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Rocketman: Astronaut Pete Conrad's Incredible Ride to the Moon and Beyond Hardcover – 3 May 2005

3.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New American Library (3 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451215095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451215093
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 884,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There's much that other reviewers have already said concerning accuracy and consistency, and of course the style of writing interlacing Pete's round the world record attempt in a Lear Jet with episodes from his past. I have to say I agree, the style doesn't really work for me (that doesn't mean to say that you might not like it), and the detail particularly when depicting Pete's space flights (the thing he was *most* famous for) was weak.

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".
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Format: Hardcover
I`ve read all of the biogs of the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury astronauts and this has to be the best written and most enjoyable account. Probably because it is about the most enjoyable astronaut! The late great Pete Conrad. Even if you aren`t that up on this topic it is still a fascinating read just for his life story and insights into his dynamic character. While other names such as Neil Armstrong took a lot of the glory Conrad (The third man on the moon) was one of the most successful astronauts of them all. Rejected by the selection process for the Mercury Program he went on to fly both Gemini and Apollo missions and was very instrumental in Skylab.
A great account of a great character.
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By A Customer on 26 Feb. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ignore the hard-nut, moody cover shot - Pete Conrad was the joker in the pack of the Gemini and Apollo astronauts. He probably burst out laughing after the camera clicked. This biography confirms that role as a man who was self-effacing but ambitious, laugh-a-minute but hugely talented.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Conrad was one of the most likable of all the 12 Moonwalkers-humorous, self-deprecating and happy to poke fun at those who took themselves too seriously. It was with great joy I saw and I ordered this book. However, it made for disappointing reading. The authors have used a sub-plot (a circumterran Lear jet flight Conrad made in his later years) to pad out what the reader really wants to hear about-Gemini, Apollo and Skylab. It gets very tedious after a while. The writing style was simlar to that one would encounter in a men's 'lifestyle' magazine-colloquial and at times confusing to the non-American reader. But the most annoying things are the many inaccuracies within the telling of the story-eg. Conrad letting Alan Bean (LM Pilot) press the 'Exe' button to launch the LM from the lunar surface-when in fact Conrad let Bean take the controls of the LM whilst they were on the far side of the Moon and away from the snooping eyes of Houston watching the telemetry from the LM (also there's no 'Exe' button-it's a PROceed button). This kind of sloppiness spoiled my enjoyment of the book and made me wonder how much more of the narrative was flawed-areas that we may have no knowledge of like Conrads early life. These errors are clearly because the book was a posthumous effort authored by Conrads second wife and 'another'.
All-in-all a very poor biography of one of the most colourful and potentially accessible characters in involved in the Space programme-and alas it's likely to be all we, the general public, will have specifically of the late, great Charles 'Pete' Conrad Jr.
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