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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys Paperback – April 3, 2001
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Strikingly authentic. Collins is an extremely good writer, and his lean, forceful prose makes this an unusually readable memoir…. Written with vigor, humor, and unusual insight into men and machines, this is an outstanding book. (Library Journal)
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Top Customer Reviews
Michael Collins was the third astronaut on the famous Apollo 11 flight that landed on the moon in July, 1969. Unfortunately, because he wasn't one of the two in the Lunar Module, he isn't often mentioned. He stayed in lunar orbit as the Command Module Pilot. This book is Collins' telling of what it was like to be an astronaut, both in the Gemini and Apollo programs. He talks about the astronaut selection process, and what it was like to go through it. And he tells the story - from a very personal perspective, of what it was like, what he felt, what he worried about, what angered him, and well...you get the idea - of preparing for and flying a Gemini and Apollo mission.
Because this is his story, and his first person telling of the story, there isn't really anything here about the lunar landing itself. Rather, he talks about what he was doing when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed and walked on the moon.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It often made me laugh out loud and I certainly believe that I now know how Collins felt during his tenure as one of America's Astronauts. I found the book both well-written and engaging. I also found, to my surprise, that this is a humble, revealing and candid story. Highly recommended if you are interested in the genre.
Collins had an illustrious career as an astronaut. Chosen in the third group of astronauts in 1963, he served as backup pilot for Gemini VII, pilot for Gemini X, and command module pilot for Apollo 11. On that last mission he became the loneliest man in the universe when his two crewmates, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, landed on the Moon while he remained in orbit around the Moon in the Command Module. In "Carrying the Fire" Collins writes of his solitude in lunar orbit in July 1969. As he disappeared on the backside of the Moon from Earth, he recalled, "I am alone now, truly alone, and absolutely isolated from any known life, I am it. If a count were taken, the score would be three billion plus two over on the other side of the moon, and one plus God only knows what on this side. I feel this powerfully-not as fear or loneliness-but as awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation. I like the feeling. Outside my window I can see stars-and that is all. Where I know the moon to be, there is simply a black void, the moon's presence is defined solely by the absence of stars." He compared it to being in a skiff in the middle of the ocean with only the stars above and black water below. It proved a profoundly moving experience for him.Read more ›
What matters is that Colins's story touched, inspired and motivated me to believe I could do anything I put my mind to, and showed that there's more to success than glory, adulation or being the one kids can remember in history quizzes.
Good on you, Michael Collins. You're an inspiration. All you Amazonians out there who've leapt onto the space history band-chariot since Apollo 13/Earth to the Moon, take note. This is where it started. Find a copy and read it (just don't bother trying to get one from the Hutt Valley High School Library - it's out on loan right now.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the opinion of Michael Collins, they were test pilots doing their job and testing another vehicle. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Noise_Maker
One of the best written books on the space race of the '60s. Collins relates details of the flights, both Gemini and Apollo, without boring us technically. Read morePublished 1 month ago by PJM
Great book, and well written. While the book is about Michael Collins and the space program, it also a book about life, and fate. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
My title says it all. I have previously reviewed this wonderful book but loaned out my precious copy and never got it back so I found another one so I'll keep this short and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Chomer
Not finished yet but so far...WOW! The details of how Apollo was pulled off are fascinating. Wanna pee on orbit? Better check the 20 item checklist!! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Jerry T. Searcy
I had heard that Collins' book would be the best way to feel what it was like to be with NASA during the 60's. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nate W.
In interviews I had long ago decided that Michael Collins was one of my favorite of the Apollo-era astronauts. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer