It's hard to believe, but most teens and people in their early twenties don't remember Americans walking on the moon. This book, written lovingly by two of the most respected astronauts in U.S. history, will remedy that. Journalists Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict organized the material, and they portray Shepard and Slayton as two close friends who shared the dream of many children of the 1960s: to fly in outer space. Sadly, Shepard, after becoming the first American in space in a mere hour's trip, developed inner ear problems that prevented him from going back, and Slayton's irregular heartbeat kept him from going at all. Meanwhile, President Kennedy escalated the space race to get a leg up on the Russians. Despite covering some of the same ground as Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff
, Shepard and Slayton vividly portray the great bond uniting the original Mercury Seven. The most terrifying chapter describes the fire on the launchpad that killed three Apollo 1 astronauts, but problems on many flights (unbeknownst to TV viewers) were only solved by the skill of the astronauts as pilots. Shepard and Slayton are emphatic about environmental issues (having seen the Earth from a unique viewpoint), and Shepard's eventual moon shot is only topped by Slayton's emotional reaction to being cleared to fly the Apollo-Soyuz mission to dock with Russian cosmonauts, with whom he became fast friends. Expect much demand. Joe Collins
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.