The troubled but ultimately redeemed life of the second man to walk on the Moon.
Beginning with the 1969 launch of Apollo 11, Aldrin (co-author: Look to the Stars, 2009, etc.) and co-author Abraham deliver a blow-by-blow account of the journey, landing and return. Readers will be amazed at the feat—achieved with archaic technology—but also recall wistfully that this was the last time that a mighty America flexed its muscles before the world and received unanimous cheers. For Aldrin, the historic mission proved to be an extremely tough act to follow. With no shortage of astronauts, he was not able to return to the Moon; he yearned to command the Air Force Academy, but superiors chose someone else. Like all driven, ambitious men, Aldrin was brutally self-critical. He had achieved his greatest ambition at the age of 39, at which point life seemed to lose its purpose. He began to suffer from depression. Emotional illness was the kiss of death to a military career in the 1970s, so he had to retire. Over the next decade depression and alcoholism overwhelmed him, destroying his marriage and limiting his efforts to forge a new career. His unsentimental account of recovery does not conceal repeated failures or the debilitating depression that still occasionally haunts him. Today Aldrin, nearing 80, remains an active public figure working to reenergize America’s faltering space program. As is the case with many memoirs by famous people without a writing background, the author describes events better than people or feelings. He clearly loves his new wife, admires the many rich and powerful people he works with and overflows with ideas for promoting space travel.
An admirable account of an icon of the golden age of space flight.