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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journey (1974)

Tekijä: Michael Collins

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
7422430,545 (4.36)55
Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. In Carrying the Fire, Michael Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of the adventure of reaching the moon. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the air force, through his days as a test pilot, to his Apollo 11 spacewalk, presenting an evocative picture of the joys of flight as well as a new perspective on time, light, and movement from someone who has seen the fragile Earth from the other side of the moon.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 24) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is my new favorite astronaut autobiography. Collins is a surprisingly good writer, both in his deft use of metaphor & simile, and in his meticulous attention to detail. I learned things about piloting Gemini and Apollo spacecraft that I had never read in others' books. The foreword and afterword were written for the 2009 edition, decades after the original book itself was composed. So in this version, you get the best of both worlds: the fresh after Apollo view and the time-worn, life-goes-on view. But both are inspirational in their way.
[Audiobook note: Good reader whose voice seems to fit the author well.] ( )
  Treebeard_404 | Jan 23, 2024 |
For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey by Michael Collins is a memoir of the famous NASA astronaut. Mr. Collins was part of the Gemini and Apollo missions, and his first-hand account is fascinating.

This is a fascinating look into the history of the space person from a personal perspective. The tone is familiar, and friendly, as if the author and I were sitting over a cup of coffee swapping stories.

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journey by Michael Collins is a straightforward book, open and honest with self-deprecating humor sprinkled about. The fascinating part about this memoir is Mr. Collins’ perspective on historical events. He has no interest, for example, in describing the deaths of the Apollo 1 astronauts. Instead, his memory is that of being the only person available to drive to deliver the bad news to one of the wives before she turns on the TV or radio.

Unlike First Man, Neil Armstrong’s biography, there aren’t as many technical details or much politics as Buzz Aldrin’s Magnificent Desolation. Collins is appreciative of the chance he’s gotten to make history and is quick to give credit to those around him, and many more.

Mr. Collins covers his career in the United States Air Force and his astronaut career before Apollo 11. Like many, I’m sure, I read this book to hear about the moon mission, but the lead-up is truly engrossing and worth reading with, or without, the Pièce de résistance .

The memoir is intelligent and practical, engaging the reader in an articulated and fascinating narrative. The great technological achievement of sending people to the moon, and safely back (the big achievement in my opinion) is told through his narrative, at times being alone behind the moon without contact with anyone at all for a time. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Jan 18, 2024 |
Carrying the Fire is Michael Collins' account of the first moon landing. He has the right to tell it, as he was the closest to the story without actually landing on the moon, having been the pilot of the Command Service Module Columbia. He remained in the Columbia and orbited the moon waiting for Armstrong and Aldrin to land, walk, then return to the capsule for the trip home.

Collins does an admirable job telling the story and he does it from the point of view--and, more entertaining for me--in the voice of a fighter pilot-turned test pilot-turned astronaut. That voice, and the comments that come from it, were by far the best quality of the book for me. They were most pronounced in two areas. The first was his expressed joy at being alone in the Columbia on the back side of the moon, separated by hundreds of thousands of miles from the three billion people of earth and with no radio contact with anyone--either the mission controllers or his two crew mates on the moon's surface. Single-seat fighter pilots will identify with that joy.

The second was his antipathy to flight surgeons (you can only break even if you go to see them.) This subject cropped up several times in his narrative from the funny story of his ejection from an F-86, finding his own way back to the base, making the necessary trip to the flight surgeon only to be told, "No doctor! Big crash and doctor's out looking!" to the detailed and hard description of their physicals in the astronaut selection process, to his and all the other astronauts frustration with being hooked up to heart monitors during spaceflight ("I'll let you know if I stop breathing," was his response to an inoperative sensor late in his Apollo 11 flight). In the end, he understood and appreciated their work--a surgeon fixed a major neck injury, which surgery disrupted his place on Apollo 8 and landed him on the history-making Apollo 11. Though he understood the necessity, he didn't have to like it.

I rated the book three stars because Collins' editor was asleep at the switch. At 478 pages, the book is about half again longer than it should be and there are hundreds of ways a good editor could have tightened the story and helped him move the narrative along. Is the description of Air Force manual "Notes, Cautions, and Warnings" necessary to the story? The contents of the 1960s Air Force jungle survival manual? Even the list of law enforcement background of the first group of astronaut candidates? No. All these and much, much more could have hit the cutting room floor without doing damage to the book. Quite the opposite. The book would have been better for it.

But, for understanding the life and experience of an astronaut at this most interesting time in American history, there isn't a better book out there. It's worth the read. ( )
  fathermurf | Oct 4, 2023 |
Mike Collins' wrote his famous memoir himself. He is quite frank, including a list of his colleagues' personalities, and a bit of a kvetch, but he gives an exciting and in-depth account of his training, NASA politics, and both his Gemini and Apollo missions. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
The first 'astronaut biography' I've read, and now I'm concerned that it sets the bar too high! Collins pays a lot of attention to the details, but still finds the time to talk about more emotional and personal experiences. He's not afraid to be self deprecating, which is always appreciated in any biography. The additional author's foreword found in the 2009 edition is a nice bit of text that you'll miss with an earlier edition. ( )
  sarcher | Feb 23, 2023 |
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Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. In Carrying the Fire, Michael Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of the adventure of reaching the moon. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the air force, through his days as a test pilot, to his Apollo 11 spacewalk, presenting an evocative picture of the joys of flight as well as a new perspective on time, light, and movement from someone who has seen the fragile Earth from the other side of the moon.

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