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My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer Hardcover – March 2, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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In this breezy memoir, Ansari documents how she became the first Muslim woman to travel into space. From a difficult childhood in Tehran, through immigration and personal and professional success in the U.S., she provides an inside look at her life and lifelong dream to enter space. Hitting it big in the telecommunications business provided the finances, and involvement in the X Prize brought the connections, enabling her to enter the Russian space program in 2006. Her descriptions of cosmonaut training are particularly interesting, although even here she takes care to avoid comment on serious controversies. Readers expecting a visceral punch from coauthor Hickam (Rocket Boys, 1998) will be disappointed; his voice is largely absent. Just following how Ansari accomplished her dream will be interesting enough to space fans, but although her story is emotional, her writing does not rise to the level of her subject. Ansari delivers a straightforward account of a widely watched event; for more, we await a worthy historian. --Colleen Mondor

Review

“From Iranian refugee to astronaut... This is an amazing biography, an inspiring true story of a woman with huge dreams and the courage of a lion. Only in America...I loved this book, and you will too.” ―Stephen Coonts, author of The Disciple, and fifteen New York Times bestselling books

“In My Dream of Stars, Anousheh Ansari allows readers to experience the magic of space while sharing the triumphant story that brought her there. This is an awe-inspiring and heartwarming book.” ―Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut, Apollo XI

“As an entrepreneur myself, I can appreciate the significant challenges Anousheh Anasari overcame to make her dreams a reality. Her story is a testament to the power of conviction and to the understanding that through true commitment and unwavering focus, even the unimaginable is possible.” ―Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors

“An astonishing and almost improbable but very human journey - one deftly captured in this book. "I saw a small crystal float away from me... a pretty little diamond... it was one of my tears... My beautiful planet, under the warm rays of the sun, turned gracefully beneath me. I was entranced." Wow - that is just a stunner. I had tears in my eyes reading that passage.” ―Keith Cowing, Editor, NASAWATCH

“A thoroughly charming memoir ... [an] eloquent evocation of a lost time and place ... Mr. Hickam builds a story of overcoming obstacles worthy of Frank Capra, especially in its sweetness and honest sentimentality.” ―Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times on Rocket Boys

“[Hickam] is a very adept storyteller ... It's a good bet this is the story as he told it to himself. It is a lovely one, and in the career of Homer H. Hickam, Jr., who prevailed over the facts of his life to become a NASA engineer training astronauts for space walks, that made all the difference.” ―The New York Times Book Review on Rocket Boys

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230619932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230619937
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stewart Tick on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been a big Homer Hickam fan ever since "Rocket Boys" was first released. Although I am about a decade younger, our stories paralleled each other in so many ways! I was also enthralled by the early days of the Space Age, and wanted to be an astronaut or rocket scientist - or both. And I too collaborated with my neighborhood friends on homemade rockets (although we never got ours above 3,000 ft. or so). And now I find that Anousheh Ansari's experiences while coming of age mirror my own as well. I was a freshman in high school when "Star Trek" premiered on network TV. I was an instant devotee - though unlike Anousheh, I admittedly admired the ever-resourceful Capt. Kirk more than that somewhat strange and offbeat intellectual Mr. Spock!
Like Homer - and unlike Anousheh - I never actually made it into space. But I ended up becoming a science teacher, which isn't too bad, either. In fact, I'm now teaching chemistry and physics, the same subjects that Miss Riley taught Homer and the rest of the Rocket Boys! I loved this book for the same reasons as "Rocket Boys" - it described exactly how I also felt about space exploration while I was growing up. (As Homer put it, "like the science fiction I had read all my life was coming true".)
I'm really hoping that "My Dream of Stars" becomes the basis of a movie, like "Rocket Boys" did with the release of "October Sky". If so, I'd certainly enjoy showing the DVD to my students, probably in March to help motivate them before their statewide science exams (as my school did with "October Sky" this year). Needless to say, I will be recommending this book to my students, especially to the girls in our engineering program!
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Format: Hardcover
I have been reading books about space since, well, since I learned how to read. Indeed this is how I learned to really read a book - since the books I had to read in school were lame. Nearly half a century later, I have read an unknown number of books that chronicle the life stories of those who have come to be involved with the exploration of space. Every book is different yet every book is the same since the paths that people took were similar and overlapping. Some came from Nazi Germany, others from small towns in America or Russia.

But until now I had not read a story of someone who aspired to touch the stars from the midst of revolution-racked Iran.

Such is the story of Anousheh Raissyan - better known by her married name, Ansari. In describing "My Dream of Stars: From Daughter of Iran to Space Pioneer" I just want to tell you all that is in it - but that is Anousheh's task - done with the deft guidance of Homer Hickam. Homer first gained notoriety as the author of "Rocket Boys" - which also chronicled an improbable journey from a poor coal mining town in West Virginia to a long career at NASA. A better guide Anousheh could not have found.

The story Anousheh tells begins in an Iran that was still ruled by the Shah. All too soon the fires of revolution swept up the entire nation - not just the young men, but old people and little girls. Yet through out this tumultuous and very dangerous time, Anousheh managed to find solace albeit fleeting by looking up at the stars at night and visiting them in her mind.

As I turned the pages of this book I was reminded of a time in my life when these same events in Iran affected me. I was in graduate school in the early 1980s and had an office mate who I will simply refer to as "Reza".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another great book by Homer Hickam. I've read almost all his books... 4 or 5 stars. I met him at the Mars Society in Grapevine Texas. A great, sensible, and down to earth man.

My Dream of Stars is about an Iranian women Anousheh Ansari and her family that fled the totalitarian Iran to eventually become a US citizen. Luckily as a young girl, most of her family was able to escape the hellhole Iran. There would of been no life for her and her little sister and no chance of advancement, education and the good life. She loved Iran and its people but the leaders offered women no real life just basic servitude.

The 234 page book reads well with no boring parts. Great B/W pictures too. I read this page burner in less than two days.

In USA she completes college and gets an engineering degree as she was excellent in math and science. Later she gets a job at MCI, meets her future husband and gets a masters degree. She is interested in Astronomy and in love with space and the stars. Together her husband , her and another relative form a company, hire people, somehow get through with credit cards and after much work and several attempts the company later becomes profitable. She is the CEO. The company is eventually bought out and she and her husband are multi millionaires. She helps partial sponsor a company to win the space X prise for a civilian spaceship to reach at least 60 miles twice. The ten million dollar prise is won. She wanted to go up in the rocket plane's spare seat but was not allowed.

Later Anousheh is accepted for space training at Star City in Russia. She does great in her training and is allowed to go up as a mission specialist "space entrepreneur" on The Russian Soyuz to the ISS.
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