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Bookshop: Astronauts and flight controllers
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Flight: My Life in Mission Control. Christopher Kraft
Hollywood has captivated American audiences with dramatizations of the early space program and the race for the moon in movies like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13. But what really happened, before filmmakers made revisions for dramatic effect behind the scenes, as well as on the launch pads and in the cramped spaceships far from Earth? Kraft – flight director for the first Mercury flights ... through most of the Gemini missions, chief of flight operations for the moon launches and, later, head of the Johnson Space Center – details the inception and first heady decade of NASA. Publishers Weekly

Failure Is Not an Option. Gene Kranz
When the heroic American astronauts of the '60s and '70s inquired, "Houston, do you read?" it was often Krantz's team who answered from the ground. Veteran NASA flight controller Krantz (portrayed by Ed Harris in the film Apollo 13) has written a personable memoir, one that follows his and NASA's careers from the start of the space race through "the last lunar strike," Apollo 17 (1972-1973). Publishers Weekly

For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut. Scott Carpenter & Kris Stoever
Amid a flurry of recent accounts of the early days of the US space program, astronaut Carpenter and Stoever, his daughter, weigh in with a biography (most of it written jarringly in the third person) of the fourth American in space. While a good deal of factual information about Carpenter's life is presented, there is very little probing beneath the surface. Perhaps the most controversial material is Carpenter's discussion of the specifics of his three-orbit flight on May 24, 1962. Publishers Weekly

The Last Man on the Moon. Eugene Cernan
Gemini and Apollo astronaut Cernan, helped by Davis (A Father's Rage, etc.), takes readers with him on one great space adventure after anotherAincluding Gemini 9's "Spacewalk from Hell," Apollo 1's fire, Snoopy's hair-raising swoop by the lunar surface. Readers experience the agony of life-or-death decision making in the Apollo 13 control room, exult with Cernan and geologist Jack Schmitt throughout the mission of Apollo 17 and meet legendary characters of the astronaut corps. Publishers Weekly


John Glenn: A Memoir. John Glenn & Nick Taylor
Glenn's utterly plainspoken yet thrilling autobiography will put a lump in readers' throats. The astronaut and four-term US senator from Ohio seems to embody the best old-fashioned American values of integrity, personal discipline, love of country, honesty, courage and responsibility. At 37, Glenn was a frustrated navy bureaucrat stuck in a Washington desk job. Just four years later, in 1962, he became the first American to orbit the earth, piloting the Friendship 7... Publishers Weekly

The Way of the Explorer. Edgar Mitchell
Among authors trying to bridge the gap between science and spirit, former astronaut Mitchell brings unique credentials. Originally scheduled for the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, Mitchell, as told in this smooth blend of autobiography and exegesis, journeyed to the Moon in 1971 (and generated great controversy over ESP experiments he conducted on the flight). As he gazed on Earth, surrounded by blackness and an unfathomable number of stars, he experienced "an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness" that was to change his life. Publishers Weekly

Light This Candle : The Life & Times of Alan Shepard. Neal Thompson
The 15-minute Freedom 7 flight in 1961 made astronaut Alan Shepard America's first man in space and its first hero of the space age. Later he made history by playing golf on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission. But journalist Thompson reveals another side of this all-American navy pilot with the right stuff. Although married for more than 50 years, Shepard had an eye for the prettiest girl in a room. Even longtime colleagues found him a hard man to get to know. Publishers Weekly

Deke!: U.S. Manned Space : From Mercury to the Shuttle. Donald Slayton & William Cassutt
For 20 years Slayton, one of the original Mercury astronauts, ran the Astronaut Office at the Manned Spacecraft (later Johnson) Space Center in Houston, a position he assumed after being pulled off his Mercury flight for a minor heart ailment. In that capacity, he played a central role in selecting new astronauts and especially in assembling flight crews. In these posthumously published memoirs, he gives his account of those early years of U.S. manned spaceflight. Library Journal