From Publishers Weekly
Eight of America's early astronauts, selected to participate in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, died while employed by NASA. Three of the eight-Roger Chaffee, Gus Grissom and Ed White-are fairly well known, having died in a gruesome fire during a training exercise in the Apollo 1 command module on January 27, 1967. The other five are far less familiar. Four perished in jet crashes (Ted Freeman, Elliot See, Charlie Bassett and C.C. Williams) while one (Ed Givens) died in a car crash. Unfortunately, Burgess (Teacher in Space) and Doolan (coauthor, Mission to Planet Earth) tell their stories in turgid and repetitive prose, failing to dig beneath the surface and thus providing remarkably little insight into the men, their time or the agency for which they worked. Unlike virtually every other book dealing with the personalities of the astronauts, this one leads us to believe that all were single-minded saints, with no human foibles. Rounding out the book is a chapter written by Vis, a Dutch space analyst, detailing the lives and deaths of the eight Soviet cosmonauts who died between 1961 and 1971. This chapter is even weaker than the rest; little meaningful information is presented and there are factual conflicts with the American chapters. While the untimely deaths of good, talented men evoke pathos, these abbreviated biographies do not deepen understanding of them. 37 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This wonderful book, which brought back many fond and sometimes painful memories of a few who sadly never realized their dreams, is a long overdue tribute to fallen comrades from a truly amazing era in American history." Walter M. Schirra Jr., Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut "In Fallen Astronauts we learn of men who may not have shared in the ultimate triumph but who were nevertheless an indelible part of these unparalleled exertions. By recognizing the prodigious debt we owe them, and their loved ones, in this fine history, Burgess and Doolan have made an important contribution to the history of space flight." Scott Carpenter, Mercury astronaut "Every generation learns the hard lesson yet again: space flight is a risky business; not only the missions themselves, but the arduous training. Fallen Astronauts is a long-overdue tribute to a group of men who paid the ultimate price for their tragically unfulfilled dreams of space flight." Michael Cassutt, author of Who's Who In Space and coauthor of We Have Capture "Though there are many space explorers no longer with us their achievements should not be forgotten. This book goes a long way to preserve the memory of 16 of them."--Spaceflight, March 2004 Emotionally moving, factually detailed portraits... Fallen Astronauts should be on every space enthusiast's reading list." Dr. Rick W. Sturdevant, Air Power History "This book considers both American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts who died in the line of duty prior to 1972. Burgess and Doolan offer a brief biography and personal stories with a focus on the astronauts' passion for their profession... It is well written and will be enjoyed by enthusiasts of the history of spaceflight." Choice "A fascinating, often sad, but uplifting account... Though there are many space explorers no longer with us their achievements should not be forgotten. This book goes a long way to preserve the memory of 16 of them." Dave Shayler, Spaceflight "A compendium of research into the lives, including their tragic deaths, of astronauts who gave their all in pursuit of their personal goal, and that of their country, of reaching the moon." Hazel Brittingham, Cape Gazette