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Deke ! U.S. Manned Space From Mercury To the Shuttle Paperback – June 15, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; Reprint edition (June 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031285918X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312859183
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

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. Compared with the recent Moonshot (LJ 4/15/94), which he coauthored, this book allows the reader to get a sense of the man, of how a farm boy from Wisconsin ended up deciding who would be the first man on the moon and who finally, at the age of 51, got his own spaceflight on the Apollo Soyuz mission-the last Apollo flown. As another valuable addition to the recent first-hand accounts of NASA's early days, this book is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.
Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The autobiography of one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, this is one of the best additions to the literature of the early American space effort. Slayton, who'd first flown as a World War II bomber pilot, came to the space program by a somewhat circuitous route. He was grounded in 1962 because of a heart murmur, and actually flew as an astronaut only once, in the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz mission. He was head of the astronaut office, however, and as such, one of the key persons involved in selecting crew, a process he describes with an insider's knowledge of detail and considerable frankness about the virtues and limitations of his colleagues. At the same time, Slayton never lost, nor will his readers miss, the sense of wonder with which space was contemplated in the days when it was a high and gallant dream. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Must read for people interested in the Space Race.
tk2007
I had expected to find Slayton a stern task master and was pleasantly surprised to find a very humane person.
Gordon Reade
This is a rare insight into a hero, written at a time in his life were he was very reflective.
W. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W. Smith on October 11, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A revealing story of the least known of the original mercury astronauts, this book gives great details of Deke's life from the beginning of his childhood to his tragic death. Deke, himself knew of the brain tumor which eventually ended his life. He was worried that it would affect his memory, so we are able to benefit from his detailed recollections. Lucky for us that he was able to complete the book. This is a rare insight into a hero, written at a time in his life were he was very reflective. He obviously wanted to leave an accurate picture of his life (maybe his perceived misjudgment of Gus Grissom in "The Right Stuff" was a motivation). In any event, thanks Deke! I hope to meet you one day!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ireland on February 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
The best insiders book about the early astronaut office. It has so much good stuff about which astronaut was assigned what duties and a good behind the scenes view of each spaceflight. There are also good stories about some of the lesser known astronauts who never flew in space. A great book!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin W. Parker on January 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It would be hard to pick any one key figure in the race to land men on the moon, but Deke Slayton would have to be on the short list. Grounded from Mercury, he went on to head the Astronaut Office, deciding who would become an astronaut, who would fly and when, and, eventually, who would walk on the moon.
This is his story, from his childhood through to his work with Space Services, trying to establish an independent launch capability from NASA's government rockets.

Of course, the key part is his career with NASA, from being selected as a Mercury astronaut through Gemini and Apollo and finally getting to fly on Apollo-Soyuz. It's a unique inside viewpoint, and he tells it with frank detail. A little more polished than Gene Kranz's book, it ends up coming across as a bit more matter-of-fact and less from the heart, though no less upfront for all that. In particular, the recounting of the Apollo 1 fire is less rending than Kranz's.
Interspersed with the autobiography are interesting bits entitled "Other Voices," as his colleagues and, in a couple of instances, his son give their perspective on a particular incident or situation. It makes for an interesting enhancement to the main text and most worthwhile.
Along with Kranz's book, this is another must-have memoir of the golden age of NASA,
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Allison E Frame on September 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Here's a test pilot, who buys into the Race for Space against the Russians, and then gets grounded for a unpredictable heart defibrilation and is no longer eligible to be in the flight rotation. He can still fly planes. T-34's and 38's all he wants but nothing that goes straight up.
So he steps up and builds the Astronaut Liason office, basically making sure that the astronauts become part of mission objective developement teams, making sure that the astronauts get all of the training they can stand, and he's also the one assigning men to teams and teams to flights.
It's his job to get to know each of the astronauts well enough to (with the help of others, granted) decide who goes where and in what capacity. To make sure there aren't personality conflits with the boys on the same flights, to make sure that there is always someone else trained so that when something goes wrong, someone else can step in. What an amazing amount of pressure.
And he did write about the things that go wrong. He wrote about the airplane accidents that took the lives of several astronauts and how as a close group of workmates they had to cope and keep going. He wrote about Apollo I. He hand picked the men who would be in that tin can the day of the plugs out test. One of them Virgil (Gus) Grissom, who was a member of the "Original 7" with Deke and a good friend.
This book wasn't just about the manned space program, though that was certainly the focus, it was a autobiography written by a man who knows that he has cancer and is taking advantage of the time left to him to tell his story in his own words (though it is co-written). It is a well told story and a very interesting perspective to have.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 5, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone with a deep interest in Mercury/Gemini/Apollo, this book is a must read. It provides excellent insight into the test pilot perspective on the space program. Deke's comments on astronaut selection and who he wanted to be first on the moon are not to be found anywhere else. However this book is definitely not the first one to read on this era. A basic understanding of the architecture and operations of Apollo is assumed. But if you can appreciate why Deke notices every time Gene Kranz leaves the MOCR, this book is for you. For a scientist's perspective on this era, Don Wilhelms' "To a Rocky Moon" would make an excellent companion. Add the hard-to-find "Apollo: Race to the Moon" and you have a great education in Apollo.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Moody on May 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
As an avid reader of the manned space program, I tend to enjoy books that don't just re-hash the history of the program and space race with the Soviets... and I got it here. Slayton gives us his no-nonsense explanation and perspective of the program while not over-burdening us with details that are found numerous times over in other accounts (like his co-authorship with Alan Shepard for "Moonshot") ... what this leaves you with is a picture of how (I'm sure) Slayton went about his business with NASA and how others at NASA perceived him. I enjoyed his "get on with it" attitude as well as his explanation of some of the lesser known items from the early days (i.e. his Mercury mission would have been called Delta-7 had he had a chance to fly it...). Don't get this book expecting just a chronology of the space race, but get it if you want an account that assumes that you know a little of the program and want a different perspective of it
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