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Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 17, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and one of the most popular responses is one that makes parents swoon: an astronaut. This hopeful enthusiasm wanes when their son or daughter starts bringing notes home from the teacher, complaining that they have the attention span of gnat, and need to stop parkouring on school property. Mums and dads, take heart. This description isn’t far off from a young Scott Kelly, not the bookish type either, and yet it was a book he happened upon that dramatically changed the trajectory of his life: Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Kelly was so inspired by this examination of the courageous test pilots who made high speed flight and space exploration possible that he was able to channel all of his frenetic energy into achieving the goal of becoming one. Endurance traces this journey, and chronicles the year Kelly spent on the International Space Station, as well as the effects it had on his body (information NASA needs as they plan a mission to Mars). Kelly answers many of the questions we have about life in space, from the profound to the mundane (turns out astronauts give bad haircuts and unclog toilets like the rest of us earthbound peeps). He also imparts the lessons and wisdom gleaned from his extraordinary adventures. Chief among them, and especially apropos given the increasingly divisive world we live in: “Putting this space station into orbit…is the hardest thing that humans have ever done, and it stands as proof that when we set our minds to something hard, when we work together, we can do anything, including solving our problems here on Earth.” Endurance is a fascinating, moving, uplifting read. --Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
“[Endurance] is a memoir of the right stuff that will hypnotize any space geek.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Kelly brings life in space alive—the wonder and awe of it, and also the jagged edges, the rough parts of living in confined quarters in an alien element, far from everything familiar and beloved. . . . Endurance, with its honest, gritty descriptions of an unimaginable life, a year off Earth, is as close as most readers will come to making that voyage themselves.” —The Financial Times
“Kelly’s account is insightful, at times humorous, heart-tugging at others. And it’s inspiring enough to change the life of some lost kid, just like The Right Stuff did for him.” —USA Today
“For space junkies, it’s absolutely required reading. The narrative vividly captures Kelly’s growing excitement and trepidation as he prepares to spend a year living in an environment where the potential for catastrophe or death is a part of daily life, and once he’s aboard the space station, we feel as though we’re right there with him. A great book.” —Booklist
“Scott Kelly’s saga is a deeply absorbing and vivid look at a year in space and the many trials and rigors of living weightless inside a football field-sized machine traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. But Endurance satisfies far more than the reader’s technological curiosities; it is replete with humor, thrills, surreal details, and recurring moments of ordinary humanity that turn Kelly’s tale into a loving tribute to the pioneering individuals who risk all to shepherd man’s exploration of the vast beyond.” —Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed
“Read this book and you will believe in our American future, thrill at our human potential, and laugh at the absurdities of life. Endurance is about excellence and perspective, a memorable read.” —Senator Bill Bradley
“This isn’t your usual astronaut’s memoir.” —The Philadelphia Tribune
“Scott Kelly’s book is as close as I and most everyone else on Earth will ever get to experiencing the fascinating, complex, almost preposterously dangerous business of going into space. When I closed the covers, I felt like I had been out there. Endurance is an utterly gripping book that can stand comfortably in the company of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff.” —Charles C. Mann, author of 1491
“At once compelling and cautionary… Fascinating stuff… A worthy read for space buffs, to say nothing of anyone contemplating a voyage to the stars.” —Kirkus
“Scott Kelly’s memoir of his year in space and all that preceded it is the real thing—honest, dramatic, illuminating, and simply riveting. With clear, compelling writing, he reveals the nature of space exploration, the current state of the space program, and the raw experience of leaving Earth as has no other book.” —T.J. Stiles, author of Custer’s Trials
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Kelly juxtaposed his life onboard the ISS for the year-long mission with how he became an astronaut and the events leading up to the year-long mission. This was told in alternating chapters: the time on the International Space Station was written in present tense while his autobiographical part was past tense. I liked that the chapters alternated, because it prevented me from getting too bored or bogged down with one storyline. Both parts I found fascinating. To become an astronaut is immensely difficult and I have always been curious how that happens, both the selection process and the training, since astronauts are the crème de la crème. Add to that when you discover that Scott Kelly was a horrible student and aimless during his school years; how did this man end up obtaining one of the most difficult jobs ever? And that he and his twin brother were selected at the same time? The chapters about the ISS were equally interesting. Learning about the difficulties of space station life, from the everyday actions of eating and dressing and sleeping to the challenging duties required of the astronauts, was enlightening and made me appreciate my easy life a whole lot more. I was amazed by what he goes through for launches and landings. His whole story is very inspiring.
I gave a five star rating, but the book is not perfect. Overall I found it well written. However (and some of this may change since I did read an ARC after all) there was some repetition in stories or descriptions, though that didn't bother me too much. Also, the book was sprinkled with curse words and some talk of crude things (like diapers and toilets on the ISS). Not too much, but a bit more than I expected. Again, this didn't bother me but it might bother others, or be a bit much for young readers. And I viewed the crude stuff as okay because I realized that it's a part of the everyday challenges in space.
I also enjoyed the interspersing of his time on the station with his story of getting there. This allowed us to enjoy his time in space without wading through his life to that point. Not that his description of life as a Navy fighter pilot was boring. I also appreciate that he was able to overcome an unfocused youth to become something so great. Perhaps a lesson for all of our youth.
Thank you Scott Kelly for for your hard work and inspiring story.
So much insight into the space program & the astronauts that live it.
Very well written, always engaging and gives me such a good feel for the experience of space travel. A great balance between the science and personal perspective of space travel.
THANK YOU Scott for such a wonderful and amazing read! I can’t believe anyone interested I space being anything less than thrilled with this read.
Most recent customer reviews
Scott's naval flying experiences were a bonus too.