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Publisher's Summary

In 1978, the first group of space shuttle astronauts was introduced to the world - 29 men and six women who would carry NASA through the most tumultuous years of the space shuttle program. Among them was USAF Colonel Mike Mullane, who, in his memoir Riding Rockets, strips the heroic veneer from the astronaut corps and paints them as they are - human.

Mullane's tales of arrested development among military flyboys working with feminist pioneers and post-doc scientists are sometimes bawdy, often comical, and always entertaining. He vividly portrays every aspect of the astronaut experience, from telling a female technician which urine-collection condom size is a fit to hearing "Taps" played over a friend's grave. He is also brutally honest in his criticism of a NASA leadership whose bungling would precipitate the Challenger disaster - killing four members of his group. A hilarious, heartfelt story of life in all its fateful uncertainty, Riding Rockets will resonate long after the call of "Wheel stop".

©2006 Mike Mullane (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A thoroughly absorbing story.... A strong addition to science and space collections of any size." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 02-20-18

Misognynistic

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Perhaps an eighth grade boy, who doesn't have much going for him. Every other paragraph in the book is filled with sexual stories that hold zero interest for someone, who is even a little past puberty.

What was most disappointing about Mike Mullane’s story?

I was so disappointed that there was no inspiring message in this book. Every astronaut biography I've read has left me inspired.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I thought the narrator did a decent job.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No. It's so hard to believe that someone so accomplished and educated, could come across so immature. That West Point, could produce a man who spends 18 hours talking about women, and sex, and childish anecdotes....weird.

Any additional comments?

I did find the beginning of the book, when the author is talking about his childhood, the most interesting part of the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Riding Rockets

Excllent, educational, honest, really gives insight to the talents and bravery of these men and women.

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Best "Astronauts of the 80s" Memoir"

I read "Riding Rockets" as an ebook several months ago, having given up on it coming out on Audible. Thus I was *thrilled* when, by chance, I found it available after Christmas, and bought it immediately. It's well-written, informative, interesting, infuriating, heart-breaking, and hilarious. I had tears in my eyes several times, both from sorrow and from laughing so hard I was literally crying. I love, love, love this book!

Almost any fan of NASA and space history will enjoy this book. One caveat: I would rate this book as PG-13. Mike was a military pilot from "Planet AD" (Arrested Development). His sense of humour is rather gutter-bound. I liked it, but my sense of humour is pretty base as well. He also recognises that this was decades ago and what was okay then is not so now. In any case, the book is probably not suitable for most kids under ~14 or anyone with...delicate...sensibilities. If dick jokes offend you, I'd strongly advise skipping this book and picking up Clayton Anderson's "Ordinary Spaceman".

(I'd also strongly recommend reading "Spaceman" by Mike Massimino. It is an amazing, wonderful, informative, interesting, and brilliant book. I can't come up with enough superlatives to describe his book. I can say that every person I've recommended, or given, it to - at least twenty - has loved it, and that reading it will make you want to be a better person.)