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We Have Capture Hardcover – September 17, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“In his career as an astronaut, Thomas Stafford saw it all: Gene Cernan’s fogged up pressure helmet, the mountains of the moon oh-so-close, a Soviet handshake in orbit. Stafford was truly one of those few who stood on the shoulders of giants and made history.”—Tom Hanks

“As American flight commander of the first ever rendezvous-in-space with the Soviets, Tom Stafford started raising the Iron Curtain. A great talent, a great career—and still involved!”—Senator John Glenn

“An intimate portrayal of space policy, especially its sometimes cantankerous, sometimes tranquil, but always interesting interactions between USA and USSR.”—Roger D. Launius, NASA Chief Historian

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford (Ret.) has been awarded many honors, including two Distinguished Service Medals and two Exceptional Service Medals from NASA, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. He lives in Florida.

Michael Cassutt has written many books, including DEKE! US Manned Space: From Mercury to the Shuttle (with Donald K. “Deke” Slayton). He lives in Studio City, California.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books (September 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588340708
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588340702
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,221,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Many books have been written about the glory days of NASA. Now we have the chance to learn about the life of one of the early pioneers of space exploration. Tom Stafford takes the reader on a journey of his amazing life from small town Oklahoma to 50,000 feet above the moon and shaking hands with Russian Cosmonauts in space. Anybody interested in Stafford's giant role in the glory years of Gemini and Apollo will love this book. Stafford vividly recalls both the joys of test pilot and astronaut life as well as the tragedies such as the T-38 flight into St. Louis where astronauts See and Bassett lost their lives. Stafford explains how profound the Apollo-Soyuz project was in his life. He began his military and astronaut career as an avowed enemy of the Soviet Union and eventually became the commander of the flight that initiated American and Russian cooperation in space. This book is a real winner and will delight those with a basic or advanced interest in the orgins of manned space exploration. The only drawback of the book is that one realizes that the NASA of 2002 is only a shell of what it was in the sixties and early seventies. Well done on a great book that adds immensely to the literature of manned space flight.
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By A Customer on February 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Where this book provides more info from others of its ilk:
- some decent "beginning" tales. I was hopeful that this would continue in such detail to give a full picture of the man. More on this later.
- Some excellent Gemini tales, particularly about himself, Grissom, and Schirra.
- Lots of post Apollo stuff, and interesting ASTP, ISS, and shuttle info. I personally was unaware of stafford's importance in the 90s in organizing various committeees to discuss NASA futures, and ISS, and think it's a shame that he declined the oppportunity to become NASA Admin.
- some more detail about alexei leonov, the great russian cosmonaut (and soviet space program in general) is sprinkled throughout the book, as he and Tom are very good buddies. There's an attempt to present their careers in parallel perspective - sometimes successfully, sometimes not. One nice piece is the Bondarenko bit - this has been reported by Oberg and others, but placed neatly in context here. Nice.
Where this book is no better
- most of the apollo era. Not much new here, little new insight.
Where this book fails to fully satisfy
- No deep insights or understandings or Mr Stafford himself. I'd wager he's a friendly-on-the-surface (certainly seems to get along with almost everyone) but hard-to-get-to-know-beyond type of fellow. Which is fine is all you want is space wonk stuff and policy info, which this book genrally delivers - but frustrating if you really want to understand the man, his families, and his friends. The bits about Faye and the astronaut wives felt tacked on - as if the authors had read Gene Cernan's book and decided "well we gotta follow suit here"...but did so half-heartedly.
- you have to put up with the usual par-for-the-course slightly egotistical way of looking at things.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very fine book that is sure to benefit all readers interested in America's adventure in space. Tom Stafford is one of America's most significant astronauts, although he is less well known than some of the others. While Stafford's four spaceflights--Gemini VI, Gemini IX, Apollo 10, and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP)--made critical contributions to the development of American space capability in the pioneering era of the 1960s and 1970s, his efforts since the 1970s as the unofficial ambassador to the Soviet Union for space and his key roles in defining space policy in the United States have been even more critical to the evolution of human space flight. One senior NASA official has said, and I agree with the assessment, that Stafford's efforts have shaped every important policy issue affecting human spaceflight for the last quarter century. In these arenas of Stafford's career this book makes important contributions to understanding. Stafford, furthermore, has a credible and exceptionally capable space writer to assist him in putting this book together. Michael Cassutt is the author of many other books, including one with Deke Slayton. Both Stafford and Cassutt deserve credit for presenting a complex person and complex era clearly and concisely.
This book may also become a benchmark in the historiography of human spaceflight because of its insights into the American/Soviet relationship in space. There have been since the 1950s no two spaceflight programs that have been more closely tied than those of the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia, sometimes as rivals and at other instances as cooperative efforts. Stafford has played a key role in both the rivalry and the cooperation.
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Format: Hardcover
Ask any American to name ten pioneering U.S. astronauts and it's quite unlikely they would include the name of Tom Stafford. Yet here is a man who was chosen in NASA's second group of astronauts, who flew two incredible Gemini missions, operated a lunar module to within a few miles of the lunar surface, and became a crew member on the historic ASTP mission, in which Soviet and American spacefarers shook hands in space. And that is just his spaceflight career. There are many layers to General Tom Stafford, and this book explores them all. I will also add that this was a greatly-anticipated book in the space community; co-author Michael Cassutt had earlier hunkered down with Deke Slayton and written a truly superb book Deke!: An Autobiography about the man, his life and career. Undoubtedly a winner, and an intriguing book about a man whose influence is still being felt at NASA and the upper echelon of spaceflight administration; so highly thought of that he was part of the Columbia accident investigation and review board after the loss of that shuttle in 2003.

This is a seriously good book about a true spaceflight pioneer, and a man who, while he might slip under the radar of most Americans, is an absolute legend of flight beyond our planet. Both authors are to be congratulated on creating this stirring and highly-recommended book.
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