MISSION: An American Congressman's Adventure in Space by Bill with Jamie Buckingham Nelson

MISSION: An American Congressman's Adventure in Space

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Nominally, the Florida Democrat's account of his experience as a crew member aboard the space shuttle Columbia, but actually a bit of lobbying for America's continued exploration and development of the high frontier. As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications. Nelson followed the better-known Jake Garn into space. The first portion of this book recounts his involvement: his training, his impressions of the rest of the crew, their six days in orbit and their delayed but successful return. It was an exciting and inspiring adventure--but here rendered in a labored prose so filled with forced breathlessness and contrived epiphanies that the spirit is lost, supplanted by posturing and patriotism. In Nelson's world, people ""spontaneously burst out singing 'God Bless America,'"" and every view of Earth occasions another tired clichÉ. The book's second section, though choppy and disconnected, is more convincing. Nelson believes we should keep on moving outward despite the Challenger disaster; he knows we're losing ground. He lays out benefits of past and future ventures and a workable blueprint for realizing them. Clearly, he has motives for supporting the space program--he represents the district that includes the Kennedy Space Center--but he seems to genuinely believe in the value of space. There's a tip of the hat to S.D.I. here, but his heart isn't in it: Nelson has a vision of mankind moving outward in a spirit of cooperation, utilizing the vast, awaiting resources to better life on Earth. A piece of pure politicking, which might find an audience with those already inclined to agree.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1988
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich