Originally posted by Rocketmaniac
I was thinking about adding a new section to my website....... Book Reviews........ Books on the space program, shuttle, and rockets........ Books, like "Flight" by Chris Kraft, "Lost Moon" by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger "Flight of the Astronauts" by William Roy Shelton etc......
Do any of you guys like to write? I am not a good writer, so I am looking for writers who would like to write something for my website..... Nothing long, maybe 1 or 2 paragraphs..........
Great idea here's a couple of short reviews for you:
Last Man on the Moon
Eugene Cernan & Don Davis
The book is about the NASA career of Gene Cernan, who of course really was the last man on the moon. There are brief sections about his childhood and post NASA career, with a longer treatment of his career as a US Navy pilot, but just enough to set the scene for what is the real meat of the book - his time at NASA.
There's coverage of all the Gemini and Apollo missions, but of course it concentrates on Gemini 9 and Apollo 10 & 17. I did learn some things about those missions that I didn't know, but for me the most interesting stuff, was the behind-the-scenes stuff, Gene's relationships with the other astronauts, the jockeying for position, the constant worry that he might not make the grade and get another mission. I learnt one or two things about how the "rotation" system worked, and how if broke down a few times, due to accident or intervention from NASA management. There's also the running thread of how the stresses of the job affected his relationship with his first wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Tracy.
There are no pulled punches, and Gene gives some pretty forthright opinions of some of the other astronauts - notably Alan Shepherd & Buzz Aldrin. Particularly interesting is the description of how he had to deal with being backup Commander to Alan Shepherd on Apollo 14. In parts he comes across as arrogant, but by the time you get to the end of the book, you can see that this was almost a requirement of the job. As an astronaut, if you didn't want to jeopardise your seat on the next flight, you could not afford to show a hint of fear, or doubt.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I expected to enjoy it, of course, but I didn't realise quite what a page tuner it would turnout to be. This is a well written and very interesting book. If you have more than even a passing interest in the subject - go buy it!
A House in Space
Henry S. F. Cooper Jr.
A House in Space is about the the US Skylab programme. Skylab was a sort of interim programme that NASA used to learn about the long term effects of living in space. It was made primarily of parts left over from the Apollo moon landing programme. Skylab was visited by three sets of three astronauts in the first half of the 1970s.
Rather then concentrating on the overall aims or a detailed chronology of the individual missions, the book takes us thorough a typical day on board the station. To describe the activites throughout the day, it takes incidents from each of the three crews, contrasting their different reactions to the daily hurdles which had to be overcome. This graphically illustrates the problems of designing a spacecraft to be a home rather than just temporary accomodation. Many of the more interesting incidents feature the third crew. Of the three crews, they were the most vocal and critical about what they saw as the station's shortcomings, possibly because of their extended stay.
I've yet to read a book which better describes the day to day problems of living in space. I believe that it is currently out of print, but you should be able to find it second hand via Amazon, which is where I got mine. Even if you have only a passing interest in Skylab or spaceflight in general then I heartily recommend that you hunt down a copy.
Hope you like them!