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Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut's Journey to the Moon

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

    A unique, candid story of an American treasure and hero! Excellent!

    OK, think about what you're doing right now at this very moment, reading this sentence and just being aware of your immediate surroundings. Now, think about when Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden took the first walk ever in deep space 40 years ago and became the first human in history to see both the entire Earth and the Moon simply by turning his head. Feel any different? I know I do!

    But that's only one of the "oh my gosh!" moments in "Falling To Earth", and there are many. But perhaps most important is the opportunity to understand an Apollo lunar mission from the perspective of the CMP (Command Module Pilot); the one crew member who stayed aboard and minded the spacecraft while his other two crewmates roamed the lunar surface. Many times overlooked and taken for granted by the moon walking component of the mission, Apollo 15's CMP Al Worden had a very full plate of science experiments to conduct and on-board system instruments to constantly monitor. Space is not a very forgiving place when mistakes occur. Without this critical crewmember consistently performing at his peak, and flying solo for much of the mission, there is no way the full crew would have had a chance of ever returning safely to Earth.

    The book has a very nice conversational tone which is very appealing. The tone is set from the first chapter so that the reader immediately feels as if they're actually being "told" the story from Worden himself. I find this to be very refreshing, practically an honor, as if I'm actually sitting in Worden's company, while he tells his story.

    In addition to the chronology of his various career moves, the book gives the reader a solid sense of how Worden thinks. I consistently found honest, fair and candid assessments of key life events, especially in areas where Worden considers his career challenges, and as a husband and a father. There is no glossing over these or any other sensitive areas in his life. Instead, he embraces these things with both honesty and humbleness (see "courage"!). It's clear the man has done a lot of soul-searching before writing his story.

    From a technical point of view, I particularly enjoyed reading about the Apollo Command Module spacecraft, which is presented in a most interesting way and without getting lost in cumbersome details. There are some very nice explanations regarding things like the off-center design of the Apollo CM, using the heat shield for lift and firing the thrusters to stay centered in the re-entry corridor. I'm always amazed at how many die-hard Apollo enthusiasts still don't realize that the CM was actually piloted into and through the re-entry back to Earth.

    Finally, I really can't say enough about the writing style. I think co-author Francis French has worked a miracle with this book. I'm telling you, I can actually hear Al Worden's voice speaking every word as I read along! Fantastic!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    Can't Wait For This Book

    I can't wait for this book! I've read all of Francis French's previous books. He writes so wonderfully about these men, women and monkees who have been brave enough to actually leave Planet Earth and reach for the stars!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2011

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    Posted February 16, 2012

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    Posted October 15, 2012

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