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Magnificent desolation

Magnificent desolation [Kindle Edition]

Buzz Aldrin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product Description


`A compelling account not only of the [Apollo 11] mission and its impact on the world, but also the effects of becoming one of the most important figures of the 20th century overnight'


'Exciting and moving' DAILY EXPRESS 'Thrilling. Forty years on, the raw facts of the adventure remain beguiling and the bravery of the astronauts compelling' SUNDAY TIMES 'Buzz Aldrin might not have been the first man to walk on the Moon, but of all the astronauts to have been there, none of them has articulated their predicament with quite such wisdom and sensitivity' MAIL ON SUNDAY

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1296 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (17 Aug 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VQ7QBC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,082 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time and Space 7 Mar 2010
It's remarkable that less than 70 years after the first heavier than air flight in 1903, human beings were able to fly to the moon. It's even more remarkable to realise that many of today's mobile phones have more computing power than the Apollo 11 which took them there. Yet what brings everything together is the vision, courage and determination of the human race to explore more facets of their existence. For anyone who recognises that America's victory in the space race was about politics not peace then Buzz Aldrin's book is testament to the human condition.

Of the three astronauts who travelled on Apollo 11 Neil Armstrong lives in relative obscurity in Ohio, where he was born, following a successful career in education and business. Michael Collins worked for the US government and then the Smithsonian Institute before going into business on his own account while Aldrin went through two divorces, depression and alcoholism. If Aldrin has a beef with NASA it's that while they had rigorous physical examinations (which Aldrin still undertakes annually) no-one seems to have devised post space psychological tests. This is even more surprising seeing as both Armstrong and Aldrin had seen active service as fighter pilots during the Korean war.

Autobiographies are essentially self-centred otherwise they are fictitious. In Aldrin's case he finds a balance between the mission which brought him fame and the rest of his life. That life was already in a mess (along with that of several other astronauts) because of the demands of his training and work. His marriage had been drained of emotion and was in decline. It wasn't helped by his depressive personality which expressed itself in a need to set and achieve goals.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Egotism 5 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First of all, it has to be said that Buzz is not a modest kind of guy. There is a certain amount to commend in this book, namely the first two thirds concerning the Apollo 11 training and landing and the subsequent unravelling of Buzz's life. However, the latter third is a homage to his third wife, Lois. An entire chapter is dedicated to her life story and Buzz makes much of her wealthy family connections. A lot of this is contained in very schmalzy and saccharine prose. I don't know how the publisher let this through as it greatly takes from the overall book and does not reflect well on the man himself. If you are interested in the Apollo 11 moon landing, there are other worthier books to peruse.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did Aldrin write this? 27 July 2009
Having worked on Apollo at Kennedy, I am always eager to read the latest books about space history. While I realize that the bulk of this book has to do with Aldrin's problems he endured (and overcame) after the mission, I was quite surprised at the number and magnitude of the technical errors I noticed regarding the mission. It made me wonder just how much input Aldrin really had in the writing of this book. Surely he knows better.

A few examples: the book states that Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 reached an altitude of 62 miles (it went up 116 miles). The book repeatedly refers to multiple engines on the LM descent and ascent stages as well as on the Service Module; each of the 3 only had one engine. The book refers to the "dark side" of the moon; (there is no "dark" side, only a "far" or "back" side). Even the text on the LM commemoration plaque is misquoted. There are many more.

There is a photo whose caption states it is taken after Aldrin's Gemini 12 EVA. If this is true, who took it from outside the spacecraft? It is actually a photo (JSC image S66-59907) taken prior to liftoff. (The visor protective cover is still in place.)

All in all, I still enjoyed the book, but I am always suspect about the rest of the book when I am able to find so many errors in the parts I am familiar with. But these errors in no way detract from my admiration of the man.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnicicent Journey 17 July 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Starting at the moon landing of Apollo 11 and moving on from there Buzz Aldrin's book shows the impact the being the second man on the moon had on his life and those around him. Never wavering from the truth Buzz talks in honest and open fashion about his personal problems with depression and alcohol abuse and his long slow recovery to again play an active role in shaping American space policy and inspiring the youth of today to take up the space challenge.

After reading some other astronauts books it's refreshing to see someone be so honest about being a hero with feet of clay, rather than quietly displaying the right stuff in every situation, but that only makes you warm to Buzz even more and make you realise that the astronauts were first and foremost human beings. Buzz's love of space exploration and his hope for the future of space travel are also fascinating and you can tell that here is a man who clearly loves the future and wants us all to go there with him.

If I have one criticism it's that we don't get to know much about pre-Apollo 11 Aldrin. There is a brief mention of time in the war in Korea and a few remarks about early times in NASA but it would have been interesting to read an account of Buzz's earlier Gemini 12 mission with that other great space hero Jim Lovell (who has also written a great biog) or some of the training which the astronauts went through as part of the moon project.

Overall through this is a great book about a unique event in history and the impact it had on one of the key participants I'd recommend it to anyone, not just space junkies, as a riveting insight into one of the key events of the late 20th century as well as a moving and supportive account of a man coming to terms with his own daemons and living to tell the tale.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream come true
Book received in perfect condition with very much appreciated protective packaging .
So pleased I purchased this. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Samantha Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for Apollo mission buffs
An insight to a man I have often looked up to, but find his personal fight is probably a greater struggle.
Published 4 months ago by G E Husselbee
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought as present
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A star who stumbled and rose again
An excellent and revealing account of Buzz Aldrin's life since he walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Marty M
3.0 out of 5 stars a complex man
As a space nut with a special interest in the Mercury and Apollo programs I have always been fascinated by the personalities of the men who risked everything to race to the moon. Read more
Published 16 months ago by yvonne waterston
5.0 out of 5 stars Buzz book
I will never get to ask Buzz in person, i feel I don't need to now. A good read.
Will look at other space biographies.
Published 17 months ago by James Revill
3.0 out of 5 stars Great
It was purchased to assist my son with his GCSE Drama project. It provided all the information that was needed.
Published 18 months ago by Susan Bates
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
Only read a couple of chapters so far - not quite sure if it was written by Mr Aldrin though!
Published 20 months ago by Mr. Gj Wade
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of three thirds
This book started marvellously but then steadily deteriorated. Essentially, it splits into three parts. Read more
Published 22 months ago by History Geek
5.0 out of 5 stars MOON WALKER BEARS HIS SOUL
I have always been fascinated by the Apollo Space Missions, I recall growing up in those momentous years &
watching the exploits of these Men as they pushed the Boundaries of... Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2011 by Mr. R. J. Myers
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