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The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story Hardcover – CD, June 11, 2013
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
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Koppel offers a revealing glimpse into the lives of “the women behind the spacemen”—from Project Mercury, of the Kennedy years, to the two-man Gemini missions and finally the Apollo program. Beginning with the announcement in 1959 of the seven Mercury astronauts, Koppel paints chatty, personal portraits of each woman as she adjusts to dramatic changes: one day she’s living the life of an ordinary military wife; the next she’s married to a major celebrity. The wives were closely monitored by NASA and expected to be perfect, right down to what they wore and what food they served their husbands. They needed a support group, so the Astronaut Wives Club came into being in 1966. Over the years, they worked together in myriad ways, from helping the wives whose husbands died in crashes or Apollo I’s disastrous launch-pad fire to sleeping in the Lovell’s living room while Jim Lovell was orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve 1968. The U.S. moon program ended in 1972—but many of these unique women still remain connected, friends now for more than 50 years. --Deborah Donovan
"The men catapulted into space in the 20th century were interesting, sort of. The women they left back on earth were fascinating. . . . A lively account of how the wives coped with fame, fear, [and] loneliness."―People (A "Great Summer Read" selection)
"This is one of those light, tasty summer reads you'll guzzle down like a milk shake."―Entertainment Weekly (grade: B+)
"[A] perfect beach read."―Entertainment Weekly's "Must List"
"Breezy and entertaining. . . [Koppel] deserves credit for recognizing the richness of the subject matter. More than 50 years after its inception, many of us now take the space program for granted, but Koppel reminds readers just how bold and innovative it felt in the Sputnik era, and how mysterious the wilderness of space remains. . . Koppel is chronicling a cultural moment more than any particular person, and in this she excels. The details are superb, from the ham loaves the women cooked to the Virginia Slims they chain-smoked, the fur hot pants and the Pucci dresses they wore, the luaus and shrimp-boil parties they threw, and the Mercury-capsule-shaped community swimming pool they shared."―Curtis Sittenfeld, Washington Post
"A remarkable story of perseverance and friendship in a time when women had few rights."―The Daily Beast (A "Hot Read" selection)
"A fair and accomplished reporter. . . . Lily Koppel offers a grounded, irresistible and sociable social history. . . . Koppel's book deftly delivers The Wife Stuff. . . . Koppel does an excellent job of capturing a group portrait with enough highlights, low points, sunny spots and shadows for individual features to emerge. . . . The Astronaut Wives Club is wholly and consistently in Koppel's voice: smart, evocative, informed and warm-an electric fireside chat with the women who put men on the moon."―Chicago Tribune
"[A] true (juicy) story. Gotta love non-fiction that feels like a beach read: Lily Koppel's The Astronaut Wives Club chronicles the wives of 1960s astronauts. . . . Put down that mystery and pick up some history!"―Redbook
"[A] fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the women married to the astronauts...Impressive."―The Dallas Morning News
"Intriguing, pleasantly gossipy and often-touching. . . . in its light and engaging way, The Astronaut Wives Club is a reflection on the gap between image and reality, and a glimpse of an unstable time when "good wives" were reckoning the cost of that role."―Columbus Dispatch
"[An] entertaining and quirky throwback...This is truly a great snapshot of the times."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Engaging. . . . [Koppel] hits the mark, crafting an exceptional story that seriously examines the imperfection and humanity of America's heroic astronauts, their wives, and their families. This work will hold vast appeal for armchair historians, and those interested in feminism, women's history, and 20th-century history."―Library Journal (starred review)
"Insightful social history with a light touch."―Kirkus
"Mad Men fans and history buffs alike won't want to miss a new book about . . . the lives of the astronauts' wives. . . . . We meet the Mercury Seven women in the first chapter of The Astronaut Wives Club, and author Lily Koppel does a nice job of staying close to their stories. By the time you see the women's faces in the pictures, you'll feel like you're a member of the gang. . . . It's hard to believe no one has already written their story, and this reader is glad Koppel finally did."―BookPage (A "Nonfiction Top Pick")
"Koppel has launched her talents into another orbit by writing a book about America's space program that is not only smart, but also fun and sexy . . . . The Astronaut Wives Club is a clever and engaging book celebrating a group of women who, today, are often overlooked -- if not forgotten. It is reasonable to claim that these women held the space program together in its early years. Koppel pays tribute to their emotional stamina in a sympathetic yet unburdened manner. The Astronaut Wives Club will most definitely be embraced in the celebrity-thirsty world that we still live in today; its universal appeal is guaranteed to span generations and demographics of readers. Pack this book along on your summer vacation and you are assured to have a good read, as well as a conversation starter, wherever your spacecraft takes you."―Bookslut
"With an eye for colorful detail, Koppel tells the stories of the women behind the astronauts. . . . The book often reads like a novel, energized by each moon mission."―Barnard Magazine
"There's humor and heartache... we're transported back in time. This book is a Baby-Boomer's dream and is perfect for anyone who's imagined moving among the stars...[it] will send you over the moon."―TDN.com
"The only thing more delicious than the idea for this book is its execution. Come, all you Mad Men lovers, you girl-bonding-opus fans, you amateur historians who've looked under rugs for unlikely heroines...The Astronaut Wives Club rockets us back to the innocence of a unified mid-century America's space race triumphalism and to an unselfconscious sisterhood-is-powerful in the bud-nice things to recall, and maybe take a tiny bit of heed from, in these more sophisticated but much more complicated times."―Sheila Weller, author of Girls Like Us
"If you thought the only heroes in the history of NASA were its astronauts; if you thought the all-American family regularly seen in the pages of Life magazine was the full story of those astronauts' private lives; and if you've ever dreamed of supersonic romance, dinners at the Kennedy White House, through-the-roof beehives, a group of friends and neighbors going through this crazy time with you, and a celebrity hero husband who is the most admired man in the nation (yet, could die at any minute) ... then you're ready to sign up for Lily Koppel's thrilling, magical, nostalgic, and eye-opening Atlas rocket of a read, The Astronaut Wives Club."―Craig Nelson, bestselling author of Rocket Men and The Age of Radiance
"The Astronaut Wives Club is a fun-loving romp about the devoted women behind NASA's herculean Moon Shot effort. Lily Koppel writes with humor, cunning, and integrity. I found her recounting of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs riveting. Highly recommend!"―Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Cronkite
"The Astronaut Wives Club is spectacular, both in its intimacy and its reach. Lily Koppel pulls out delicious behind the scenes details of the stresses, formalities, pleasures and travails of being the women behind the men on the moon."―Karen Abbott, bestselling author of American Rose and Sin in the Second City
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Top customer reviews
I recommend this. It's a good read. These are stories of strong women, dealing with everything that gets hurled at them, raising their children, supporting their friends and smiling for the cameras. It does tend to jump around a bit from wife to wife, from one launch to another. I thought it might have been a bit easier to keep up with all the characters if their stories were told one at a time instead of mixing in stories from each, but I understand why the author wanted to keep the story moving from wife to wife.
For fans of The Right Stuff and Apollo 13, this fills in some background from a perspective often overlooked... the women on the home front who held it together while living with nightly news crews camped out on their lawns.
It was disappointing that she did not concentrate substantially on the first seven, painting their lives with vignettes and moments which would have revealed the true depth of the situation these women found themselves in. The only moment which was developed in any way was the presser on the lawns of each wife... And the arrival of the other wives when the news was bad. there was little scarcely any more development which was such an amazing opportunit lost. it seemed as though she has been just collating material from other sources and had not interviewed or known these women at all.
Back to the book though, this should have been in a magazine form, maybe as a series. As a book though it was so fragmented and jumped around from person to person so much that it was difficult to track the events, dates and individuals.
Most recent customer reviews
wives had to deal with silently was sad. The book gave a lot of insight to the real NASA and the space program ..Read more
With brevity of prose the author gives much minute detail.Read more