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The Real Space Cowboys, with Bonus DVD Video Disc Paperback – May 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1894959216 ISBN-10: 1894959213
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Editorial Reviews

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The head of Space Camp (Buckbee) and a distinguished retired astronaut and raconteur tell the story of the American space program, through the moon landings. Originally conceived as a tribute to mutual friend Alan Shepard, the first American to orbit the earth, the book ends up providing capsule biographies of all of the Mercury Seven, the additional astronauts who landed on the moon, astronauts who didn't return safely, and nonastronauts who were key figures in getting into space, such as John F. Kennedy and Wernher von Braun. Buckbee and Schirra maintain a sense of proportion, and also of humor, about the perils, promises, frustrations, and failures of those days. They remind us that the Apollo pad fire that killed Gus Grissom and his crew nearly produced the degree of panic that the more recent shuttle crashes have--and that the space program keeps going. Schirra gets and takes the last chance to flavor the book by drawing on his matchless collection of anecdotes. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Ed Buckbee is a former director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and a NASA public affairs officer who worked with the astronauts of the early Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. He works as an advisor and consultant for NASA and is a sought-after spokesman and advocate for the continued exploration of space. He lives in Huntsville, Alabama. Wally Schirra is the only Mercury astronaut who flew in all three of the nation's pioneering space programs: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. During the Apollo moon landing missions he was an on-air colleague of CBS-TV's Walter Cronkite. He was also instrumental in starting the Space Camp program in Huntsville, Alabama, in the early 1980's.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Apogee Books (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1894959213
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894959216
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jack on June 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
It's a great pity that Al Shepard never wrote a decent autobiography (the hack-written, ghosted "Moon Shot" isn't even worth mentioning), and the one adult-reader biography about him, written long after his death, suffers from some pretty elementary factual errors and a lack of knowing the subject first hand.

With this book, we finally get to know the guy. Plus the long-dead Deke Slayton, Wernher von Braun, and others who never told their story off-the-cuff in this way.

Buckbee was there, and saw it all. More importantly, he taped it, and wrote it down, and the guys all trusted him implicitly. So reading this book is like having long-lost relatives come to life and tell you their most personal stories. This book tells you what it was REALLY like to be one of the original astronauts - and it sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark F. Mccarter on September 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
In a tribute to colleague Gordon Cooper in October 2004, Scott Carpenter said, "Nearly 50 years ago, a small group of American men were given a special charge by this nation to ensure pre-eminence in space ... We were welded into a fraternity that had no equal at the time."
[...] They were the men who flew on our black-and-white TV sets in our homes and schools, majestic heroes exploring the last frontier. We knew them then from media reports, later from books like "The Right Stuff." (By the way, to a man, the Mercury 7 were irritated by the Hollywood-ization done to the movie version of the book.)
"The Real Space Cowboys" picks up where "The Right Stuff" left off. It's contemplative and insightful, as if only years later did these men appreciate the enormity of their accomplishments. It's a "Greatest Generation" sort of reflection on their part, through interviews, anecdotes and first-person accounts.
Along with the Mercury 7, there is another central character in the book, Dr. Wernher von Braun, the German rocket scientist whose skills in persuasion to get the space program launched and to motivate his teams of engineers and worker was matched only by his scientific genius.
"I liked that the book brought von Braun to the surface," Schirra said in an interview. "People didn't know much about him. He was a very gracious man who did some amazing things."
This is the ultimate insider book. Ed Buckbee, the author, worked with von Braun at Marshall Space Flight Center and as a NASA public affairs officer worked with all the astronauts who flew the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions.
He was selected by von Braun to create and manage the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., and was founder of the U.S. Space Camp and, along with the Mercury 7, the U.S.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ben B. Barnes on December 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a valuable and interesting contribution to the early history of the United States space program. Probably due to the close involvement of the primary author with Wernher von Braun, there is an unexpectedly high proportion of the book devoted to those aspects of the space program related to Huntsville and the von Braun team's efforts there. This is not at all apparent from publicity releases about the book, or even from the cover of the book itself. While there is significant information contained in the book about the Mercury astronauts, its greater contribution is in its Huntsville-related content, which has not received such a degree of attention in most similar publications. Those who were involved in the program at Huntsville in those early days will find the book especially appealing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David L Goodman MD on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Both Buckbee and Schirra do an equitable job of describing the details inside the race to the moon. The Apogee publication, however, suffers from poor editing and numerous errors. All in all, a creditable job by the authors, and an accurate insight into the American race for space, particularly the characterizations of von Braun and the M7.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Straus on July 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to hear Ed speak while I was attending Teacher Space Camp and was totally sucked in by his incredible backstories of the original astronauts and the "US Space Race". If you have any interest in the space program, this is a must read. Ed and Wally do a great job in letting you know the men behind the legends and just how much fun they really are (were).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Saturn V on September 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
regarding the M7. Too short in many ways. Buckbee reports on the 7 through interviews and personal stories. Von Braun is also covered rather extensively.

This is a timely book as you realize that only 3 of the 7 remain alive and they're not getting any younger.

Defintily worth reading and owning.

The attached disc is also good.
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