The Astronauts are our new heroes, the Rover Boys of space, ""part pilot, part engineer, part explorer, part scientist, part guinea pig"". They're also, at least in print, organization men supreme, sounding, to be quite frank, remarkably alike. The book presents the seven essaying why they joined Project Mercury (the reasons, generally, embrace pride in country and in self), the meaning of teamwork and training (highly technical chapters devoted to re-entry procedures, retro systems, the yaw, pitch and roll adjustment, the first reaction to weightlessness, G forces and G stresses), the physical and psychological exams (almost all make sub rosa cracks re headshrinkers, the one really personal note around), and, most important, a full-scale record of the preparations for and enactment of the first sub-orbital and orbital take-offs by participants Shepard and Grissom, Glenn and Carpenter. It's the latters' accounts which prove the most exciting and exemplary, especially the Friendship 7 flight. So for all the Redstone, Atlas, Canaveral, NASA details and all the challenges and courageous responses shown, the book is a rewarding revelation, an indispensable buy for buffs. But the self-portraits are too ""official"", too wholesome, like Life profiles, which, indeed, they originally were.