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Deke! [Paperback]

Donald K. Slayton , Deke Slayton , Michael Cassutt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.84
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Deke! + Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys + Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martins Press-3pl; Reprint edition (July 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031285918X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312859183
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I guess when it comes to space and aviation, I've seen and done a lot in fifty years. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating and Entertaining Read 3 May 2001
By A Customer
Slayton's time at NASA stretched from the early Mercury days through the heady Apollo missions right up to the commercial space shuttle flights, so a comprehensive insight into pretty much all the US manned space flight programme is provided. Of equal interest are the pages devoted to Deke's test pilot days and, earlier, his wartime experiences. The picture emerges of an unbelievably experienced and skillful pilot who remained at the cutting edge of aviation/space science for most of his life. This book should appeal to anyone with an interest in space, NASA, or aircraft.
The book reads very easily, with the author's chatty and informal style adding an element of modesty lacking in many other astronaut biographies. One minor criticism would be that the last chapter or so - dealing with commercial satellite operations - drags a bit, and seems rather boring and business-like in comparison with the rest of the book.
The saddest thing is that the author died before this excellent book was completed, never experiencing the satisfaction of seeing his life story in print.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Deke is the autobiography of Deke Slayton, one time grounded astronaut and the man who constructed the crews that enabled Kennedy's challenge to be fulfilled. For an Apollo enthusiast like myself, the opening chapters (about Deke's early life) were hard work but the book comes to life when Deke tells the story of his role in Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab. There are many anecdotes and facts I'd never come across before, and his views on some astronauts are revealing. There did seem to be a clique at NASA during the Apollo years of management favourites (eg McDivitt, Borman et al) and Deke! explains some of the reasons why.
Deke finally got into space on the Apollo-Soyuz Mission in 1975, and there is an enjoyable chapter on that subject.
Sadly, Deke died in 1993, and his name is not widely known, but he played as big a part as anyone in the greatest technological feat of the 20th century. A good choice for anyone following up an interest in the early years of space travel.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read. 19 Nov 2002
By A Customer
DEKE! A great book filled with interesting and insider facts about America's space program.Written by one of the original seven who was unfairly denied his flight.
DEKE! goes further than other astro bio's by explaining further missions like Skylab and early shuttle development and testing.
Its one of those books that you just can't put down!
The only downside, and it's a small one, is that Deke goes into a lot of detail about his upbringing and past career as a fighter pilot in WW2. That aside though, its a great book well worth reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable for students of Apollo 5 Jun 1999
By A Customer
For anyone with a deep interest in Mercury/Gemini/Apollo, this book is a must read. It provides excellent insight into the test pilot perspective on the space program. Deke's comments on astronaut selection and who he wanted to be first on the moon are not to be found anywhere else. However this book is definitely not the first one to read on this era. A basic understanding of the architecture and operations of Apollo is assumed. But if you can appreciate why Deke notices every time Gene Kranz leaves the MOCR, this book is for you. For a scientist's perspective on this era, Don Wilhelms' "To a Rocky Moon" would make an excellent companion. Add the hard-to-find "Apollo: Race to the Moon" and you have a great education in Apollo.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book 16 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This is perhaps the finest book written by one of our astronauts. Deke was the unsung hero of the original seven but without hime their would have been no moonwalks. The book is filled with interesting personal thoughts, especially on the astronaut selection process, without a lot of bs. One gets the feeling when reading this book that Slayton is sitting in the chair next to you telling you his story. Wonderful book...
I also recommend Carrying The Fire by Mike Collins
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Deke Slayton was involved in the NASA space program from the late 1950s until the early 1980s, so this biography covers a lot of ground: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, when Slayton finally flew in space himself after years of selecting the crews.
The wide scope of the book necessarily means only brief descriptions of some missions, especially as the NASA chapters are sandwiched by descriptions of his early life and of his post-program years. Note that there are no photographs or illustrations at all in this book. Look elsewhere, though, and you'll often see Deke lurking in photos of Mission Control.
Although co-authored by a journalist, the book is written in the first person and, as such, succeeds in getting you inside Slayton's no-nonsense mindset. The simple language helps the reader understand some complicated concepts - not least his famous astronaut selection sequence.
Deke is mentioned in almost all the astronaut biographies, almost always in favourable terms, so it is very interesting to read his version of events, albeit not always returning the compliments.
The final pages are sad in that he clearly knew his days were numbered as he committed his memories to tape with co-author Cassutt. Shame. A great and much-missed character, well portrayed in this interesting read.
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