Reissued with a new preface by the author on the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon
The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great eventstechnical and spiritualof our lifetime.
In Carrying the Fire, Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humor of that adventure. 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 voyage, 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.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Edition description:||50th Anniversary Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Michael Collins, author of Carrying the Fire, flew in both the Gemini 10 and Apollo 11 space missions in the 1960s. He currently lives in South Florida.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Collins’ writing can best be described as lyrical. Straightforward--as you’d expect from an engineer, test pilot, and astronaut, someone with with a strong technical background--yet captures the wonder and adventure of man’s first journey to the moon. Obviously completely accurate, without any of the annoying small inaccuracies that often creep into books such as this that describe complex past events. Yet, not so technical that you have have been a fanboy of the Apollo program to follow and understand his descriptions. Highly recommend--the best book I’ve ever read on our space program, back when we had one worthy of the name and NASA had an understood mission with clear goals.
Simply magnificent! As I've spent the last few days tearing through this engrossing book, I've been mindful of how I might be able to review it once I'd reached its end. Now that I have done so I find that I don't really know quite how to express what it is about Michael Collins' writing that moved me so much - except that I know this is most definitely one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It is truly a one-off, as the events it describes are so unique (most obviously the historic Apollo 11 mission) that they could only have been written by one of the members of 1960s NASA space program who was actually 'there'.Collins' writing is very laid back and as informal as it is informative. I rarely read books (for pleasure at least) with quite so much scientific content: rocket propulsion, trajectories, inter-planetary navigation, and so forth, but he puts these topics into words that I found no problem in understanding. Not that these subjects really dominate the narrative - his tale is told in a very personal and humourous style. For an astronaut (& fighter pilot for that matter!) Collins is incredibly humble and self-effacing - he repeatedly reminds the reader of how poor a mechanic he is and how lazy he can be...The early chapters retell his experiences as a USAF test pilot while in the background NASA's manned space program is underway. After some early setbacks he is eventually accepted into the astronaut staff at NASA in Houston, and begins the arduous training for the Gemini program. Amidst tales of geological field trips and survival training in inhospitable desert or jungle environments (in the event of any future re-entry going awry), and endless sickness inducing zero gravity dives, he gives a great sense to the day to day existence of an astronaut-in-waiting. As enjoyable as these pages are, the reader knows - as does the author of course - that it is all building up to the momentous day when he will finally sit at the 'tip of the pencil on the launch-pad' at Cape Kennedy on his way into space.The Gemini 10 mission he flies along with John Young is covered in every breathtaking detail, none more so than Collins' 2 EVAs (Extra Vehicular Activity - spacewalks to you and I). In the first, as he was taking star readings with his sextant whilst standing up in the hatch - head and shoulders out 'there' in space - he writes that he felt at that moment "like a Roman god riding the skies in his chariot". The 2nd EVA, where he has to leave the Gemini altogether and cross the void to reach the adjacent Agena craft (sent up previously specifically for this planned rendezvous), for the purposes of removing and replacing an experiment installed on its outside, is altogether more terrifying. He finds himself grappling with zero gravity while attempting to 'climb' aboard the rear end of a craft patently not designed for such an activity (there were no foot or handholds for his convenience) in bulky spacesuit complete with cumbersome gloves and yards of entangling umbilical line... There is no 'up' and there is no 'down' - talk about vertigo! All this while simultaneously reminding the Gemini pilot Young not to use whichever thruster may happen to be nearest to burning through either said umbilical lines or indeed Collins himself! It's edge of your seat stuff.The final third of this terrific book covers the famous Apollo 11 mission to the moon itself. The quirks of fate that led him to this moment are not lost on Collins as he writes of the medical problem which was discovered while he was due to be assigned to the Apollo 8 mission. His flight status of 'grounded' for several months inadvertently leads to his later inclusion on Apollo 11.I won't retell all that happens, but the moments when he is truly as alone as any human being has ever been - Charles Lindbergh's later congratulatory letter tells of relating to his experience more so than Armstrong's or Aldrin's - in lunar orbit while the landing module 'Eagle' is away on the Mo
For anybody interested in the early space program from Gemini through Apollo, this is the book for you. Most of the Apollo astronaut books walk the thin line between personal recollection and technical detail a bit haphazardly, mostly straying towards the personal side of things. Not so with this book-Mike Collins is not afraid to list off, for example, some of the commands he sent to the Agena satellite on Gemini 10. Not only does he tell you the commands, though, he explains exactly how to input them, what they would do, and the entire control sequences. His memory for detail is incredible, and that is what makes this book so great-the unbelievable detail.
Mike Collins has written the most arresting account of Spaceflight ever. His experiences as an Air Force Pilot and NASA Astronaut are adventures as great and notable as the conquest of Mt. Everest. He tells the story of the Moon Race with technical seriousness and warm humor that gives the reader the impression of actually being in Space to see the sights, sounds and feelings of the extraterrestrial realm. Space Enthusiasts and Adventure Fans alike NEED to have this book in their home libraries. 'Carrying the Fire' is a GREAT book.