I have always been a space cadet and, when this book was given to me as a present I jumped in feet first to find out more about the man who heralded America's entry into manned spaceflight. The book itself is remarkably absorbing and easy to read, with a very " hard to put down feel to it". It tells the story of Al Shepherd from his formative years in East Derry, to joining the U.S Navy, eventually ending up at Pax River as a test pilot, and then when the call came to join Nasa he was first in queue. This is where the book has a shortcoming,I found the author was lacking slightly in some of the technical aspects of the Freedom 7 sub-orbital flight and Shepherds later Apollo 14 flight, and whilst this does not really detract from the book I feel he could have researched some of the aspects a lot more deeply and accuratley. That said when I closed the book I was rather sad that this remarkable mans story was over. A must read for anyone with an interest in the heroes of spaceflight.
this book is a "must" for anyone interested in the space race. Author Neil Thompson gives a totally in-depth insight into the life and career of the "icy commander" throughout his formative years, military and NASA career, through MERCURY, GEMINI AND APOLLO, very well documented, this book puts you right "in there", as if you lived your life alongside Alan B shepard, the first American in space!! Anyone who has read any books about the other Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts will find this a valuable addition to their collection, and will find it very difficult to put down once started. an excellent read and nicely illustrated. 10/10.
The book does live up to half of its title for sure. It really gives a great appreciation of Alan Shepard the man warts and all. I should imagine that his peers would probably have agreed with a lot of what is written, as most of what is described has been suggested in other books of the genre. I do have to agree with another review on this book though, it certainley seems to be lacking in details when it comes to what he was most famous for, his two space flights. As a matter of fact his trip to the moon is really a little bit too light on details, and it appears that the author really wanted to get his personality across rather than give much away about either of his space flights. It is nicely written and well paced, although I did find myself wondering just exactly when we were going to get to the space flight bit. As previously mentioned it does give us a good idea of what type of personality the man had, but I feel that sometimes it doesnt comment upon the context that these particular character traits came to the forefront. It gives us the context in generous proportions, but it would have been nice to be reminded that some of these traits were pretty much neccersary for the man to become who he became. Without this commentary, it could possibly be too easy to attach negativity to the same. Having said that, the ending does really round things out, and ammends are made. I enjoyed the book very much and would certainley recommend it.
My collection of space themed books is slowly growing and this is one of the more rounded in terms of it's appraisal of the subject. I've just read the Gus Grissom biography which was a little dry and reverential. Light This Candle pulls no punches however, and it makes for a much more interesting read. It shows Shepard as having all the human frailties that most of us are blessed with as well as those credentials most of us don't have. These latter qualities set him up as a true rocket folk-lore hero and the first American in space. A very good read if you like your space.
I've thoroughly enjoyed this book about America's first man in space. He was a complicated person but the author has done a fab job of making him human. If you're interested in America's Space Program or enjoy biographies then I highly recommend this book
A real insight into the first American in space and the era of the hero astronauts. Exceptionally well written and succeeds in combining the chronology of his life with the people and events that enabled him to achieve his goals. Excellent and sensitively composed with a set of B&W photos that complement the writing. More than top marks from me !