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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys [Special Edition] [Paperback]

Michael Collins
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
RRP: 11.99
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Book Description

7 July 2009
The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events - technical and spiritual - of our lifetime. In this remarkable book, Michael Collins conveys, a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humour of that adventure. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the air force, through his days as a test pilot, to his Apollo 11 space walk, presenting an evocative picture of the joys of flight as well as a new perspective on time, light, and movement from someone who has seen the fragile Earth from the other side of the moon.

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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys + The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space + Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc; Anniversary edition edition (7 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374531943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374531942
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Collins tells what his space journeys meant to him as a human being [and] discusses the role of man amid the multitudinous mechanical marvels . . . Profoundly affecting." --"The New Yorker
""Michael Collins can write . . . No other person who has flown in space has captured the experience so vividly." --Henry S.F. Cooper, Jr., "The New York Times Book Review"

About the Author

Michael Collins flew in both the""Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 space missions in the 1960s. He currently lives in South Florida.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Articulate, Humorous, Accurate! 20 Jun 2001
By Ryuto
I've read every available account of project Apollo and I think this is by far the best. Collins is a natural story teller and there's little eveidence of a co-author spoiling the text. Collins self-affacing humour and modesty make this a delight to read. Not only was he a Gemini and Apollo pilot, but he was instrumental in the designing of the pressure suit used for space and moon walks and he gives interesting accounts of this (including the discovery of his own claustraphobia-not a most desireable attribute for an astronaut!). My only disappointment was that Collins retired after being CMP on Apollo 11. He deserved a Lunar Landing and his account would have been electrifying.
I also unreservedly recommend this book-the hardback is especially nice!
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Story By The Third Apollo Hero 26 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Carrying The Fire is a personal story by the 'third man' of Apollo 11. Michael Collins is often sadly sidelined in many accounts of mankind's greatest adventure. But as command module pilot of Apollo 11 his job was the equal of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's.
Collin's is clearly a natural writer and his account of what it is like to be the only member of humanity to be totally alone is both informative and poignant. During the mission there was little time for him to reflect on the acheivement and significance of Apollo 11, but his retrospective view gives the reader a unique insight into the enormity of the undertaking. Collins' candid comments on his training and preparation for the mission show us at this thirty year remove, just how pioneering the whole of Project Apollo really was. These men were explorers as well as trained astronauts and Michael Collins was fully aware of this.
One particular passage stays in the memory - Collins knew that if anything went wrong on the lunar surface he had to be prepared to come back alone. As he says "I would have had to leave my crewmates to die on the Moon, whilst I flew home to safety. I would have been a marked man for the rest of my life"
As a long time fan of all thing 'spacey' I think Carrying The Fire is perhaps the most personal book I have read by any of the twenty four men who amazed and thrilled us all by journeying to the Moon.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the most entertaining and illuminating account of man's early exploration of space that I have read. Collins tells the story in a witty and often poignant way and is not afraid to provide the reader with a 'warts and all' approach to some of the most momentous events of the 20th century. It will be of interest to both students of the subject as well as those who were not born when man first walked upon the moon. I recommend it without reservation.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The benchmark astronaut book 29 April 2006
By G. Land
Michael Collins was probably atypical in the astronaut fratenity and that's reflected in this book. It's by far the best book I've read by an astronaut. Despite that fact that it was written over thirty years ago, it has a very modern and candid feel to it and Collins demonstrates a level of self-awareness not visibly shared by many of his peers.

The level of technical detail given is just right and he gives a very good impression of the high workload and preoccupations of crews as they approached a flight. The level of risk and fragility of the whole Apollo programme is also conveyed.

It's a shame for all that Collins didn't walk on the moon!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly detailed and accessible 13 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The last book I read about the Apollo astronauts was the rather awful Rocketman (about Pete Conrad, commander of Apollo 12)so it was with a certain trepidation that I began this 500 page book. The first great advantage is that this has been written by Michael Collins himself and not by a Hollywood scriptwriter. His style is very accessible and you get a real feel for the man as he comes across as being tremendously self effacing and modest. He talks about his feelings and pulls no punches when talking about his colleagues, though he doesn't gossip he's merely honest. A most refreshing read which is highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars He was alone 6 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am fascinated by the whole Apollo program. It is hard to sometimes to break away from the test pilot, jet jock who becomes a space man. This book gives us Collins as a man. Yes the importance of all the hardware is still there but it does not get in the way of understanding the man. On one occasion he is asked to test a new arrest mechanism for jets. He fires up the jet - heads down the runway at the specified speed (test pilot attention to detail) and then heads off into the desert in a cloud of dust - the arrest wire did not engage! Why? He forgot to drop the hook! Classic. He is also very frank about the other astronauts in the programme - he even apologises when he has something negative to say. Collins a man grounded and comfortable in his own shoes. A great read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Said Astronauts Were Inarticulate? 8 July 2006
I first read this in 1976 and a lot of it went over my head. Now coming back to it after 30 years I find it without doubt the best astronaut autobiography around. As others have said, his articulate writing, his ability to render complex technology and science readable, and, most of all, his self-effacing wit and humour make this the best book on being an astronaut that you can buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book by a fine man 4 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the only book about the space programme that I've read, and I think I've picked the right one. Collins writes clearly and engagingly: he's a born populist - and unexpectedly VERY funny at times. He takes you through his USAF career, space training, and space flights in Gemini 10 and Apollo 11. His role in the latter, the first moonlanding, forms the book's climax. There are three drawbacks: this is a very long book - he doesn't lift-off to the Moon until page 355; some of the training procedures may make laborious reading for the average reader; and the near-perfect performance of men and machines makes this a book oddly lacking in tension and excitement. Possibly not a book for the average reader, but essential for space buffs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Really great book, babe!"
I don't think I've ever had much interest in reading an autobiography before, but this book I really, really enjoyed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Desmond
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I Loved this book and after reading it i like the author too. Funny and frank and an education on NASA of old.
Published 3 months ago by pat
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill book
I love the way Mike writes. Lovely snippets of humour and great technical details. great insight into a test pilot's and astronaut's life. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. R. Cross
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Bought this for my husband as he is into everything to do with space, he is halfway through reading this and can't put it down.
Published 6 months ago by Loz
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epic Journey
Although written some time ago this book brought back to life much of the atmosphere of the age and did it with humour Hard to believe now that humankind pulled this off but the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by MR P MULLANEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Moon, real life adventure
Fascinating first hand account of Apollo 11's extraordinary mission and others besides. These astronauts were heroes but also flawed human beings and Michael Collins never shies... Read more
Published 9 months ago by vanessa phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to the Moon
This is a truly excellent book, written superbly by Mike Collins, the third man in Apollo 11. His descriptions are very clear and never get complicated so that you are along with... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Greenfly
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Probably one of the better books telling the NASA story from its beginnings to the Moon landing, well worth the read.
Published 9 months ago by yakker
4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas gift
Bought this for my brother for Christmas, selected from his wish list. Love the wish list as know the gift is wanted and makes it an easy way to identify wanted gifts.
Published 10 months ago by MRS J P WESTACOTT
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
A compelling insight in to the life and works of Michael Collins. Gives a great insight in to the first moon mission
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
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