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Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself strapped to a giant rocket that's about to go from zero to 17,500 miles per hour? Or to look back on Earth from outer space and see the surprisingly precise line between day and night? Or to stand in front of the Hubble Space Telescope, wondering if the emergency repair you're about to make will inadvertently ruin humankind's chance to unlock the universe's secrets? Mike Massimino has been there, and in Spaceman he puts you inside the suit, with all the zip and buoyancy of life in microgravity.
Massimino's childhood space dreams were born the day Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Growing up in a working-class Long Island family, he catapulted himself to Columbia and then MIT, only to flunk his first doctoral exam and be rejected three times by NASA before making it through the final round of astronaut selection. Taking us through the surreal wonder and beauty of his first spacewalk, the tragedy of losing friends in the Columbia shuttle accident, and the development of his enduring love for the Hubble Telescope - which he and his fellow astronauts were tasked with saving on his final mission - Massimino has written an ode to never giving up and the power of teamwork to make anything possible. Spaceman invites us into a rare, wonderful world where science meets the most thrilling adventure, revealing just what having "the right stuff" really means.
Normally nonfiction books don't keep me listening late into the night, repeatedly adding "just 15 more minutes" to the sleep timer for hours. This one did. Mike describes his path from being a boy on Long Island playing in a homemade astronaut costume through the series of choices, challenges, and lucky breaks that culminated in his two spacewalks to perform maintenance on the Hubble telescope. His story is by turns moving and thoughtful and funny and suspenseful.
Mike did a fantastic job with the narration; his humor and humility shone through the whole time.
I don't normally write reviews and fear I haven't done this book justice, but I'm pretty much going to be encouraging everyone I know to read or listen to it, so why not start here?
44 of 46 people found this review helpful
this has to be one if not "THE" most amazing, inspiring book I've ever read in my life. half way through it I put it down and called my university to set up a start date to go back to school and finish my degree. it is so easy to find and excuse to just give up but that's all it is, just a whole bunch of excuses, hearing Mike talk about how an average person much like us "normal people" not geniuses with the perfect health or wealthy family can overcome every obstacle and full feel his dream makes you stop and rethink your self and say hey its time act, it's time stop "just making it by" it's time to get up and start pushing forward, this is the feeling I got when I read this book.
hope to some day I get to meet him and thank him in person for giving me the push I needed, that ray of hope that I lost so many years ago, or to put it in his terms, that kindle that light my dreams once more.
Thank you Mass.
34 of 36 people found this review helpful
As a child Massimino was fascinated and preoccupied with space exploration. He gathered information about his heroes, Buzz Aldrin, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. He wanted to grow up and be an astronaut. Massimino graduated from Columbia and MIT with an engineering degree and then he went to work for NASA.
Massimino tells in detail about his life as an astronaut and the various missions he was on. I was most interested in the work he did to correct the problem with the Hubble Telescope. He goes into detail about what life in space was like and all the problems he and other astronauts had to overcome. Massimino had obstacles he had to overcome to achieve his goal and how he went about overcoming them is inspiring.
The book is well written in an affable, conversational style prose. It is great to read about someone achieving their childhood dream. I also found the fact he maintained an unwavering obsession with space all his life absolutely great. The book has humor and is easy to read. It leaves the reader with an upbeat feeling. This is a good book for a young person to read, who is trying to decide on a career choice. Now there is a choice of not only NASA but dozens of private corporations all working in space exploration.
Mike Massimino did a good job narrating his own book.
31 of 34 people found this review helpful
This book is terrific. It's emotional and allowed me to imagine what it would have been like to be an astronaut.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I was born and raised on Long Island not far from where "Mass" is from. I am a lifelong NASA fan, Amateur Astronomer and space exploration enthusiast.
Listen to/read this book. Mass tells it like it is; like a real guy from Long Island. He really gives you an amazing perspective about just what it means to strive for and to become an Astronaut.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
"Mass" as he was dubbed given his size, celebrates the 7-year old boy dreaming to the man he's become: open and optimistic about the future. "Spaceman" chronicles every hurdle, every opportunity taken along the way to becoming a top astronaut. From thinking he had the wrong major to battling qualifications about his eyesight, from struggling through a Shackleton-like endurance camp to the challenges of robotics, everything is covered. You want to know about the wonders of a spacewalk, about the glories of the Hubble telescope, here you go, all written in exciting prose and narrated by the man himself. And you feel like you're right there, in his shoes, experiencing it for yourself. Even the deathly silence after the Columbia disaster, the grief of the families and friends.
Definitely worth the time, worth the price.
You'll be flying in the science fiction space-monster, hurtling through space, viewing the Earth we live on far, far above.
39 of 46 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Spaceman again? Why?
This book is captivating - especially if you love NASA's space program. Mike Massimino has a special talent and passion for bringing us along on his historic journeys - both on earth and in space.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Spaceman?
Mike's drive to overcome all hurdles to become one of America's most memorable astronauts.
What about Mike Massimino’s performance did you like?
Mike Massimino's patriotism and passion for following in the footsteps of some of America's greatest heroes is clearly articulated by this amazing storyteller.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Taking passion and perseverance out of this world.
Any additional comments?
I would give almost everything to meet and / or get an autographed picture and book from this great American astronaut.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
This is a wonderful biography that provides insight into Space travel and the people involved. Author as reader makes it even better.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
I ummed and ahhed about buying this book – the story of an astronaut I’d never heard of, whose career took place during the relatively dull nineties and noughties, an era when space travel had lost a lot of its MoJo - but I wasn't disappointed.
For one thing, this astronaut has a personal story to inspire everyone. He comes across as a fairly average and normal person, not too different to you or me. He's obviously reasonably intelligent, as this would be an absolute minimum requirement, but he has his weaknesses and is no stranger to failure. He failed his PhD qualifying exam and his astronaut eyesight test, amongst other things.
What really sets this likable character apart is his determination. Time and time again it was seemingly impossible for him to proceed with his goal of going to space, and in each instance he applied his ingenuity, doggedness and determination to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. With great humility and humour he tells us how he managed to pull this off.
Of course, he finally gets to space. The book continues with his experiences in earth's orbit: What he saw; What he achieved; How he felt. Some of this narrative is utterly captivating.
It’s a wonderful uplifting book celebrating the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity: an inspiration to any listener.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Spaceman?
The underlying tone; If you persist and trudge ahead with the mundane, you can accomplish great things. Eye on prize mentality. He had a clear vision and pursued it to make it reality. It embodies Louis Pasteur's axiom, "Chance favors the prepared mind"
What was one of the most memorable moments of Spaceman?
After all the trials and tribulations; After plowing ahead towards the goal. After giving himself the best possible chance to be a Spaceman. His elation and wonder at looking back at Earth from space. Often times when we accomplish a goal, the feeling is underwhelming. No so for "Mass". You honestly feel that he it was beyond his expectations.
Which character – as performed by Mike Massimino – was your favorite?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
His decision to effectively eliminate his career as a space-walker. he chose to see his kids through the formative transition from high school to college. Class act. He accomplished his goal and then decided to support his son and daughter in theirs.
Any additional comments?
Give it a listen. You won't be disappointed.
10 of 14 people found this review helpful
what an interesting life, it was made so much better that he read the book himself
The Moon landings were a long time ago. It's sometimes too easy to forget that there's been a lot going on since then, even if it has been either a) unmanned or b) low Earth orbit.
If you're a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you'll know the writer. He's the real-life American astronaut who appeared as himself and addressed Howard as Fruitloops in several episodes. This gets mentioned quite late on in the book, whereas in the introduction we get to learn just how scary your first flight into space is.
Having the book read by the writer himself is great. He's not just reading, he's remembering. And although the descriptions of space are wonderful, a lot of the rest is too, including the insights into what gives astronauts the right stuff.
The drama of being in space is nailed down in the repeated sentence I've used as a headline: "There is something wrong with your car." Sure, some part is worn, or there's a bit of grit in a spark plug, or whatever, and everything is fine despite this, until some future date when the problem makes itself known. And maybe it makes itself known when you're on your own late at night, or you're on your way to a job interview, or you've got a load of frozen food thawing in the boot. But what's the worst thing that can happen while you're waiting for the person from the AA or RAC to arrive? Whatever it is, compare it to having a failure in space, when oxygen is limited, and working in a spacesuit is more tiring than you probably realised.
This is a highly engaging and fascinating book, strongly recommended for anybody interested in modern space travel.
I guess Chris Hadfield set the bar pretty high with his book. Where his book was a tale of value-driven hard work and family support, this one is a little different.
I found Mike's narration really enjoyable. He has a lovely authentic voice and it is a treat when an author reads their own book well.
He is clearly a bright guy who achieved an extraordinary task and this book covers some of the milestones on his road to Hubble. He emphasises his twisty and uncertain path and how dogged determination and probably his own smarts helped him overcome things he found difficult. Funnily enough, because he seems so keen to dwell on his limitations and short-comings I was left with the feeling that he was some kind of klutz, which he clearly can't have been.
He is very generous in acknowledging the help and support from colleagues and the huge role that his NASA 'family' has played in his life. His own family, and in particular his wife, remain shadowy and pale in the book. I did think this was a bit odd as surely his family team ought to have been at least as important to him as his colleagues and I was left with a bit of crossness on his invisible wife's behalf.
Anyway, an interesting enough listen for all of that. He included some thoughts about space exploration in the future as the funding for space moves more to the private sector and collaborations. It would have been interesting to hear a bit more of that, but I suppose that is a different book.
I suppose in summary, a workman-like book which was pleasant, but not outstanding.
Im fascinated by Space and the Universe and all things related. I stumbled on this Audiobook while searching for Audiobooks about the Universe, Black Holes and general information I could listen too at my own leisure. I decided to purchase this Audiobook as I know Mike is one of the famous Astronauts like Aldrin, Armstrong, Collins, Harrison and Hadfield and they each have their own personal stories to tell. I was genuinely please to see the Astronaut Mike Massimino narrates this title himself and I love his voice narrating it. He could easily have a job narrating Audiobooks especially about the Universe and Space genre. He tells his life from the moment he realised he wanted to be an Astronaut and he tells just enough to entertain and not bore you..unlike others who spend lots of chapters letting you know everything about themselves ( not that it's a bad thing just tiresome to me ). He explains what made him want to become an Astronaut and the road he took to get to where he is. The explanations he gives about various things like abbreviations and when he's talking about the mechanisms of NASA from training to what parts do on the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. I would highly recommend this Audiobook to anyone interested in this subject and I'll definitely be purchasing the book.
inspirational and warm storytelling. Massimino is very likeable and the story is an important one.
Absolutely mesmerising, fascinating and enlightening, I just could not stop listening.
The chapter when he was describing his spacewalk was so descriptive it brought a lump to my throat.
Superb, a true legend and an inspiration to all.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Everything about this book and it's narration is fantastic, but the raw emotion that comes through as Mike Massimino reads his own words is special. The highs and the lows, you not only hear but feel.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Spaceman?
Not wanting to ruin it for anyone but a rare tear came to my eye as he recalled his father and the special bond that formed between his dad and the astronaut corps.
Which character – as performed by Mike Massimino – was your favourite?
Autobiography read by author - so...Massimino!
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Both - and that is very rare for me.
Fantastic read, Mike takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions struggles triumphs and incredible human endeavour.
Great read! Engaged from start to finish. Mike writes with candour and plenty of humour. Perfect if you're looking for a book that reaches into the human side of being an astronaut.