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Oh, it's not cosmic.
Or especially revealing.
Or in tune with the flashy, sometimes hyper prose used 20 years ago by Tom Wolfe in his famous book on the Mercury astronauts, The Right Stuff
Instead, it's just plain old John Herschel Glenn Jr. (with New York writer Nick Taylor), offering a steady, sober, Boy Scoutish and - especially for those captivated when he became the first American to orbit the Earth - absorbing memoir.
It stretches from his modest childhood in New Concord, Ohio, and marriage to his onetime playmate, Annie, through World War II and Korea as a Marine combat pilot, to his years as a test pilot and astronaut and finally - though briefly - to his 24-year stretch as a US senator from Ohio, until he retired at the end of 1998.
And, oh yes, wasn't Glenn, at age 77, the guy the space agency allowed back in orbit last year for the sake of geriatric science? Yes, that too is covered.
What's unusual, even refreshing, is that it's the unembellished, upbeat story of a lifetime of sometimes difficult, often heroic public service, without a hint of scandal or prurience save for the mild Senate rebuke Glenn suffered in 1991 for involvement in the so-called Keating Five loan scandal (a rebuke he describes as ''the low point of my life'' - and also ''unjustified''). In short, Glenn recounts his extraordinary life in frank, sometimes folksy but never extraordinary terms.
To be sure, parts of the book - thanks mostly to Wolfe's ''Right Stuff'' - are familiar. And Glenn's political life, including two failed tries for the Senate (he finally won election in 1974) and a clumsy presidential bid in 1984, are compressed into a mere three (of 26) chapters.
But what's clearly most important to Glenn are those patriotic ''right stuff'' years as a combat pilot, test pilot, and astronaut - as well as being a faithful husband and good father. And Glenn doesn't grind axes, spread rumors, dig around in anyone's closet, or revel too much in the public adoration that followed his orbital heroics. This book could well be entitled ''The Straight Stuff.'' When was the last time you read that kind of memoir?
— Boston Globe