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Customer Review

22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Houston, we have a problem..., September 13, 2006
This review is from: Leap of Faith: An Astronaut's Journey into the Unknown (Mass Market Paperback)
Over the past few years I have rediscovered my fascination with the 1960s space race by reading several books by or about people connected with NASA back in those glory days. After reading "Leap of Faith" I have now read biographies of all the Mercury Seven astronauts. The good news is that Gordon Cooper's book is easily one of the most interesting. The bad news is that I don't exactly mean that as a compliment.

For about two thirds of this book Cooper recounts his days with NASA and here he is, pardon the expression, on solid ground. The passages feel a bit rushed and his interpretation of events differ from other viewpoints you may have read, but he's Gordon Cooper and he's earned the right to have his say.

Unfortunately, the NASA days are only part of Cooper's life story and it's the remaining one third of the book where he drives himself into the ditch. I knew from other sources that Cooper firmly believes flying saucers have visited the Earth and our government has conspired to keep the truth from us. I don't believe this myself, but again, he's Gordon Cooper and he has earned my respect. I was willing to listen to what he had to say.

A few UFO stories would have been fine, but Cooper shoots himself in the foot and destroys whatever credibility he had when he recounts his relationship with Valerie Ransone who he met in the late 70s. Ransone claimed to receive telepathic messages from space aliens and wanted to use the knowledge she was gaining to start something called the Advanced Technology Group. Of course, this group needed some funding to get itself going.

Rarely, if ever, have I read a book before where something becomes painfully obvious to the reader but of which the author remains blissfully unaware. Ransone begins to use Cooper for his name and prestige to obtain money for what is nothing more than a huge scam. Cooper never seems to catch on. His viewpoint always seems to be "It might be true, therefore it is true."

The lowest point in this silliness comes when Ransone announces that the aliens are coming to Earth to give Cooper a ride in one of their saucers. Cooper, as gullible as can be, prepares for his expectant UFO flight just as he had for any of his NASA missions. It comes as absolutely no surprise, to anyone but Cooper I guess, when shortly before the flight the aliens are forced to cancel. Apparently there was a political squabble over this proposed flight back on the homeworld. Darn the luck.

One is left to wonder if Cooper really believed all this nonsense or if he was just including it as a way to make his book stand out and sell a few more copies. Either way, it's a pretty poor way for a true American hero to act.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 5, 2011 11:21:04 PM PST
IMO the UFO part of this book is so nonsensical that it gives credence to the non ETH espoused by ufologists like Jacques Vallee. Changing of subject, Amazon please offer this books for Kindle, I gave away my paperback copy.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2013 7:28:44 PM PDT
M. Franta says:
GOSH - who are we to judge what Gordon Cooper states emphatically that he witnessed while piloting a supersonic jet high in our Earth's friendly atmosphere? I haven't read this book yet and I don't know if I'm sufficiently compelled to buy it any time soon, but please folks. Give him the courtesy to speak what's on his mind.
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