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on 26 January 2000
Carrying The Fire is a personal story by the 'third man' of Apollo 11. Michael Collins is often sadly sidelined in many accounts of mankind's greatest adventure. But as command module pilot of Apollo 11 his job was the equal of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's.
Collin's is clearly a natural writer and his account of what it is like to be the only member of humanity to be totally alone is both informative and poignant. During the mission there was little time for him to reflect on the acheivement and significance of Apollo 11, but his retrospective view gives the reader a unique insight into the enormity of the undertaking. Collins' candid comments on his training and preparation for the mission show us at this thirty year remove, just how pioneering the whole of Project Apollo really was. These men were explorers as well as trained astronauts and Michael Collins was fully aware of this.
One particular passage stays in the memory - Collins knew that if anything went wrong on the lunar surface he had to be prepared to come back alone. As he says "I would have had to leave my crewmates to die on the Moon, whilst I flew home to safety. I would have been a marked man for the rest of my life"
As a long time fan of all thing 'spacey' I think Carrying The Fire is perhaps the most personal book I have read by any of the twenty four men who amazed and thrilled us all by journeying to the Moon.
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