- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
- Also check our best rated Biography reviews
Rocketman: Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond Hardcover – 3 May 2005
Special offers and product promotions
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
That having been said, the innate likability of the man shines through the text. He was clearly not overly impressed with himself and understood his limitations and his humanity. Most of all his self-deprecating humour caught my imagination - a case in point is the plate showing a photo of his self-portrait in the sand. I wasn't previously aware of his personal struggle with dyslexia, which makes his acheivements in the cockpit all the greater and his appointment as an astronaut amazing. I had heard the story of the Mercury selection and Pete's description of the blank rorshach card from another Astronauts biography, however, it was listed as 'rumour'. I wonder if it is fact or posthumous hearsay.
Pete's life was hard, but only in comparison to his origins, many people start in abject poverty and have to struggle, although I do appreciate that his family's fall from wealth galvanised the man into refusing to quit at anything (Mercury selection and the dreaded electronic probe notwithstanding - hey even Braveheart would have said "to hell with this!"). I felt that some parts of the book were necessarily understated, particularly in dealing with the death of his son - it was an almost Forrest Gump moment, "That's all I have to say about that".
The relationship between Pete, Dicky-Dicky and Beano (the crew of Apollo 12) was for me one of the most interesting parts of the book, as is the way that the first, second and third intake of astronauts all seemed to know each other - notably Wally Schirra and Jim Lovell. Yes there is humour and the tendency to play around, but how much more can be acheived by a crew of really good friends? The skylab section was reasonable, but space geek that I am, I'd have liked to see more detail on the effects of long duration space flight - especially from one who was written off as "unsuitable for long-duration space flight" by the flight surgeons undertaking the Mercury Selection process.
Buzz Aldrin's foreward is worth a mention, as he appears to be someone who genuinely liked and respected Pete, and on my next visit to the States I'll certainly watch for the coloured lights in Pete's tree.
On the whole, I am not sorry I bought this book. While it is shaky in literary terms and not entirely accurate I enjoyed the anecdotes from Pete's life, especially the last meal and the autograph for the little girl signed "Your Pal, the Rocketman". The episode just seemed for me to epitomise Pete, the pilot, the astronaut, the joker and all round good guy.
The book adopts an unusual format by alternating chapters telling his life story and space missions with chapters describing a record-breaking round the world jet flight he was involved in much later in his life. This doesn't work particularly well; further detail of his space career would have made better use of those pages.
Any posthumous biography like this will raise questions as to the authenticity of quotes and detail of conversations, but I for one started the book knowing little other than the fact that he commanded Apollo 12 but ended it thinking what a great guy.
Conrad knew his share of sadness. The pages dealing with the death of his son bring a lump to your throat, but the other tragedy is that the genuine good guy revealed by this book is no longer with us to tell his own tale.
Pete should have been first on the moon. If the names and number had been shuffled slightly differently between Apollos 8 and 9 we would have had the First Man On The Moon NASA needed. That's not to detract from Mr Armstrong but it seems Pete Conrad proved you could be the best of the best and still be an approachable, likeable guy. Much of that still comes through in this book and for that reason I'll still give it 5 stars. It's just a shame the biographer that was used didn't know how to convey that sense of Right Stuff combined with Nice Guy without going all Hunter S-esque.
* - Buy All Three!
A great account of a great character.