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Return to Earth Hardcover – January 1, 1973


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394488326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394488325
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Among all of the Apollo astronauts, where unusual personalities abound, Buzz Aldrin may be the most singularly unusual. He was also one of the most important. Selected in the third group of NASA astronauts in 1963, Aldrin was unique because of his Ph.D. in astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had written his dissertation on orbital rendezvous and he applied this knowledge to solving one of the principal riddles of the space program, how to accomplish rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft in Earth orbit. Acquiring the nickname "Dr. Rendezvous" from his fellow astronauts, during Project Gemini Aldrin became one of the key figures working on the problem of spacecraft rendezvous in Earth or lunar orbit and docking them together for space flight. Without solutions to such problems Apollo could not have been successfully completed. Aldrin got a chance to fly on Gemini XII during November 11-15, 1966, and demonstrated the success of his rendezvous and docking work for all to see; he manually recomputed all the rendezvous maneuvers after the on-board radar failed

Despite that critical work, Aldrin is mostly remembered for becoming the second man on the Moon, after Neil Armstrong, on the Apollo 11 mission. On July 20, 1969, he and Armstrong spent about 20 hours on the lunar surface. This mission made Aldrin, along with Armstrong and the third astronaut on the mission, Michael Collins, world figures. Aldrin chronicled in "Return to Earth" the flight of Apollo 11 and in many ways it was a courageous book. Aldrin had a delicate psyche. He was an intellectual who had a personal bent toward philosophy, reflectiveness, and sensitivity. Pushed to the brink by his overbearing father, Aldrin sought approval by overachieving.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. SMITH on September 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What happens after fame and success, when you no longer have control of your life? Buzz Aldrin by hard work, natural abilities, and good fortune; was in July 1969 one of only two people who had walked on the moon. This is the story of Buzz Aldrin, half of the book tells of his life from childhood until Apollo 13. The rest is what becoming famous did to him and his family. Return to Earth is most remarkable in the honesty with which it tells his story. This book is not a NASA press release, this is the rise, fall, and recovery of Buzz. This is the story on a grand scale of the everyone who has had their fifteen minutes of fame, and then has to ask now what?
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Reade on August 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Although this book was written by Buzz Aldrin it is not about Apollo 11 or even about space flight. It is about Buzz's battle with crippling depression and mental illness. Aldrin should be commended for his honesty and candor. This book will go a long way toward reliving the guilt of those who have suffered from depression.
Unfortunately Buzz comes off as much too self-involved for us to care much for him. After returning from the moon he dutifully asks his young son how he is doing in school only to have the child respond, "Daddy, it's summer vacation!" Oh yeah!
However over the last twenty five years Buzz's development as a writer - and I suspect as a human - has been spectacular. Read his fabulous book MEN FROM EARTH or his equally stellar ENCOUNTER WITH TIBER. You will not be disappointed!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Baker on July 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A very candid, deep book!! Buzz tells us all kinds of things about himself, his time in the space program, many very personal thoughts and experiences. I can say im a big fan of Buzz after reading this book!! One of my fave books ive read this summer!
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Hmm... Another reviewer comments that Aldrin seems self-involved, but this is a brave book - written by a guy who up until then had focused relentlessly on achieving goals and on his career. That's kind of the point - all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, capische? Many depressed people are self-involved - self-loathing, feeling negatively towards themselves to the point where they can't relate to other people, let alone notice their comings and goings.
His candor about suffering from alcoholism and depression is astonishing, and not common in the military. This is not a guy who went on to spend the rest of his life as a victim, but someone who woke up from a fugue, having risked his marriage, family and health, and proceeded to turn things around. He's a very inspiring guy, as he went on to promote space travel and colonization, and still is.
There aren't the same kind of introspective, thoughtful books by many of the other astronauts. Aldrin, in fact, is probably better known because Neil Armstrong has stayed out of the public eye (though a director at a regional space center told me several years ago that Armstrong avoided publicity due to some issues with the USPS and bringing stamps into space?! perhaps someone could shed some light on that rumor).
Aldrin talks about the pressure to keep the stress and day to day problems inside, and its effect on his marriage. For instance, his vivacious wife was refused a chance to host her own radio talk show because of what it might "do" to the space program. (Definitely not like today's world, where Howard Dean's wife Judy was criticized but ultimately lauded for staying off the campaign trail to take care of her patients.
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