From Publishers Weekly
NBC TV reporter Barbree will be a familiar figure to many readers for his frequent appearances on the Today
show and his decadeslong coverage of the space program. As a cub radio announcer in Georgia in the late 1950s, Barbree (coauthor of Moon Shot
) realized the next big story was taking place on the rocket launch pad in Florida. He began a string of scoops early on when, hiding in a men's room stall, he heard that a satellite launch would carry the first broadcast from space, a recorded message from President Eisenhower. Barbree's inside access allows him to give pungent details: in 1961, [t]he astronauts' crew quarters... were smelly, military, uncomfortable and too damn close to the chimpanzees' colony (a chimp having preceded man into space). While recounting the exploits of the early cowboy astronauts, he gives equal time to the tragedies of Apollo 1
(he broke the story on the cause of the shuttle's disaster) and the near-tragedy of Apollo 13
. Barbree writes with infectious enthusiasm about the glory days of space exploration, and his book will be an enjoyable introduction for a new generation and a fond remembrance for boomers. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Barbree got his first taste of covering the space race in 1957 when he did a cursory radio report on the launch of Russia's Sputnik 1 launch, the satellite that finally lit a match under the lagging efforts of U.S. space exploration. In this engrossing memoir, he retraces the politicsdomestic and internationalas well as the science and technology behind the U.S. space program. Barbree has covered every mission flown by astronauts from Sputnik to the failed U.S. Vanguard, later triumphs and the tragedies of Challenger and Columbia, and the drama of Apollo 13. He includes firsthand details on the personalities behind the missions: Werner von Braun, the German-born scientist who pushed to start the U.S. program, and astronauts Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and others. With obvious love of his work, Barbree offers dramatic descriptions of the launches and revealing looks at the camaraderie among the astronauts and the reporters who covered the beat. A fascinating look at the people behind the U.S. space program. Bush, Vanessa