Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight

Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight


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Much has been written about Neil Armstrong, America's modern hero, history's most famous space traveler, and the first man to walk on the moon. Yet shy of fame and never one to steal the spotlight Armstrong was always reluctant to discuss his personal side of events. Here for the first time is the definitive story of Neil's life of flight he shared for five decades with a trusted friend - Jay Barbree.

Working from 50 years of conversations he had with Neil, from notes, interviews, NASA spaceflight transcripts, and remembrances of those Armstrong trusted, Barbree writes about Neil's three passions - flight, family, and friends. This is the inside story of Neil Armstrong from the time he flew combat missions in the Korean War and then flew a rocket plane called the X-15 to the edge of space, to when he saved his Gemini 8 by flying the first emergency return from Earth orbit and then flew Apollo-Eleven to the moon's Sea of Tranquility.

Together Neil and Jay discussed everything, from his love of flying, to the war years, and of course his time in space. The book is full of never-before-seen photos and personal details written down for the first time, including what Armstrong really felt when he took that first step on the moon, what life in NASA was like, his relationships with the other astronauts, and what he felt the future of space exploration should be.

As the only reporter to have covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings Jay knows these events intimately. Neil Armstrong himself said, "Barbree is history's most experienced space journalist. He is exceptionally well qualified to recall and write the events and emotions of our time." Through his friendship with Neil and his dedicated research, Barbree brings us the most accurate account of his friend's life of flight, the book he planned for twenty years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250040718
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 953,078
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

In the course of his 55-year career with NBC News, JAY BARBREE is the only reporter to have covered all 166 American astronaut flights and moon landings. He received an Emmy for his coverage of Neil Armstrong's first walk on the moon, broke the cause of the Challenger accident, and he still covers space for NBC's TV networks and Barbree was also the lead writer for the New York Times bestseller Moon Shot with astronauts Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, and Neil Armstrong.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword xv

Introduction xvii

1 A Wing and a Prayer 1

2 Test Flight, High Desert, and a Satellite or Three 13

3 Those Who Would Ride Rockets 26

4 The Moon Is Calling 42

5 Pasadena Overshoot 56

6 Training Days 64

7 Home Fire 77

8 The Gemini Twins Are Flying 88

9 Gemini 99

10 Gemini 8: The Docking 110

11 Gemini 8: The Emergency 120

12 Tragedies Ground Spaceflight 137

13 How to Land on the Moon 148

14 Hello Moon 160

15 The Misfits 180

16 Rehearsal Finals 191

17 The Launch 207

18 Outbound 225

19 The Landing 246

20 Moonwalk 260

21 The Return 278

22 Back Home 294

23 An American Tragedy 309

24 Space Shuttle and Beyond 320

25 Then, Now, and Tomorrow 335

Index 351

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Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
isniffbooks More than 1 year ago
Neil Armstrong was a very private person. And to the best of my knowledge, unlike many of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts, Neil did not personally author anything on his spaceflight experiences. He is also noticeably absent from the In the Shadow of the Moon documentary from 2007.  So this biography penned by Jay Barbree is a real treat, and not just for the subject matter alone, but for Barbree’s credentials. Barbree was a pilot, a close friend of Neil’s, and has a long, outstanding career in spaceflight news reporting. Barbree writes with a true insider’s point of view.  The story is about Neil, of course, but it’s also about the achievements of other test pilots, astronauts, and cosmonauts who paved the way for Neil to be the first man to step on the moon.  Overall, Barbree gives the reader a true sense of being a participant in the activities, whether in  training, up in space, in mission control, or with Neil’s friends and family. This book isn’t just for fans of Neil Armstrong or fans of spaceflight.  It’s for anyone who wants an exhilarating and emotional reading experience.  It’s for armchair explorers who want to relive the nail-biting nervousness and excitement of all those “firsts”  in early manned spaceflight. It’s for anyone who wants to cheer for the USA as NASA rallied to the challenge of Kennedy’s goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of 1969.  NASA and its subcontractors accomplished the stuff dreams are made of — all of which culminated with three men leaving Earth in July 1969, traveling nearly 250,000 miles (one way!), and two of them  placing their feet on the moon!!!  If that’s not exciting, then I don’t know what is! I do have some quibbles.  And while my list seems long, my quibbles did not prevent me from enjoying the well-researched and action-packed narrative. 1.  John Glenn’s name is on the front cover as authoring the forward, but it is a half page at best. 2.  I noticed some grammatical errors, missing commas and periods, mainly in the first half of the book.   3.  I’m a huge spaceflight fan , so I didn’t have any problems understanding the lingo used in the book. But a short glossary of airflight and spaceflight terms would have been helpful for others. 5.  And likewise, I wish Barbree explained the importance and purpose of the Gemini program and why Armstrong and Scott’s docking event in Gemini 8 was so significant. 6.  I definitely would have liked more information about Neil’s teaching career, other work, and personal life after he retired from NASA shortly after Apollo 11.  I know the subtitle is “A life in flight,” but Neil was more than just an astronaut although that is how we tend to define him.  7.  In regards to the Challenger tragedy and discovering what went wrong, this chapter seems to focus more on the author’s role, rather than Neil’s. 8.  The book would have had such a stronger and more powerful finish if the narrative stopped at the top of page 349.   I didn’t think the viral e-mail anecdote (which I had never even heard of) added any value at all to the biography.  I don’t even  know why Barbree was motivated to include it since he alludes that the anecdote was an annoyance to Neil. isniffbooks[dot]wordpress[dot]com Disclosure:  I received a complimentary review copy from Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press under Macmillan Publishers.  The opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know who the author's intended audience was, but this book would be a reasonably entertaining read for un upper elementary - middle school student. It consistently fails to explore deeper issues in Armstrong's life and times. A famously private man, Armstrong seldom revealed much in public about himself. This supposed insider's reveal doesn't fill in any of the blanks, and leaves plenty of gaping holes. Don't bother if you're looking for anything beneath the surface.
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