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4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Apollo astronaut autobiographies
Walt Cunningham flew on Apollo 7, the first flight after the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts on the launchpad. A controversy has raged ever since on whether the bad temper displayed to Mission Control by his commander on that flight, Wally Schirra, cast a cloud over Cunningham's contribution and his later career. Although he was subsequently lined up for...
Published on 20 Aug 2010 by tone1201

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3.0 out of 5 stars A Different Astronaut Biography
This book is a rather unusual take on the astronaut biography genre. Cunningham was part of the Apollo 7 crew for the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft. This was an interesting mission, not least because of what some have referred to as the crew's "mutiny" that ended their spaceflight careers. So there is an interesting background to a book written differently...
Published 13 months ago by Tony


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Apollo astronaut autobiographies, 20 Aug 2010
This review is from: The All-American Boys (Hardcover)
Walt Cunningham flew on Apollo 7, the first flight after the Apollo 1 fire that killed three astronauts on the launchpad. A controversy has raged ever since on whether the bad temper displayed to Mission Control by his commander on that flight, Wally Schirra, cast a cloud over Cunningham's contribution and his later career. Although he was subsequently lined up for command of one of the Skylab missions, he lost out in the jockeying within the astronaut corps and never flew in space again. He's not therefore one of the better known astronauts from that era, but don't let that put you off. I found this book to be an intelligent, revealing (without attempting to be sensationalist) and thoughtful account of his experiences, both in space and within NASA. I've read most of the (auto)biographies published by or about the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts, and while all of them are remarkable men and enjoyable reads, some of the more recent accounts suffer from well-worn repetition of a few favourite stories over the years, or from inaccuracies and cliches contributed by poorly-informed ghostwriters. But this book by Walt Cunningham is one of the best, up there with 'Carrying the Fire' by Michael Collins, which was also written in the 1970s quite soon after the events it describes. Cunningham's own personality and views come through strongly. It's not the ideal book for your first introduction to the Apollo story, but definitely worth reading if you want to dig a little deeper.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Different Astronaut Biography, 6 Nov 2013
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This review is from: All-American Boys (Paperback)
This book is a rather unusual take on the astronaut biography genre. Cunningham was part of the Apollo 7 crew for the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft. This was an interesting mission, not least because of what some have referred to as the crew's "mutiny" that ended their spaceflight careers. So there is an interesting background to a book written differently from the usual: Cunningham sets out to document the personalities and politics as much as the missions and omits the usual early life biographical details. This is great background interest for those interested in the space programme and it's well written too.

Unfortunately, for this reader at least, the book goes on to discuss the US space programme in more recent years, when Cunningham had left NASA and was no longer directly involved. His views on the conduct of the shuttle programme and the future for NASA are interesting but presented at far too much length and with some repetition, making the last 150 pages very dull for me. This is the reason for my 3 star rating; the first part of the book merits 4 stars even when the axes can be heard being ground!

Finally, the book's physical presentation (I have the paperback 2010 second edition) does it no favours. The entire cover along with all the (black and white) photos within the book have been printed at far too low a resolution, leaving them looking like something from a 1980s home printer. The main text and paper stock are fine and the book does include an index.

Conclusion: Worth reading but be prepared to start skimming when you reach the last quarter of the book.
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The All-American Boys
The All-American Boys by Walter Cunningham (Paperback - 20 Sep 2004)
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