Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon

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Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon

Format:  Paperback,

336 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Jun 2010

ISBN-13: 9780307463463

ISBN-10: 030746346X

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth. The event remains one of mankind's greatest achievements and was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. In the years since, millions more have had their Earth-centric perspective unalterably changed by the iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon, the blackness of space behind him and his fellow explorer and the Eagle reflected in his visor. Describing the alien world he was walking upon, he uttered the words "magnificent desolation." And as the astronauts later sat in the Eagle, waiting to begin their journey back home, knowing that they were doomed unless every system and part on board worked flawlessly, it was Aldrin who responded to Mission Control's clearance to take off with the quip, "Roger. Understand. We're number one on the runway."
The flight of Apollo 11 made Aldrin one of the most famous persons on our planet, yet few people know the rest of this true American hero's story. In "Magnificent Desolation," Aldrin not only gives us a harrowing first-person account of the lunar landing that came within seconds of failure and the ultimate insider's view of life as one of the superstars of America's space program, he also opens up with remarkable candor about his more personal trials-and eventual triumphs-back on Earth. From the glory of being part of the mission that fulfilled President Kennedy's challenge to reach the moon before the decade was out, Aldrin returned home to an Air Force career stripped of purpose or direction, other than as a public relations tool that NASA put to relentless use in a seemingly nonstop world tour. The twin demons of depression and alcoholism emerged-the first of which Aldrin confronted early and publicly, and the second of which he met with denial until it nearly killed him. He burned through two marriages, his Air Force career came to an inglorious end, and he found himself selling cars for a living when he wasn't drunkenly wrecking them. Redemption came when he finally embraced sobriety, gained the love of a woman, Lois, who would become the great joy of his life, and dedicated himself to being a tireless advocate for the future of space exploration-not only as a scientific endeavor but also as a thriving commercial enterprise.
These days Buzz Aldrin is enjoying life with an enthusiasm that reminds us how far it is possible for a person to travel, literally and figuratively. As an adventure story, a searing memoir of self-destruction and self-renewal, and as a visionary rallying cry to once again set our course for Mars and beyond, "Magnificent Desolation" is the thoroughly human story of a genuine hero.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Specifications

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Jun 2010
ISBN-13: 9780307463463
ISBN-10: 030746346X
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.65
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.25 x 8.0 x 1.0
Walmart No.: 9780307463463

About the author

Biography of Aldrin, Buzz, Jr.

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on January 20, 1930. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelors of Science in mechanical engineering, he completed U.S. Air Force pilot training in 1952 and flew over 60 combat missions during the Korean War. He received a Doctorate of Science in Astronautics from MIT. In 1963 NASA selected him as an astronaut. He served as backup pilot of the Gemini IX and as pilot for Gemini XII in 1966. He was made backup command module pilot for Apollo VIII and lunar module pilot for Apollo XI, the most famous flight in space history, which landed on the moon July 20, 1969. Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon; Neil Armstrong, the first man, beat Aldrin by just 15 minutes.

He completed his Air Force career as commandant of the Aerospace Research Pilot School, retiring from the Air Force in 1972. Since then he has served as a consultant and has written several books including Reaching for the Moon, Look to the Stars, The Return, Encounter with Tiber, Men from Earth, and Return to Earth.

Chapter outline

A Journey for All Mankindp. 1
Magnificent Desolationp. 25
Homeward Boundp. 43
After the Moon, What Next?p. 59
Realignmentp. 81
Flying High, Flying Lowp. 88
Duty and Dilemmap. 113
Human Side of Herop. 123
A Controlled Alcoholicp. 142
Turning Pointp. 165
Reawakeningp. 174
Finding the Love of My Lifep. 185
The Lois Factorp. 193
New Beginningsp. 203
Every Superman Needs His Loisp. 218
Oh, the Places You Will Go!p. 232
Advocacy for Americap. 244
Pop Goes Space Culturep. 256
Good-bye Blues, Hello Space Viewsp. 266
ABlow Heard 'Round the Worldp. 281
Weightless Againp. 294
Final Frontiersp. 303
Epiloguep. 313
A Note About ShareSpacep. 321
Acknowledgmentsp. 323
Indexp. 325

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2009-07-01)

Drawing his title from the description he radioed to Earth soon after stepping off the lunar lander in 1969, Aldrin offers his second autobiography. In his first, Return to Earth, the second man to walk on the moon included details about his struggle with depression, an admission that was rare for a military veteran to make but one that helped promote mental health treatment. Both books cover his life until about 1971; this new one also continues from there.

Now approaching 80, Aldrin shares his perspective on his life and on the U.S. space program. He quit drinking in the late 1970's, and he divorced his first and second wives and now lives happily with his third. He also describes his work promoting space tourism and worries that the United States won't have the ability to send humans to space for some time after the space shuttles are decommissioned in 2010.

Verdict: Much of this memoir is a travelog as Aldrin describes his adventures scuba diving and mixing with celebrities; as such, it will appeal primarily to Aldrin fans and space history buffs.

-Jeffrey Beall, Univ. of Colorado, Denver

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth. The event remains one of mankind’s greatest achievements and was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. In the years since, millions more have had their Earth-centric perspective unalterably changed by the iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon, the blackness of space behind him and his fellow explorer and the Eagle reflected in his visor. Describing the alien world he was walking upon, he uttered the words “magnificent desolation.” And as the astronauts later sat in the Eagle, waiting to begin their journey back home, knowing that they were doomed unless every system and part on board worked flawlessly, it was Aldrin who responded to Mission Control’s clearance to take off with the quip, “Roger. Understand. We’re number one on the runway.”

The flight of Apollo 11 made Aldrin one of the most famous persons on our planet, yet few people know the rest of this true American hero’s story. In Magnificent Desolation, Aldrin not only gives us a harrowing first-person account of the lunar landing that came within seconds of failure and the ultimate insider’s view of life as one of the superstars of America’s space program, he also opens up with remarkable candor about his more personal trials–and eventual triumphs–back on Earth. From the glory of being part of the mission that fulfilled President Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon before the decade was out, Aldrin returned home to an Air Force career stripped of purpose or direction, other than as a public relations tool that NASA put to relentless use in a seemingly nonstop world tour. The twin demons of depression and alcoholism emerged–the first of which Aldrin confronted early and publicly, and the second of which he met with denial until it nearly killed him. He burned through two marriages, his Air Force career came to an inglorious end, and he found himself selling cars for a living when he wasn’t drunkenly wrecking them. Redemption came when he finally embraced sobriety, gained the love of a woman, Lois, who would become the great joy of his life, and dedicated himself to being a tireless advocate for the future of space exploration–not only as a scientific endeavor but also as a thriving commercial enterprise.

These days Buzz Aldrin is enjoying life with an enthusiasm that reminds us how far it is possible for a person to travel, literally and figuratively. As an adventure story, a searing memoir of self-destruction and self-renewal, and as a visionary rallying cry to once again set our course for Mars and beyond, Magnificent Desolation is the thoroughly human story of a genuine hero.

From the Hardcover edition.

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