That means there wasn't any reference to his being assigned to the Hubble deployment mission, nor being pulled off of flight status.

Oddly, he mentions the tile damage on STS-1, but nothing about using the proverbial "national assets" to image the orbiter as part of the safety assessment. This is particularly strange given his later lengthy discussion of the Columbia accident, including the failed attempts to image the orbiter in space.

There were a few other small examples that I noted as I went through, but it's hard to fault the guy for writing about what's important to him. He spends pages talking about orbital debris, near-Earth objects, and the difficulties getting GPS on board the shuttle. Clearly these things mattered to him, but they failed to capture much of my interest.

GoesTo11
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posted 09-14-2012 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for your comments. I'm very disappointed that Young chose not to discuss his tenure as Chief of Astronauts in any detail; curiosity about his own memories and opinions of those years — and the controversies and conflicts within the Astronaut Office during that time — was perhaps my single biggest reason for wanting to read this book.

I can't honestly say I'm surprised, though. Your summation of what subjects Young chose to concentrate on, and what he chose to omit or refer to only in passing, are entirely consistent with the impression I've gleaned of his personality. That's not a knock, just an observation.

Anyway, I've no doubt Young still has much to say worth reading, but his memoir just dropped a few spots down on my "must read" list.

APG85
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posted 09-16-2012 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for APG85     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So far, I'm finding it to be an enjoyable book (I'm reading it on Kindle). The minor mistakes are irrelevant to the story...

cspg
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posted 09-16-2012 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
I'm very disappointed that Young chose not to discuss his tenure as Chief of Astronauts in any detail...
I agree. So maybe in volume 2?

GoesTo11
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posted 09-16-2012 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris, I expect we'll get George Abbey's memoirs before that.

jjknap
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posted 09-16-2012 03:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jjknap   Click Here to Email jjknap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I like the book. So far I have learned some things about the shuttle that I never knew. For example, the DOD upped the number and power of the shuttle thrusters so that it could get to orbit, deploy or retrieve a satellite, and return at the end of the first orbit. John Young says he didn't think they could ever do that; I tend to agree.

ilbasso
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posted 09-17-2012 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm having to put down this book every few minutes when I get mad!!!

Page 33: John's story of his meeting, romance, and marriage to his first wife takes two sentences. He spent almost a page talking about hydraulic problems that caused a landing gear malfunction on one of his planes. (Not that this is an error, but gee whiz, John!)

Pages 92-94: There are so many technical errors and typos in the section on the Gemini X mission that I have to shake my head in wonder that such a detail-oriented engineer could let so many errors slip through. I couldn't even make it all the way through the mission description before I had to pull out references to see if I had remembered things wrong. For example, the Agena 10 engine (which was NOT the "SPS") did NOT shoot them up to 475 miles "in less than fifteen seconds" after lighting up. Young did NOT do a stand-up EVA in conjunction with Collins ("We were standing on our seats in the cockpit"). Gamma Velorum is NOT in "the constellation Vega [sic]."

Argh. I wish this book had been better edited! He obviously had lots of technical info at his fingertips to refresh his memory. He includes so much engineering trivia, such as the code sequence that lit the Agena's engine, that it makes the errors really stick out like sore thumbs.

EDIT: There is a lot of technical jargon which is not explained (i.e., "...it was necessary for us to fly without any parallax"). Pilots, engineers, and hardcore space enthusiasts can probably figure out what he's talking about, but it would all be gibberish for the average reader. So, it's potentially an engineer's book...but there are so many factual errors that it's useless as a reference. And there's not enough personal recollection to call it an effective memoir. Many of the accounts of Mike Collins' 2nd EVA on Gemini X are verbatim quotes from Collins' book.

Tykeanaut
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posted 09-17-2012 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mine has arrived from Foyle's but the wife has hidden it away as a Christmas present. I must remind her to pay me for it!

Peter downunder
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posted 09-26-2012 09:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter downunder   Click Here to Email Peter downunder     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My copy arrived from Amazon this morning. After doing a superficial job of the house cleaning (I'm on holiday!) I opened the book. Reading Mike's forward and then the prologue, I had to put it down and check out what the consensus was on collectSPACE. Very disappointed for a book that I have anticipated for so long.

With my bookshelf at bursting point, I've been fairly judicious in what I've bought lately. Even so, Young's autobiography was still high on the list of must-haves. I just hope it's not going to go down the lines of Cooper's effort. But from the comments so far...?

p51
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posted 09-26-2012 11:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I did find it odd that the people at the Space Center Houston gift shop said they wouldn't be stocking it when I was there a couple of weeks ago. Will still order and read it anyway...

Fra Mauro
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posted 09-27-2012 10:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any astronaut book is bound to disappoint some of us---what we want to know about may be very different from what he/she wants to tell us. For example, I would like to know his take on the Apollo 1 fire.

kr4mula
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posted 09-27-2012 01:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
For example, I would like to know his take on the Apollo 1 fire.
He does discuss the Apollo 1 fire, from what he was doing through the investigation and recovery. I think he does a good job of giving his perspective on it, especially because of his emphasis on safety. I wouldn't have minded some more details, though.

Also, I heard that a final round of corrections wasn't applied by the Press to the first printing of the book, but will be made in subsequent printings.

Tyler
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posted 09-27-2012 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tyler   Click Here to Email Tyler     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I just finished the book today. Given the high number of astronaut memoirs I've read, I can say that this memoir is much more technically in depth than average but less personally reflective than average.

I am glad that Young and Hansen clearly made a careful review of the memos that Young wrote during his last two decades at NASA. All readers will now have a much better understanding of what made him tick on a daily basis; specifically, his relentless advocacy for safety causes. The discussion of the lessons learned from STS-1 was also definitely the most in-depth summation I'd ever read.

But especially earlier in the book, I could see that he was less personally reflective than someone like Collins or Cernan. What were his impressions of his colleagues in the astronaut office? What were his impressions of his first wife and two children who shared his life along with him (he describes the marriage as a "mismatch" but gives the reader nothing else)? How did he feel during tense moments such as the Apollo 10 LM gyrating wildly out of control and Cernan yelling over the radio? We have very, very little about any of these topics. I would also like to know why there is no acknowledgments section of the book. That would have given the reader a better understanding of what influence Hansen had on the book and what was entirely Young's influence. In any case, thank you Mr. Young for the reading pleasure.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 09-27-2012 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
Also, I heard that a final round of corrections wasn't applied by the Press to the first printing of the book, but will be made in subsequent printings.

Nice. Will there be a discount for those who bought the faulty goods?

MCroft04
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posted 09-27-2012 05:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm enjoying the book, especially the detail on the geological training and planning. For some reason I was always suspect that John made much of an effort to learn the geology, but when I asked Charlie earlier this year at Spacefest he had nothing but praise for how John delved into the geology. And now reading his book it's clear that he's quite knowledgeable.

Just a note, on page 156 he writes that "one could find rhyolite in such minerals as quartz, feldspar, and plagioclase." What he meant is that quartz, and feldspar (plagioclase is a type of feldspar) are found in rhyolite.

astro-nut
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posted 09-29-2012 08:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I purchased my copy at Barnes&Nobles the other day and I am looking forward to reading it even with the errors. Still a nice book to have for my astronaut collection.

carmelo
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posted 10-07-2012 07:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
He mentions once that he didn't expect STS-9 to be his last flight
And how many times he expected to fly? More one, two three missions again?

Tom
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posted 10-07-2012 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, he was assigned to command the Hubble deploy mission prior to "Challenger." That flight was scheduled for August 1986.

carmelo
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posted 10-08-2012 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carmelo   Click Here to Email carmelo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is true that he want again more missions after Hubble?

Tom
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posted 10-08-2012 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I never heard any comments on that either way.

WAWalsh
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posted 12-05-2012 09:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for WAWalsh   Click Here to Email WAWalsh     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As the gift giving season arrives, it might be time to pop this one back up.

As I near completion of the book, I am finding it very much the book I would expect an engineer to write. The focus on the systems, particularly on their failures, and less attention to the office politics and personalities makes sense and seems consistent with John Young. Even here, I wish there was more detail and explanation. Regarding STS-9's preparation for reentry,Young discusses the failure of the two computers and notes that if they had activated the backup flight software they would have lost the orbiter. He later discusses that Columbia experienced a fire in the APU during reentry, resulting in both exploding minutes after touchdown. A little more explanation and follow-up would have been welcome.

Given John Young's 42 years with NASA, the book could have been 1000 pages and still left things out. It does, however, add more information and is well worth the read.

p51
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posted 12-05-2012 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just finished it recently.

I'm glad I read it and don't feel the money was wasted, but I was disappointed in regard to what the book could have been and what Young chose to focus on. I didn't count pages, but it sure seemed like he focused more on all his memos and ideas later in his career than he either did the Apollo 16 or STS-1 missions (arguably the two missions that most people would likely want details on).

All the while I was reading, I could hear Mike Mullane's comments about Young from "Riding Rockets" echoing in the back of my brain, based on the way Young described his time at JSC in the Astronaut office...

In my take, this could could have used a ghost writer who got Young to focus more on the experiences and people.

Peter downunder
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posted 12-06-2012 01:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter downunder   Click Here to Email Peter downunder     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep. If only I was looking for a a book that told me the sink rates of every shuttle landing...

Henry Heatherbank
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posted 12-06-2012 03:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henry Heatherbank     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to echo P51's comments.

I finished it last night. I have to say that I had lowered my expectations before reading it, after hearing about all the factual errors, and I was not un-expectedly disappointed in them. But overall, the book was not as bad as I was expecting.

Yes, the many references to sink rates, landing speeds and distance down the runway for the various Shuttle landings is odd.

But Young makes the point that he was always worried about the landing sequence for Shuttles, more so than the launch sequence (that is, up until 51-L).

On the issue of Young's memos, this is where the book becomes truly interesting. At its most basic, the last third of the book can be interpreted as deep rooted disenchantment with the direction in which NASA was headed and the way the Shuttle and Freedom/ISS projects were being managed. He was clearly frustrated at the level of risk NASA accepted. His detractors will point to the fact that most of the disaster scenarios raised in his memos never came to be, therefore his suggested fixes were never necessary, but the litany of memos outlined in the book reveal a lot about Young's dedication to key causes like safety, and frustration when key issues were left unaddressed.

As flaweed as this book is (and it has lots of flaws), it is still worth reading. I absolutely agree that it needed a ghost writer or a much better editor to (first) weed out the inexcuseable factual errors and (second) to "humanise" it a bit more. You find yourself having to rely on other books to "backfill" what is missing about the missions: Collins' brilliant Carrying the Fire to learn about Gemini X, the Stafford and Cernan books to get a real sense of Apollo 10 and Duke's Moonwalker to learn about Apollo 16. (As a tangent, how cool would it be if Crip produced a book about his role in STS 1 and the halcyon days of the Shuttle program through to Challenger??!!...).

So if you haven't read it yet, lower your expectations just a little, but then battle on regardless. It is worth it if you take a broader view of what Young is trying to convey, rather than expecting a blow-by-blow account of his missions.

Tykeanaut
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posted 01-24-2013 02:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just finished reading it. A little disappointing and personally I found myself somewhat bored and bogged-down in too much technical jargon.

DChudwin
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posted 01-28-2013 09:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with previous comments about the book. However, I wonder how much John Young's health played a role in the content of the last third of the book which largely summarizes his memos concerning safety. Did Mr. Hansen rely on these memos and other documentary material to ghost write that part because Capt. Young was unable to do so? I hope someone with knowlege of the writing process of the book will set the record straight.

Tony Guidry
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posted 02-13-2013 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tony Guidry   Click Here to Email Tony Guidry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
I did find it odd that the people at the Space Center Houston gift shop said they wouldn't be stocking it when I was there a couple of weeks ago...
I guess they changed their minds, because there were at least a half-dozen copies of John Young's book on the shelf at the Space Center Houston gift shop this past Saturday when I was there. I had already purchased a copy from Amazon shortly after it was released, so I was there to purchase a copy of Jerry Ross' book and get it signed by him.

I haven't heard of any public book signings by John Young for his book. For the past several years, it appears, Capt. Young has made few, if any, public appearances. I certainly hope he is still in good health. The last time I saw him, in person, was nearly 5 years ago, in May 2008, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where he and Charlie Duke participated in a special "Lunch with an Astronaut" event in conjunction with the Annual Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction.

We thoroughly enjoyed their presentation on their Apollo 16 mission, and as an added bonus, we were seated at the same table as Launch Pad Leader, the late Guenter Wendt, who was there with his daughter, Norma, and his granddaughter, Wendy. Mr. Wendt treated us to several interesting, amusing and sometimes hilarious stories of his days as Pad Leader in the early days of our manned spaceflight program. Sadly, he passed away a couple of years later.

Rick Mulheirn
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posted 02-13-2013 04:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is my understanding that John Young's health prohbits any future signings....of his book or anything else for that matter.

The only exception being family and close personal friends.

Whizzospace
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posted 02-16-2013 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Whizzospace   Click Here to Email Whizzospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just finished the Kindle edition, and it is indeed the most error-ridden astronaut bio I've read. Mismatched dates on the same page, misremembered perspectives in flight. Distracting, yes. I waited months to purchase the book, based on cautionary reviews in this forum, and Amazon. I finally decided to sample the e-version, figuring Young's unique longevity in the agency was intriguing enough.

I mentally catalog this book by its uncommon focus: an extended exploration of NASA safety culture, told by a fiercely engineering-focused man. As I read, I 'heard' his voice from Spacefest I in 2007, when I first saw him live. But the book content included few of the standard quips and jokes he uses in talks, just the vectors and memos stuff.

Forever Young = Just Different.

cspg
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posted 04-03-2013 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paperback edition due September 28.

JasonB
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posted 05-07-2013 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JasonB   Click Here to Email JasonB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must say I'm really enjoying Young's book, especially the shuttle section as I knew little of how the shuttle worked. So it's interesting to hear some rather technical descriptions of it.

I have a question: when he discusses STS-9, he says that if they'd activated the backup flight control when they first lost the first computer that they would have been killed. Is this because it would have been lost when the second computer also went out and been irretrievable? He doesn't explain it so I figured maybe it needed to be "freeze-dried" as he explains they did by keeping certain computers or programs out of the loop so they wouldn't be effected by a computer crash.

Am I off on that? He doesn't explain why exactly the vehicle would have been lost so any help would be most appreciated.

I was surprised that I enjoyed the shuttle and final chapter about impending disasters more than the earlier parts. Maybe because I knew less about those sections. Other than Young sometimes making it sound like he was the only person thinking about safety, I enjoyed it more than most of the astronaut books I've read.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-02-2013 02:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The paperback edition of "Forever Young" is now available. Says co-author James Hansen:
The paperback edition of the John Young autobiography is out and available. It has taken care of all the little problems in the original hardback.
There are new blurbs about the book on the back by Alan Bean and Glynn Lunney.

Hansen recently appeared (mp3) on "The Space Show" to discuss "Forever Young" with host David Livingston.

MCroft04
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posted 10-02-2013 08:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do you know if the errors have been corrected?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-02-2013 08:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I haven't seen the paperback edition, but I known Hansen was collecting the errors that were reported since the hardcover was released. I believe that's what he was referring to when he said the "problems" were taken care of in the softcover edition.

hinkler
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posted 10-03-2013 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for hinkler   Click Here to Email hinkler     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have a copy signed by John Young?

PeterO
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posted 10-03-2013 10:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeterO   Click Here to Email PeterO     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has the electronic Kindle/iBook/Nook edition been updated? Amazon still shows the Kindle edition with last year's publication date.


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