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Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space [Hardcover]

John W. Young , James R. Hansen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Sep 2012
The autobiography of astronaut John Young.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 415 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (15 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813042097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813042091
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John W. Young, retired astronaut and former NASA executive, has received more than eighty major awards for his career in aerospace, including six honorary doctorates. James R. Hansen is professor of history and former director of the Honors College at Auburn University. He has been associated with the NASA History Program for the past thirty-one years, and is the author of "First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong "and coauthor of "Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle "Challenger" Disaster."

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait 1 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having literary just finished reading this book, I thought I'd give my perspective as someone who has read his fair share of material relating to the space race of the 1960's-1970's.

To say I was exited upon hearing this book was soon to be published is something of an understatement. John W. Young's experience in manned space exploration is second to none, and it's all captured here in detail.

Is it a little heavy on the technical side of thing's...perhaps, but this was also the case with Mike Collin's `Carrying the fire' in this case mind I was expecting it as anyone who's ever heard of John Young's infamous `Youngrams' will know he is regarded as something of a stickler for details.

Does it contain mistakes...yes, but again anyone with enough knowledge on this subject should be able to spot them quite easily, and for me personally (even though their presence is indeed perplexing) they do not detract from the overall experience of the book.

What I like in reading such books (besides the historical reference) is to get a sense of the subject's personality and in this `Forever Young' does deliver. It is John Young's tenacity and determination that really shines through in the pages of this book.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, though the comparatively high level of technical detail means it's not as easily accessible as the likes of say Gene Cernan's `Last Man on the Moon' or Deke Slaytons `Deke' it still however manages to be an enjoyable and informative read and the epilogue is both inspiring and sobering in it's parting message.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the better Astronaut Autobios 21 Feb 2013
By MIJ6689
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was desperate to buy this in hardback when it was released, but decided to wait as I knew I was getting an electronic reader for Christmas, so naturally it was the very first Kindle purchase I made.

I don't want to get into my thoughts specific to the Kindle version, though I was a little disappointed with the quality of the photographs.

The book itself is very good indeed for anyone who has an interest in the American space program, and lets face it, no one can boast more involvement at the `sharp end' than John W Young. However, I think it drifts a little once we get into the routine part of the Space Shuttle years. Yes I know that the space shuttle was never routine - so what I mean is after the testing of the vehicle up to the point where it was made operational.

The discussion of the Gemini and Apollo years though are over too quickly, though this is where my main personal interest lies, and could be down to my looking for more operational details rather than that covered in his lengthy managerial career.

There is - for me - too much discussion of specific technical issues that many of the shuttle missions had, though this comes across as a strong anti government message who we see gradually reducing NASA's funding which Young will tell you compromised safety, and definitely put paid to the dreams and plans of the early space pioneers. He asks repeatedly where would we be in space today if the impetus started by JFK had been continued.

The Challenger and Colombia accidents though are covered really well and from a perspective that differs from alternatives, while not really telling me anything I didn't already know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
All the usual stuff for an astronaut's life story, and his flights from Gemini to Shuttle.No real surprises here, but fascinating nonetheless. Then the second part of the book lifts the lid on the short-sightedness of the NASA management, which reveals how they were lucky to only lose two shuttles...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 23 Oct 2013
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fascinating insight into the world of spaceflight and astronauts. Bringing back memories of watching many of the events on TV as they occurred. You are right there with John as he flies Gemini and Apollo and walks on the moon. I can almost taste the moondust on his spacesuit.

However, the latter half of the book becomes very technical and presents statistics with an assumption that the reader knows the meaning. No doubt many readers will be pilots or aerospace engineers, but equally many may simply be curious about the career of an astronaut.

An interesting contrast between the race to the moon and the shuttle with a look at Apollo 1, 13, Challenger and Columbia. The fat bureaucratic NASA putting cost before lives compared to the organisation that put men on the moon. You can share the author's frustration as proposal after proposal to make the shuttle safer is ignored.

Overall an enlightening insight to the world of test pilots and astronauts only spoiled in the second half of the book by endless statistics and pilot talk that leaves earth bound readers, well earth bound. I would like to soar with you John, but I don't know how.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique memoir 5 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Why unique? Well, as some readers of this review will already be aware, that John Young is the only man to have flown on Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle. He is therefore ideally placed to provide an insider's insight into a very large part of the US space programme. Having already read much about Gemini and Apollo, I found the extensive coverage of the Shuttle particularly interesting. Covering events from the early test flights to the Columbia disaster, there is much to learn from Young's first-hand account.

Like many other astronaut memoirs, the author recounts his early life (growing up, like many of the other astronauts, in hard times). He then goes on to describe his military service and very long career as an astronaut. Young's writing style is workmanlike but not inspired, and I could not help wondering what the end result would have been with prose like that of Michael Collins (author of the superlative Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys) used to describe what it was like to walk on the Moon. Overall, though, an essential purchase for space fans.
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