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Another Disappointing Astronaut Autobiography
on 16 July 1999
Gene Cernan is one of America's most experienced and successful astronauts. His three missions were among the most ambitious, successful and exciting of all time. He spent more time, along with partner Harrison Schmitt, than any other man walking on the moon. It was, therefore, with great disappointment that I read this book. What I expect from a book by an astronaut is to really feel and understand what the unique experiences they went through were like. With the notable exception of Mike Collins' autobiography almost none of the astronauts books really provide this. Only 12 men have ever stood on the moon and yet they have not really conveyed what this and other aspects of spaceflight were like in their autobiographies. His dismisses his epic Apollo 17 flight in a few pages and spends more time talking about the politics of crew selection, giving crude descriptions of his wife's figure and other trivia. Also there is a lack of illustrations showing the alien environment he explored so well. In a more positive light, he reveals for the first time the real dangers the Gemini spacewalks entailed and gives a good description of the problems Ed White encountered in Gemini 4 and his own nightmarish experience in Gemini 9.