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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An education on the space shuttle programme, 20 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut (Paperback)
As a self confessed space nut I try to read as much about the various space programmes as possible. Unfortunatley I was beginning to read books that pretty much repeated what I had just read making the task of reading about the programmes tedious. So when I was browsing the space section in my local book shop I saw this book. I realised that I was relatively naive about the shuttle programme seeing as it had become seen as routine by the time that I got interested in the space programmes. I decided to buy it and read it to give me a break from all the Apollo era books that are available. I'm so glad that I did. The book deals almost exclusively with the astronaut portion of the authors career with only a few trips back to his childhood and formative years. The author has only included these parts where necessary and therefore gives real depth and resonance to the story that is being told. I absolutely demolished this book and was suprised to realise that I had read it in a week. It does not read like a traditional autobiography, I would best describe it like being sat on the floor listening to your grand-parents talking about their past experiences when you were younger. The way that Mike Mullane kept my attention was very reminicent of these memories. It reads so easily that it captivated me immediatley.

The book covers really some 15 years of Mike Mullane's career and throughout which covers some big moments that I was not aware of (the damage to the shuttle at launch that was being ignored was particularly shocking)some of which lead to the destruction of Challenger and Columbia. I cannot criticise many aspects of this book and considering that 2 of the 3 flights that author made remain classified by the US government he has made an excellent job in covering other aspect so you don't feel cheated that you miss out on technical the details of 2 missions. Reading this book takes you along on a very personal journey for the author that he has been kind enough to share with us. You get a clear sense of this throughout by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for the next flight. I cannot recommend this book enough, I would even go as far as saying that this is an excellent book for the un-initiated to the shuttle programme. I would say one thing though as a warning to anyone reading this review while thinking of buying this book. Mike Mullane pulls very few punches here, his millitary background is clear to see and as such he is not very politically correct throughout the book. Some people get offended at this but everything should be viewed in perspective that times were different when these astronauts grew up and the TFNG's were the first truly mixed bag group of astronauts so there was certainly going to be an adjustment period and this is subtely shown throughout the book as the author's opinions gradually change throughout. This is a must book for all those interested in space and is also one of the few books written by a space shuttle astronaut available. I genuinley believe that you won't regret buying this book.
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