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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the Bill Bryson of space travel
I've been waiting for this book since I was a kid watching the first landing on the Moon on TV. It is something completely different from what I read till now about the space program. To say that Mike Mullane is the Bill Bryson of space travel is to underestimate him. You will not only appreciate the story, the inside view on the US space program (including the permanent...
Published on 3 May 2006 by P. G. Calisse

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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Great
Not as good as I was lead to believe. Large sections of this book concentrate on NASA "Office Politics" which I found boring. As two of Mullane's Shuttle Flights were Dept of Defence Satellite deployments and thus "Classified" the description of these flights are very sparse. Otherwise an honest description of life as an Shuttle Astronaut.
Published 18 days ago by M. Peacock


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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, highly recommended, 17 Aug 2014
This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
Brilliantly written, highly recommended. Mullane is as good an author as he was an astronaut. I found it highly entertaining and intriguing as well.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal insight into the world of a modern astronaut., 13 Oct 2010
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Mr. A. N. Mcgill (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
This very personal account compares favourably with Tom Wolfe's 'The Right Stuff', Michael Collins' "Carrying the Fire" and M Thompson's "At the Edge of Space". Well written, engaging and at times a little too honest this tale gives a real insight into a very talented but ultimately very human being. He recounts his early years with his Air Force dad and his joy at building rockets. He also recounts the pain and sadness of losing fellow air force pilots and astronauts. Emotional and inspiring.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real story of the space programme, 16 Jan 2011
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S. P. Long "Simon Long" (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
I've read a number of astronaut memoirs, but I have to say that "Riding Rockets" is head and shoulders the most interesting and, more importantly, the most honest.

Mullane's description of the less glamorous side of the space programme (space sickness, problems with the toilet, aches and pains as a result of zero gravity) is interesting enough, as is his description of the management problems and office politics of NASA. But what makes this book so compelling is is honesty about himself - his feelings and weaknesses. Every other astronaut memoir I've read makes no mention of fears or anxiety - the astronauts tend to portray themselves as superhuman, and above such frailties. I'd always wondered just how realistic this was, and now Mullane has revealed the truth - astronauts are just like us, and suffer from all the natural fears associated with sitting on top of a rocket. The only difference is that, for them, the drive to go into space enables them to overcome the fear.

If you only read one book about the space programme, make it this one - I can't recommend it highly enough.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting look into a shuttle astronauts life, 11 Sep 2010
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This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
More focused on the personal/human side of astronaut life than the technical side but with enough 'shuttle facts ' to keep the mechanical minded( like myself) interested.Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins is a better 'astronaut read' but for an honest insight into the shuttle program and the shuttle astronauts working life this book will satisfy.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seat of the pants stuff, 11 Dec 2007
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Dr. J. A. Hiscox "Dr Jules" (Leeds, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
This is probably the best astronaut autobiography I have read with the possible exception of Michael Collin's book. Colonel Mike Mullane was the first generation of the space shuttle astronauts specifically selected to fly on the machine. His book is a no holds bared account of his time before and at NASA and the courage, terror and perhaps foolhardy nature it takes to ride into space on rocket which basically has no effective escape system. Personally I liked all the anecdotes that are scattered throughout the book, I particularly liked the way he described the meeting of two cultures, scientist astronaut and military astronaut. Having served in the infantry and being a scientist I can well appreciate the two would not initially get along. As Colonel Mullane describes he was a product of his environment, Vietnam veteran and survivor of a catholic school. However, the moral of his story and life education is the respect he developed for women who want a career and also people who are prepared to put their life on the line in pursuit of a common goal which is unobtainable to most. This is one of my selected `toilet' books and it is well thumbed companion. Friends who come to stay always get addicted when reading it and basically only emerge when nagged by their wives, who then get addicted to. Well worth the read.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed ..., 22 Sep 2012
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P. White (Cambridge, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
The author of this book makes a very big and near continuous point about wanting to be an astronaut from a very early age and how much he admired and studied the Apollo programme.
He also reuses two famous quotes throughout his book, both Apollo 13 related, firstly "Houston we have a problem" and secondly flight director Gene Kranz stating that "Failure is not an option".
This is all well and good except that both are 100% inaccurate. The first quote was actually "Houston we've had a problem", it was modified for Ron Howard's 'Apollo 13' film and Gene Kranz never said the second; that was an invention for the same film!
This goes to prove my long held belief that Hollywood is a menace to history because a large percentage of the Earth's population base their historical knowledge on the deliberately flawed output of tinseltown. Never let a fact get in the way of a good story (ie profit) etc. Secondly it removes some of my faith in the author of this book and his veracity because if he's a real astronaut who grew up in the time of Apollo and based his life on it's influence and he STILL uses factually inaccurate quotes from a FILM in his book then how much of the rest of it can we trust?
This is an engaging read, although I'd dispute the author's repeated (ad nauseum) opinion that Judy Resnick was the finest looking female on the planet (or off it), but be careful what you believe. Especially, I'd suggest, about disputed marital infidelities!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ego, allied with male chauvinism and Judy, Judy, Judy!!, 22 May 2012
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G. Brooks "brooksy" (a Brit abroad) - See all my reviews
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This is billed and reviewed quite often as "the best book about the Space Programme". If it is I shan't bother reading the others. As a fly on the wall, brutally honest account, of one astronaut's failings it hits the spot. However I would have liked more in depth technical detail in the book allied with design discussion and historical context about the shuttle space programme. That is to say more "nerdy stuff".

The book has several chapters devoted to Mr Mullane's family background and personal life. I understood the early one about his childhood love of "rockets" but the others about how he met and married his poor wife and his obsession with a female astronaut, Judy, I found grating and a tad boring.

Mike Mullane suggests, near the end of the book, that modern astronauts are boring. I presume he means they are not male chauvinists, with crass senses of humour, who don't value women, treat their wives as breeding heifers are disloyal to management and team members. For he has all these negative traits in abundance. The sorry thing is by the end of the book he thinks he is cured of such maladies, I'm afraid not.

The humour, including a joke about an Armenian Earthquake that killed 25,000 people, I found offensive or toilet, at a base level. Mullane writes this off saying he is from "planet AD" - no he is just an A***hole.

The book inevitably is repetitive as it goes through three aborted shuttle take offs.

Lastly how he treated his wife and his obsessive near stalking behaviour of Astronaut Judy I found pitiful mostly because a so called educated man didn't realise these errors. I got the feeling any positive mention of his wife were added later as an editing balance.

I couldn't like this book because I hated Mike Mullane.
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