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The Right Stuff

Readers' Cafe

No Dream Is Too High Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon
Shoot for the Moon
John Glenn A Memoir
First Man The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
Rise of the Rocket Girls The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
Endurance
Apollo 8 The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon
Rocket Men The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon
Spaceman An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
We Could Not Fail The First African Americans in the Space Program
Sally Ride America's First Woman in Space
The Right Stuff
No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons From a Man Who Walked on the Moon / Buzz Aldrin

No Dream Is Too High whittles down Buzz Aldrin's event-filled life into a short list of principles he values, each illustrated by fascinating anecdotes and memories, such as:
?? Second comes right after first. NASA protocol should have meant he was first on the moon, but rules changed just before the mission. How he learned to be proud of being the second man on the moon.
?? Look for opportunities, not obstacles. Buzz was rejected the first time he applied to be an astronaut. Failure is an opportunity to learn to do better.
?? Always maintain your spirit of adventure. For his 80th birthday, Buzz went diving in the Galapagos and hitched a ride on a whale shark. He stays fit, energetic, and fascinated with life.

No Dream Is Too High is a beautiful memento, a thought-provoking set of ideas, and a new opportunity for Buzz Aldrin to connect with the masses of people who recognize his unique place in human history.

Shoot for the Moon / James Donovan

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon, a moment forever ingrained in history. Perhaps the world's greatest technological achievement-and a triumph of American spirit and ingenuity-the Apollo 11 mission, and the entire Apollo program, was a mammoth undertaking involving more than 410,000 men and women dedicated to putting a man on the Moon and winning the Space Race against the Soviets. Seen through the eyes of the those who lived it, Shoot for the Moon reveals the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that made it possible. Both sweeping and intimate, and based on exhaustive research and dozens of fresh interviews, bestselling author James Donovan's Shoot for the Moon is the definitive and thrilling account of one of humankind's most extraordinary feats of exploration.

John Glenn: A Memoir / John Glenn

He was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage riveted a nation. But these two historic events only bracket a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century. In this engrossing book, John Glenn tells the story of his unique life--one lived at the center of a momentous time in history by a man who helped shape that history.

He is the kind of hero who resists being called a hero. And yet his exploits in the service of his country, his dedication to family and friends, and his rock-ribbed traditional values have made this small-town boy from the Midwest a true American icon. Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in New Concord, Ohio, in the aftermath of World War I.

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong / James R Hansen

When Apollo 11 touched down on the Moon's surface in 1969, the first man on the Moon became a legend. In First Man, author James R. Hansen explores the life of Neil Armstrong. Based on over fifty hours of interviews with the intensely private Armstrong, who also gave Hansen exclusive access to private documents and family sources. The author?vividly recreates Armstrong's career in flying, from his seventy-eight combat missions as a naval aviator flying over North Korea to his formative trans-atmospheric flights in the rocket-powered X-15 to his piloting Gemini VIII to the first-ever docking in space.

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars / Nathalia Holt

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn't turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women--known as "human computers"--who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we've been, and the far reaches of space to which we're heading.

Endurance / Scott Kelly

The veteran of four space flights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly inimical to human life. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight, both existential and banal: the devastating effects on the body; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home--an agonizing situation Kelly faced when, on another mission, his twin brother's wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot while he still had two months in space. Kelly's humanity, compassion, humor, and passion resonate throughout, as he recalls his rough-and-tumble New Jersey childhood and the youthful inspiration that sparked his astounding career, and as he makes clear his belief that Mars will be the next, ultimately challenging step in American spaceflight.

A natural storyteller and modern-day hero, Kelly has a message of hope for the future that will inspire for generations to come. Here, in his personal story, we see the triumph of the human imagination, the strength of the human will, and the boundless wonder of the galaxy.

Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon / JEFFREY KLUGER

In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind's first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another. Meanwhile, the Russians were winning the space race, the Cold War was getting hotter by the month, and President Kennedy's promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed sure to be broken. But when Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on.

Written with all the color and verve of the best narrative non-fiction, Apollo 8 takes us from Mission Control to the astronaut's homes, from the test labs to the launch pad. The race to prepare an untested rocket for an unprecedented journey paves the way for the hair-raising trip to the moon. Then, on Christmas Eve, a nation that has suffered a horrendous year of assassinations and war is heartened by an inspiring message from the trio of astronauts in lunar orbit. And when the mission is over -- after the first view of the far side of the moon, the first earth-rise, and the first re-entry through the earth's atmosphere following a flight to deep space -- the impossible dream of walking on the moon suddenly seems within reach.

The full story of Apollo 8 has never been told, and only Jeffrey Kluger -- Jim Lovell's co-author on their bestselling book about Apollo 13 -- can do it justice. Here is the tale of a mission that was both a calculated risk and a wild crapshoot, a stirring account of how three American heroes forever changed our view of the home planet.

Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon / Robert Kurson

By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy's end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon - in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas.

In a year of historic violence and discord - the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago - the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America's greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who'd dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight.

Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America's finest hours. In this real-life thriller, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first time - and arrive at a new world.
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Spaceman: An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe / Mike Massimino

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you're about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind's chance to unlock the universe's secrets? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity. Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection.

We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program / Richard Paul

The Space Age began just as the struggle for civil rights forced Americans to confront the long and bitter legacy of slavery, discrimination, and violence against African Americans. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson utilized the space program as an agent for social change, using federal equal employment opportunity laws to open workplaces at NASA and NASA contractors to African Americans while creating thousands of research and technology jobs in the Deep South to ameliorate poverty.

We Could Not Fail?tells the inspiring, largely unknown story of how shooting for the stars helped to overcome segregation on earth. Richard Paul and Steven Moss profile ten pioneer African American space workers whose stories illustrate the role NASA and the space program played in promoting civil rights.

Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space / Lynn Sherr

Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space, in June 1983. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women.?

After a second flight, Ride served on the panels investigating the?Challenger?explosion and the?Columbia?disintegration that killed all aboard. In both instances she faulted NASA's rush to meet mission deadlines and its organizational failures. She cofounded a company promoting science and education for children, especially girls.?

Sherr also writes about Ride's scrupulously guarded personal life-she kept her sexual orientation private-with exclusive access to Ride's partner, her former husband, her family, and countless friends and colleagues. Sherr draws from Ride's diaries, files, and letters. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Sherr's revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman, an inspiration to millions, come alive.

The Right Stuff / Tom Wolfe

Millions of words have poured forth about man's trip to the moon, but until now few people have had a sense of the most engrossing side of the adventure; namely, what went on in the minds of the astronauts themselves - in space, on the moon, and even during certain odysseys on earth. It is this, the inner life of the astronauts, that Tom Wolfe describes with his almost uncanny empathetic powers, that made The Right Stuff a classic.

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