Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir Paperback – 1 Jan 2001
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Imagine yourself in a decaying space station far away from the atmosphere you never realised you needed so badly, not knowing if the next malfunction would kill you or just keep you busy. Dr Jerry M Linenger experienced just this and describes his harrowing but ennobling five months aboard Mir in Off the Planet, a memoir that evokes the excitement of living every day as a life-threatening adventure. Linenger's very personal writing style draws the reader into the story quickly, breezing through his childhood, Annapolis training, medical school and selection as an astronaut, then moving quickly to the Mir assignment and its aftermath.
Linenger isn't shy about sharing his opinions; chapter titles such as "Broken Trust" and "An Attempted Coverup" show his feelings about the bizarre relationship between the crew and mission control that may have kept him and his Russian comrades in constant danger. He also heaps praise on his fellow crew members and family for their strength and perseverance throughout the mission--between communication difficulties, the cloud of doubt surrounding the station's systems, and problems such as fires and toxic fumes, it's a wonder anyone survived with their sanity intact. The full-colour pictures accompanying the text add further insight into life aboard Mir. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Off The Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir' by Jerry M. Linenger is one of the most readable. Off the Planet sheds new light on such present developments as the Russians' determination to continue the Mir after their repeated commitments to abandon it, combined with their commitments to the International Space Station. The book makes one think that perhaps the United States would be better off partnering in space with, say, Somalia or Lower Slobovia. Russian Psychologist, cure thyself and thy kindred. The Washington Times 20000305 The author, a NASA astronaut, orbited the earth more than two thousand times in the space station Mir and became the first American to spacewalk outside a foreign spacecraft. But he paid a high price for these distinctions. Inside, Mir was as mess, and several power failures lefts its inhabitants in total darkness. Worst of all, Linenger reports, was the lack of professionalism among their Russian handlers. "Mission control in Moscow became our enemy rather than our friend." he writes, "our nemesis rather than our support structure." Mission control threatened to cut the Russian astronauts pay if they performed poorly, and dangled bonuses for doing well. And mission control's propensity to micromanage was so extreme that the astronauts had their every activity programmed down to the minute. The Washington Post Book World 20000214 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Linenger's book does get really good, though, when he gets to MIR. The description of the onboard fire make the whole book worth reading- the bonechilling image Linenger gives is the best I have read, and Linenger's description of the extent and danger of the fire shows just how much it was played down elsewhere at the time. Linenger also gives a wonderful picture of the sheer hard work of life on MIR that Burrough and Colin Foale never quite get across in their books on the same theme.
So, in all, a great read. In some ways, though, I hope it sells badly. Linenger needs the wind knocked out of his sails a bit.
Read "Dragonfly" instead, which coincidentally hints at why Linengers account is perhaps the less-deserving read.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
That being said, this remains an interesting book. Linenger is one of only five American astronauts to spend time aboard Mir and the only one (so far) to write a book it. So hearing his thoughts on the preliminary training and the experience itself remain well worth reading, whatever his faults. The most gripping part is his account of the fire onboard Mir, which was far more dangerous than NASA was originally led to believe. He also provides something of the feel of that unique experience, spending five months in cramped and alien quarters with only intermittent contact with his family.
So, in short, Linenger is not someone I'd enjoy spending much time with, I don't think, but I did enjoy reading his book. Recommended for the space enthusiast or anyone interested in a first-person account of the space program.
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