Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard--America's First Spaceman Hardcover – March 23, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
- Item Weight : 1.84 pounds
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0609610015
- ISBN-13 : 978-0609610015
- Dimensions : 6.45 x 1.54 x 9.55 inches
- Publisher : Crown; 1st edition (March 23, 2004)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #366,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Light this Candle is the very well told story of his life and Neal Thompson has done an excellent job. The book reads more like a transcipt of a history channel documentary with each chapter leaving you with a taster of an event happening in the next, making you want to continue reading it. Even though the book is fairly hefty coming in at close to 500 pages, it doesn't take you long to get through it.
Neal Thompson actually wrote this book after both Alan and his wife had died and therefore had no direct input from either, but this leads to a few questions regarding the book. There are certain passages in the book that the writer could in no way have known and therefore you must assume that some artistic license has been used in order to make a rivetting story. In saying that Neal has extensively researched Alan Shepard and his Notes section goes on for close to 40 pages where he cites references.
Most of the details Alan's early life as a Navy pilot and his project mercury flight. I was very surprised that his flight to the moon aboard Apollo 14 only resulted in a couple of chapters. For all the detail put into his Navy career and his Mercury flight, there was very little information written about perhaps his best flight.
The book also deals with Alan's business dealings and philanthropy and love for golf (after all he was the person who played golf on the moon) after he left NASA and his brief and uncusseful fight with Leukemia.
Overall this is a rivetting read and I learned a lot about Alan Shepard through the book, but the couple of shortcomings stops it from being a five star read. Still highly recommended however.
Since this book was very enjoyable to read I give it four stars. I do not recommend it for people who will get distracted by the erroneous technical information it contains, which reflects negatively on the authors knowledge of space science and orbital mechanics.
Great gossip includes:
1) When Shepard was selected by NASA for the first suborbital flight, Glenn went on a letter writing campaign to NASA managers to be substituted for Shepard. Glenn was really upset with the selection and Shepard's alleged womanizing!
2) When Shepard worked with Slayton as managers, they bumped Cooper so Shepard could jump line for a flight to the Moon.
3) Cooper quit NASA partially as a result of Shepard's line jumping.
4) Scott Carpenter was essentially drummed out of the astronaut core as a result of his (250 mile) overshoot, and a particular flight controller who was very unhappy with Carpenter's performance.
5) Much more!
Top reviews from other countries
Ce livre très riche, qui est plus qu'une simple biographie, puisque fourmillant de détails sur tout un milieu d'aviateurs dans leur vie publique et privée, parfois aussi d'hommes d'affaire, ou d'hommes politiques, complète très utilement le livre publié par Alan Shepard et Deke Slayton = Moon Shot = Ils voulaient la Lune). Un (petit) regret : j'aurai dû prendre l'édition reliée.
A fine read if you're a serious Al Shepard or Mercury 7 buff, but if you're expecting this book to FINALLY shake your foundations about what you thought about Big Al, it's going to be a disappointment.