Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon

Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon

by Buzz Aldrin, Ken Abraham
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Overview

Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, Ken Abraham

Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth. The event remains one of mankind’s greatest achievements and was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. In the years since, millions more have had their Earth-centric perspective unalterably changed by the iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon, the blackness of space behind him and his fellow explorer and the Eagle reflected in his visor. Describing the alien world he was walking upon, he uttered the words “magnificent desolation.” And as the astronauts later sat in the Eagle, waiting to begin their journey back home, knowing that they were doomed unless every system and part on board worked flawlessly, it was Aldrin who responded to Mission Control’s clearance to take off with the quip, “Roger. Understand. We’re number one on the runway.”

The flight of Apollo 11 made Aldrin one of the most famous persons on our planet, yet few people know the rest of this true American hero’s story. In Magnificent Desolation, Aldrin not only gives us a harrowing first-person account of the lunar landing that came within seconds of failure and the ultimate insider’s view of life as one of the superstars of America’s space program, he also opens up with remarkable candor about his more personal trials–and eventual triumphs–back on Earth. From the glory of being part of the mission that fulfilled President Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon before the decade was out, Aldrin returned home to an Air Force career stripped of purpose or direction, other than as a public relations tool that NASA put to relentless use in a seemingly nonstop world tour. The twin demons of depression and alcoholism emerged–the first of which Aldrin confronted early and publicly, and the second of which he met with denial until it nearly killed him. He burned through two marriages, his Air Force career came to an inglorious end, and he found himself selling cars for a living when he wasn’t drunkenly wrecking them. Redemption came when he finally embraced sobriety, gained the love of a woman, Lois, who would become the great joy of his life, and dedicated himself to being a tireless advocate for the future of space exploration–not only as a scientific endeavor but also as a thriving commercial enterprise.

These days Buzz Aldrin is enjoying life with an enthusiasm that reminds us how far it is possible for a person to travel, literally and figuratively. As an adventure story, a searing memoir of self-destruction and self-renewal, and as a visionary rallying cry to once again set our course for Mars and beyond, Magnificent Desolation is the thoroughly human story of a genuine hero.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307463463
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 8.14(w) x 5.34(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts BUZZ ALDRIN and Neil Armstrong landed their lunar module on the Sea of Tranquillity and became the first humans to walk on the moon. Aldrin has since been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and more than fifty other awards and medals from the United States and other countries. He holds a doctorate in astronautics from MIT. Since retiring from the U.S. Air Force and NASA, Dr. Aldrin has remained at the forefront of efforts to ensure a continued leading role for America in manned space exploration. He founded a rocket design company, Starcraft Boosters, Inc., and the ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to opening the doors to space tourism for all people. Buzz and his wife, Lois, live in Los Angeles.

KEN ABRAHAM is a New York Times bestselling author, known around the world for his collaborations with celebrities and high-profile public figures.

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Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book! Doesn't talk about his childhood, but helped immensly with my biography for school.
TheGreatIsabella More than 1 year ago
I mostly recommend this book to those who are interested in the sciences, want to increase their knowledge on space/space travel, or would like an inspiring story. This book is mostly about Buzz's stuggles within himself and his choices after the historic landing on the moon. It gives great insight on what it's like to travel in outerspace, which is extremely interesting and how he was treated afterwards. After reading this book I decided to go and buy his other book, Men are from Earth, but not have had the time to read it yet. This book does not include much about his childhood or past, mostly it focuses on his journey to and from the moon and life afterwards. Overall this is a book you would enjoy should you like the general topic of science or if you just like reading biographies. Oh, this is a great book to do a research paper on as well.
s2kguy More than 1 year ago
Excellent coverage of the life of Buzz Aldrin after his heroic trip to and from the Moon. It was written in a personal style than made me feel Buzz was reading the stories to me. I enjoyed the book immensely and recommend it to everyone. A quick, easy read.
HistoryBuffAG More than 1 year ago
Buzz Aldrin's whole problem is aptly expressed by his Apollo 11 crewmate Mike Collins: "He resents not being the first man on the moon more than he appreciates being second."  Accounts by other astronauts show him constantly interfering in space flights of which he was not a part, recommending dangerous maneuver be carried out by other astronauts.  He was so bitter about not being first on the moon that he didn't take a single photograph of Neil Armstrong on the lunar surface.  This is the second book Aldrin has written about his post-lunar mental problems, and is really an updated version of his very first book, "Return to Earth," published in 1973.  And it's now outdated in its own right with his divorce from Lois in 2012.  Aldrin is self-centered and was completely unethical in his astronaut career.  I have no respect for him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome first few chapters where he is describing the Apollo 11 mission, and then his life, and the book, go downhill from there. I admire his courage in describing his struggles with depression and alcoholism but it gets rather boring hearing him describe every A list celebrity he meets and all the great vacations he goes on. He also never gives a really coherent rationale for spending tens of millions of dollars on more space missions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book started with excitement about the moo. Soon though it turned into a lit of stress. After all it is about a real human. In the end things worked out well. I recommend it as quite interesting
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I had not read this book prior to giving it as a gift to my son-in-law on the occasion of his 40th Birthday. 1969 - that makes TWO giant leaps for mankind. He is a history buff and really appreciated the thought and the sentiment. He will give me his review when completing the read. Looks very promising.
Buck_MT More than 1 year ago
In this newly published memoir, Buzz Aldrin shines a searchlight on his own post-Apollo 11 journey. His intimate description of his depression and descent into alcoholism after his return from the moon is quite wrenching. We have to be amazed that he did not end up killing himself through drunk driving, deliberate suicide (as his mother did, and also his maternal grandfather), or even drowning in his own vomit. We all know of the risks and challenges of his NASA career, but the downs and ups of the subsequent years are perhaps even more startling. The book recounts his personal turmoil and attempts to seek psychiatric assistance. The important role of Alcoholics Anonymous in his recovery is poignantly stated, as is the critical role of his third wife, Lois Driggs, in keeping his depression in a marginally managable state. The book also explains Dr. Aldrin's recent forays into space enterprises, particularly his long-time interest in opening up space travel to members of the general public, and his engineering concepts for travel to/from Mars with humans and other cargo. Some of the later sections of the book become repetitive, but there are enough fascinating nuggets--like his explanation of the infamous punch to the face of a faked-moon landing conspiracy theorist--to make it a page-turner right to the end. I don't think that space history enthusiasts or NASA historians will find any vital data in this book, but all of us can learn from the steep fall and redemptive rise of this ex-astronaut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an 18-year old freshman at West Point, Buzz Aldrin stood at the top of his class - in overall class standing and in everything from math to physical education. We had a saying back then, before the world knew him. If you're not just a bit jealous of Buzz, you're kidding yourself or not paying attention. Through his life, Buzz has had more than his share of fans and detractors. Always friendly, Buzz still put doing the right thing ahead of making a new friend. Until after Apollo 11. Now, in doing the right thing Buzz is making new friends. Now Buzz spends his life giving back what he sees as a tremendous gift TO HIM by the American people! I remember attending a Founders Day luncheon at the Reagan Library with Buzz and my wife. When it was over, it took us over 25 minutes to get to our car. Why? As the Old Grads and their families were leaving, the general public was starting to enter the facility. And just about everybody recognized Buzz. He was friendly to the parents, but belonged to the kids. I can still picture him, leaning over, smiling, with his hands on his knees, talking with each kid as long as that child wanted to talk. All that complexity comes through in "Magnificent Desolation." Buzz shares not only that unbelievable voyage with us, he shares the letdown, pain, and sorrow that followed. We learn what it took and what it felt like to go to the Moon. We also see what it takes and feels like to be a Magnificent Human. A Friend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first couple of chapters describing the 1969 trip to the moon were excellent.  While I admire him for sharing his story and eventual recovery from alcoholism and depression, I found him to be very self centered and seemed to go into a "funk" when things didn't go his way.  Only to find in the next chapter he was off to some exotic place mingling with royalty and/or celebrities. To me, this would be difficult for the "average" person to relate to.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A factual documentation of UFO's that makes a skeptic think twice with case histories. A bit of author lecturing and repetitive at times,but still good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first couple of chapters about the trip to the moon were very well written and kept you turning the pages. After that the book turned into a littany of pages describing his alcoholism, depression, and his hopes and dreams for his shuttle system to Mars. I weas expecting more and got less.