A different astronaut biography? How's that you say, after all, most biographies are either lunar centric or space in some manner, and they mostly relate the same experiences (although the effect was varied).
Well, pull up a chair and let me explain. But first, a disclaimer before someone makes a point of it, I worked with Al for a few years, and have known him for over 25 years. But he is a man of such integrity he would be offended if I were to simply write a review in flowery language to boost his sales. No, he would demand integrity on my part as well.
Because that's the man Al Worden is, full of integrity and not only a product of West Point, but an adherent to all that is good about the Point.
So if this ruffles a few feathers, well, that's the way it will be. Honest, to a fault.
Most astronaut biographies are well written. This is no exception. But what sets this book apart from the others is not only the brutal honesty of the scenario involving the philatelic covers so called "scandal", but a viewpoint from a poets mind. Oh not a poet prior to the flight of course. No Al is your arch typical Air Force fighter jock and test pilot.
Al has written 2 previous books, one a kids book about his flight to the moon, and another of poetry from his time in space all alone. "Hello Earth, Greetings from Endeavour" is a good look into the soul of Col. Worden.
His career was sterling. His mission to the moon flawless. He is not a moonwalker as pointed out, that elite fraternity of only 12 men that have set foot on another planetary body. No. But he IS part of that elite fraternity of 6 men who orbited the Moon all alone, and took care of things so the 2 ON the Moon had a place to return to and to be able to get them home. What a responsibility! So this viewpoint, is not one oft read and well worth the read all by itself.
Al also was the first to launch a satellite FROM space, and the very first to perform a deep space EVA for which he still holds the record of furthest deep in space, spacewalk. The first of the truly scientific missions, he was busier than a 1 armed paper hanger during his time alone. He performed admirably.
But shortly after his return from space, it all came crashing down. Due to the snits of a guy who could not qualify to be an astronaut and who seemingly carried the chip on his shoulder, and the actions of the commander and of course, Al not realizing something was wrong; they became embroiled in a controversy that shattered any hopes of another flight in any vehicle.
This story has never been told and I know the "public view" of it has been hurtful to Al ever since it happened. The TRUTH of the situation, is FINALLY revealed. Thank God. It follows Al through the debacle, and rights the misconceptions of the event, and shows how he sued NASA, and came out victorious.
He has thrown himself into doing for others which is simply a product of who he is. His involvement with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation is by itself, an undertaking that has benefited many youth attending college.
Al deserved so much better, and this books finally puts to rest the spurious claims I've personally heard over the years and that have been floating around.
A great read, well formulated and put together. Any "space junkie" will enjoy it and this will def. be a must get for any of them. But I highly recommend this to anyone curious about the history of our space program. The cover debacle was done well, but is only a small part of the story, the best parts (his mission etc) are well written and documented.