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Books To Check Out

>From time to time I post reviews on various space-related books that may be of intrest.  Today I recomend 3.

1.  "Light This Candle The Life and Times Of Alan Shepard" (2004) by Neal Thompson.  Mr. Thompson realized that after Shepard's death, not much was written about him.  Thus he set himself into finding out who Alan Shepard really was.  Shepard always had the drive to be THE BEST and THE FIRST (emphasis added.)  How, when grounded due to disease, he would go out and drink with astronauts and then the next day ream the guy out after messing up. How Shepard was a "liberty towner" and an extremely devoted husband and father. How he was an avid golfer, but was not that good, at best rising to mediocrity.  In hardback now.
Of a personal note, I met and got Adm. Shepards autograph in 1995 when he was pushing "Moonshot"

2.  "Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel" by Robert Zimmerman (2003) Mr. Zimmerman tells the mostly 1 sided story of man living in space, that is the Soviet/Russian side.  As with most stories dealing with the history of space travel, he details the strive of humans to try to live and even try to be self sufficient in space.  He deals quite well in the rise and fall of Mir, from a more open point of view than "Dragonfly" did a few years ago.  May still find this in the stores as hardback

3. Sputnik: The Shock of the Century by Paul Dickson (2001)  I purchased this book in Cape Canveral (I wonder why they have a large space section!)  As I was not around in 1957, this book piqued my curiosity.  I was expecting it to be a dry history of how the Soviets built Sputnik and how the Americans, and the World, handled it.  I was pleasantly suprised of how he writes of the movements in the world.  Launching sputnik, launching vanguard and launching explorer.  Of how those events reverberate to this day.  He writes of Van Braun and how he pushed to have his rocket, the Jupiter-C to launch a satelite after Vanguard failed.  If Vanguard would have succeded first, the whole space race might have changed.  A note to those interested, while Explorer decayed into the atmosphere, Vanguard 2 still orbits the earth and will still orbit for at least the next 100 years.


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