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Schirra's Space (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – October 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Bluejacket Books
  • Paperback: 227 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557507929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557507921
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Four 100-minute tapes. Unabridged. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From AudioFile

Written as a conversational piece about the twenty-year career of Navy test pilot and astronaut Wally Schirra, this performance maintains the armchair tone and pace of what amounts to a collection of personal anecdotes. Richard Rohan handles the technical vocabulary well, making it seem as though the author himself were doing the narration. Schirra jumps around in time and space and repeats himself occasionally, but he convinces his fans that pilots work hard and play hard, and the casual stories of both his professional lives make interesting listening. Hear this book to learn what Commander Schirra said when President Kennedy asked him, "Wally, are you a turtle?" J.A.H. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Not even factually correct in some cases..
David K. Stephens
Gemini 6 established that with a skilled pilot a space vehicle could pretty much go wherever needed, an indispensable technical advance for moon landing technology.
Thomas J. Burns
Schirra's Space was an interesting, quick and very enlightening read.
Keith Mirenberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Burns VINE VOICE on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As much as I was a fan of Wally Schirra during his days in the space program, or perhaps because of that, I was mildly disappointed in his autobiography. This work strikes me as typical of a number of astronaut biographies and autobiographies rushed into print over the past generation or so, rather unremarkable in literary style and adding little to the historiography of this critical era of space travel.

Perhaps this should not be surprising. The author identifies himself as a technical man who throughout his military career kept his nose to the grind of precision flying and admits to little connectedness to the culture outside. No one should take up this work and expect to find Astronaut Schirra's opinion of "My Fair Lady." To the day of its publication the author through his book exudes continued pride in his association with other pilots of exceptional competence, and conversely, an avoidance of those who in his view are or were more form than substance. [Chuck Yeager, for example, will probably never grace the Schirra Thanksgiving table.] If Schirra is infected with hubris, it comes honorably.

Schirra is the antithesis of the joker and clown he was sometimes depicted as in, say, "The Right Stuff." It is within the world of test flying and space exploration that the reader will best connect with Schirra: learning, for example, that Schirra had little use for the extensive battery of medical tests to which all the early astronaut candidates were subjected. He was highly critical of the early conceptualization of Project Mercury. He was among those who considered early spaceflight "Spam in a Can" and lobbied extensively for pilot control in all of the various programs in which he served. His blunt talk, however, made sense as events would prove.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Staats on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I long have been a huge fan of Wally Schirra. I have always adored his keen sense of humor and wit. Furthermore, his impeccable aviator and astronaut careers always made me feel awe struck. Therefore, I greatly looked forward to reading Mr. Schirra's account of his career. My main interest was to get a real insiders look into the space program - which I believe the book did successfully on some major points. Mr. Schirra's wit pleasantly shined throughout the book - this made the reading more pallatable. Regretfully, the reason for my three star rating is the fact that the book would ramble. Without a moments notice, it would jump ahead in time and backward in time. I found this fact to be very irritating as I tried to stay focused and gain as much information as I could from my reading. I thought that maybe I was being too critical, but this sore spot was evident throughout the book. By the time that I had finished the book, I felt exaspirated from the time warps. Do not get me wrong, Mr. Wally Schirra is still a brilliant man in my eyes - I just found that the book was not a good representation of the the true great man that he is. All in all, for the average reader, I feel that this book has many good bits of information - as long as you are willing to sift through the minutia of time jumps.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By TMac on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I didn't think this was a bad book. It just wasn't very in depth. Captain Schirra lightly hits on the areas that most readers would be most interested in . I would reccommend this book to those interested in the early space programs but only after you read such books as "Moonshot" by Alan Sheppard and Deke Slayton, et al. I know that test pilots, fighter pilots, and astronauts have to have a big enough ego to handle all the challenges they face, but sometimes Capt Schirra's ego gets in the way while reading "Schirra's Space".
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Reade on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
After Schirra's return from Apollo 7 Deke Slayton met him on the recovery ship for a private talk. Since Wally planed to retire Slayton saw nothing wrong with him trashing his own reputation with Mission Control. But how, Deke asked, could Wally have done that to his crewmates? Deke would have liked to have assigned Walt Cunningham and Donn Eisele to future missions but felt he could not do so because he felt Chris Kraft's people would have been unwilling to work with them.
We don't get the answer to this question. We do however read about condoms the size of trash bags, a urine sample so large it requires a five gallon jug and drag racing on public streets in full view of police officers. You or I would have been busted but the cops just laugh and let Wally get away with it because hay he's Wally Schirra.
I'm reminded of Bart Simpson's statement about Krusty the Clown's autobiography, "Self serving with many glaring omissions". And yet Bart continues to love Krusty just as I continue to love Schirra. I guess we all need our heroes and a watered down autobiography is better than none at all.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By givbatam3 on February 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wally Schirra, perhaps more than all the other "Original Seven"

Mercury astronauts, embodies all the great strengths along

with the weaknesses of this group compared with the astronauts

who entered the space program after them.

It must be remembered that when the original astronauts were

chosen in 1959, manned spaceflight was a great unknown. In particular,

it was not known how the human body would responds to all the stresses

caused by the massive accelerations and decelerations of the spacecraft

in addition to the problems of prolonged "weightlessness". Thus,

those astronauts chosen were found to be able to withstand worst-case

scenarios for these things. Piloting skills were not as important

because the astronaut didn't really have much control of the Mercury

spacecraft.

By the time Schirra flew on his Sigma 7 flight (the fifth of the series), it had been found that the psychological and physiological stresses were not that great. In addition, the flight before his, Aurora 7, by Scott Carpenter was a near disaster because he did a poor job doing what little

piloting he could. Thus Schirra was called on to show that, indeed, with

good piloting skills, precise maneuvers could be carried out. Using what

Schirra called "the light stuff", Schirra proved that a skilled pilot can

do what has to be done while conserving precious fuel.

By the time the much more advanced two-man Gemini spacecraft came to fly, it was now necessary to carry out far more sophisticated missions, involving rendezvous, docking and EVA.
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