- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Anniversary ed. edition (June 23, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374531943
- ISBN-13: 978-0374531942
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.4 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 164 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys Paperback – Deluxe Edition, June 23, 2009
|New from||Used from|
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Ghosted"
Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Collins tells what his space journeys meant to him as a human being [and] discusses the role of man amid the multitudinous mechanical marvels . . . Profoundly affecting.” ―The New Yorker
“Michael Collins can write . . . No other person who has flown in space has captured the experience so vividly.” ―Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Michael Collins flew in both the Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 space missions in the 1960s. He currently lives in South Florida.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What was I waiting for? This is an outstanding book. Collins has written a fantastic book that in many ways relates the inner thoughts of someone who participated in this extraordinary venture. I believe this was the first and frankly, probably the best book on the subject from the astronauts. Having seen some extended interviews he has done in recent years, the immediate realization is that the book is exactly like the person. The cadence and wry sense of humor. Fantastic. Honest. Frank.
The book is lengthy and is about as much of a page-turner such a book is going to get in this context. I enjoyed the account very much, including the foreword buy Charles Lindbergh. This explained much of what was going on with Apollo 11, but also Gemini as well.
He somehow resists the urge to turn his story into self-adulation, bully pulpit, or tedium; an urge that seemingly overpowered many of his fellow astronauts when they 'wrote' their own books. His 'reporter's eye' and droll wit is especially surprising in someone that is a military academy graduate, career officer (he retired with great distinction as a lieutenant general), and a trained engineer.
Collin's description of the training and flight of Gemini 10 with 'Corned Beef' John Young is vivid and arresting. His narration of his space walk is so entrancing that it settled the question -- at least, for me -- what it was truly like 'up there'.
Apollo 11, the Big Enchilada, is one of the book's finest segments. Collins gives readers such a sense of belonging to the mission themselves that it is irresistible. He describes the training in the simulators, the torture in the 'Vomit Comet' and the 'G-Wheel', and how it was to work with Armstrong and Aldrin. In this last, he is frank and candid. As he notes, it is difficult to have so many 'overachieving sons of overachievers' working together without some friction. He relates a small flare between the other two, after a 'crash' on the lunar surface during simulator training. This incident later appeared, nearly verbatim in the magnificent Tom Hanks 'From Earth to Moon' series.
Collins also takes particular care to pay homage and respect to the most unappreciated and neglected of the astronaut's support system -- his wife, Patricia. By the way, he and Patricia are still married (to each other), for about a half century, having been married at Chambley, France, which happens to be where I was born. Although I doubt that the two events are related. At least, one hopes so.
This book also has the advantage of giving color and life to other books about the space program, particularly Andrew Chaikin's wonderful 'A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts', and Gene Kranz's 'Failure Is Not An Option'.
Collins has that most difficult-to-exercise gift of the writer -- what to leave on the cutting room floor. I always found myself feeling, as I do with a great actor, of wanting just a little more. He never over-explains, and his description, even of the most prosaic and mundane things, is terse, apt, and still vibrant and vivid. I believe that he could write a pilot's checklist and make it absorbing. This is one of the books that I buy in bulk, and give away. Not only is it a record of a fascinating time in history, but it is a fine example of how such a tale should be written.
A small aside about the humor in the book; there is a footnote regarding radio procedures among fighter pilots that is simply one of the funniest things that I've ever read. How many footnotes have ever made you laugh aloud? I read the book (in one sitting, I might add, and yes -- it's that good) while occupying a booth next to a plate-glass window in a tavern during an afternoon of mixed thundershowers and blasting sunlight. When I read that particular bon mot, I roared, causing the other customers to stare and the waitress to bring me a glass of water and ask if I were all right.
I also owe a personal debt to Michael Collins. My brilliant and beautiful wife, Diane, are getting ready to retire. When our financial adviser asked me to describe my goals for a perfect retirement, I thought for a moment, and paraphrased something that Collins had said in his magnificent book: "Sitting on the porch in the evening, and talking to my wife."
This book has a reputation for being the best of the Apollo astronaut's books, and I can see why. It is also one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read! Collins has a way of putting you right there with him in the cockpit as a test pilot, in the Gemini capsule, walking in space or aboard Apollo 11--and there are some real white-knuckle moments he went through!
Highly recommend for those wanting to know more about the Apollo program & Apollo 11, or those too young to remember, who wish to know what it was all about.