Bold They Rise

The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986
Narrated by: Gary L Willprecht
Length: 13 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (67 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

After the Apollo program put 12 men on the moon and safely brought them home, anything seemed possible. In this spirit, the team at NASA set about developing the space shuttle, arguably the most complex piece of machinery ever created. The world's first reusable spacecraft, it launched like a rocket, landed like a glider, and carried out complicated missions in between. Bold They Rise tells the story of the space shuttle through the personal experiences of the astronauts, engineers, and scientists who made it happen - in space and on the ground, from the days of research and design through the heroic accomplishments of the program to the tragic last minutes of the Challenger disaster. In the participants' own voices, we learn what so few are privy to: what it was like to create a new form of spacecraft, to risk one's life testing that craft, to float freely in the vacuum of space as a one-man satellite, to witness a friend's death. A "guided tour" of the shuttle - in historical, scientific, and personal terms - this book provides a fascinating, richly informed, and deeply personal view of a feat without parallel in the human story.

©2014 Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska (P)2017 Redwood Audiobooks
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Less About the Shuttle, More About the Experiences

Less About the Shuttle, More About the Experiences - Call it ‘Shuttle Lite’

Perhaps I hadn’t read the description very carefully, but this is not the book that I was expecting - or perhaps hoping for.

The description includes, “In this spirit, the team at NASA set about developing the space shuttle, arguably the most complex piece of machinery ever created. The world's first reusable spacecraft, it launched like a rocket, landed like a glider, and carried out complicated missions in between.” It adds, “from the days of research and design through the heroic accomplishments of the program.…what it was like to create a new form of spacecraft.” You might think the book was about the Space Shuttle. It’s not. It about the people involved with the Space Shuttle.

I was hoping for a more technical look at the Shuttle’s inception, development, construction, and use. Rather, this was a compilation of oral recordings pieced together in roughly chronological order. Very little about the Shuttle hardware itself and more about the experience of being involved with the Shuttle program. If what you want to hear are stories and experiences, then this is the book for you. But if you are looking for a technical look at the history of the Shuttle, then you might be disappointed as I was.

There are plenty of books and documentaries about the Apollo program and hardware, and the people involved. But surprisingly very little about the Shuttle Program. Sure, there are biographies of Shuttle astronauts and their experiences from the 1980’s and on. But very little about the Shuttle itself between the periods of the 1960’s and 1980’s when it finally launched. I had hoped this book had filled that gap, particularly since the title specifically calls out “1972-1986”. And while there is some of that, it was really Shuttle Lite.

Being composed of oral accounts, the content sometimes felt like filler and fluff. Of course, when you are dealing with peoples recollections, the way it’s conveyed can take twice as much time and half as much information than the words of a documentarian author. And much of what was said in the 2nd half of the book about each flight has already been covered in the many astronaut biographies and video documentaries out there. If someone was entirely unfamiliar with the Shuttle Program and the early flights, then this might be a good cursory overview for the uninitiated. Unfortunately, I lost interest, didn’t finish it, and returned it.

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No direction

Seemingly random collection of first hand anecdotes transcribed verbatim. No clear narrative, does not adhere to any sort of timeline. I just finished Apollo which was fantastic so I may be being to picky, but I was unable to get through an hour of this. Very disappointed.

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Different voices are impeccable.

This book is compellingly read by a talented reader -- or I should say actor.

With many different people directly quoted in the text, each gets a unique twist of vocal pitch, tone, and even raspiness to distinguish one from another. I could detect different characters from the slightest of changes.

What a delight to listen to!

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good

would have preferred a more technical explanation of designing the shuttle. most of the book focused on the missions.

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The first years of the shuttle in a nice format

Any additional comments?

I have received a copy of this book in audio format by the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

This book narrates the first years of the Space Shuttle program from the point of view of the astronauts.

The program was launched by Nixon wanting to have a different approach to traveling to space, more on a budget and with reusable space crafts. One of the program's goals was to have quite an amount of missions per year, which would reduce the per-mission cost. In the end this cost was not reduced as much as it was expected due to parts that could not be reused. Primarily the space shuttle missions were related to satellite launching and investigation in zero G, but then the intention was making it accessible to people not related to the program. The last part of the book is dedicated to the Challenger, what caused the accident, and how this changed the vision of the shuttle program. The missions were maybe overlooked and lightly taken, and from then onwards things needed to be taken more strictly to avoid future disasters. The story continues in 'Wheels Stop: The Tragedies and Triumphs of the Space Shuttle Program, 1986-2011', which also promises to be an interesting read.

This is quite a long book, over thirteen hours, but it is really amazing. I knew about the shuttle program but I ignored some of the historical details. Here they are all compiled in a nice format that will delight everybody. The book is full of anecdotes told by the astronauts and technicians. There is a little of tech babble but not too much, making it accessible to everybody. I think it would be useful to take a look at some pictures during the technical descriptions, just to have an idea about what goes where, but it is not strictly necessary.

Gary L. Willprecht made an amazing job narrating this book, slightly changing voices when delivering someone's speech. It was like watching a documentary, and despite the great length of the book and the hundreds of details, Willprecht was able to hold my attention from beginning to end.

This book was a great listen, and I would recommend it to anyone who is a bit curious about NASA and their projects. I will definitely want to listen to other books of this series.

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The best of the series.

Where does Bold They Rise rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've read several books on NASA and its history, but I still loved this one and learned a great deal. (Particularly about how the shuttle ended up with the form it had, and all the politicking that went into it.) For those who want to look at how it really got built.) Hearing the thoughts of the early shuttle crews was fascinating. (And listening to the story of Challenger made me angry all over again, particularly given my familiarity with the Columbia tragedy seventeen years later.)

Who was your favorite character and why?

Mike Mullane

What about Gary L Willprecht’s performance did you like?

He does an excellent job of narrating it, making it very clear when he's quoting what others said in interviews without trying to give each person a different voice. It sounded like there were two different people narrating - one who narrated things that were going on and a different one for when he was speaking in first person. It threw me at first when he read "Wheels Stop", but I expected and even enjoyed it this time. He does a great job!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Hearing the other astronauts speak of losing Challenger and her crew so absolutely needlessly.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend this for NASA geeks. If you're not particularly interested in the shuttle program or NASA's inner workings, it likely won't hold your attention.

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Fantastic and interesting, start to finish

Essential read/listen for any Shuttle die hard. It ends very abruptly and I wish it had been more technical about the STS early concepts and design process. I'm still hoping for a book that dives even deeper than Bold They Rise. Regardless of what it is not, it IS excellent for people hoping to learn about the more human aspects of creating and operating the now-sadly-retired Space Shuttle Transport System.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-19

Shame. I couldn't listen to it.

I have no doubt that the content of this audio book is probably great, but I found the narration very difficult to listen to and gave up after a short while as I found the narrator's voice boring in tone and modulation. Not recommended as a result of this. Sorry.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-31-20

Dull

Informative narrative but dull in presentation. Seems quite an achievement to make this subject dull!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-17

Good story, narration a little off

Narrator's mimicry of people's voices and accents was irritating and detracted from story. Otherwise good. Great information set out in a sensible chronological fashion.