Return to Earth

Open Road Media
5
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Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s courageous, candid memoir of his return to Earth after the historic moon landing and his personal struggle with fame and depression.

“We landed with all the grace of a freight elevator,” Buzz Aldrin relates in the opening passages of Return to Earth, remembering Command Module Columbia’s abrupt descent into the gravity of the blue planet. With that splash, Aldrin takes readers on a journey through the human side of the space program, as one of the first two men to land on the moon learns to cope with the pressures of his new public persona.
 
In honest and compelling prose, Aldrin reveals a side of instant fame for which West Point and NASA could never have prepared him. One day a fighter pilot and engineer, the next a cultural hero burdened with the adoration of thousands, Aldrin gives a poignant account of the affair that threatened his marriage, as well as his descent into alcoholism and depression that resulted from trying to be too many things to too many people.
 
He didn’t realize that when he landed on his home planet his odyssey had just begun. As Aldrin puts it, “I traveled to the moon, but the most significant voyage of my life began when I returned from where no man had been before.”
 
Return to Earth is a powerful and moving memoir that exposes the stresses suffered by those in the Apollo program and the price Buzz Aldrin paid when he became an American icon.
 
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About the author

Buzz Aldrin (b. 1930) is an American astronaut, and the second person to walk on the Moon. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, he turned down a full scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in favor of an education at West Point Academy, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. After receiving a commission by the United States Air Force (USAF), Aldrin flew sixty-six combat missions during the Korean War, after which he continued his education at MIT before becoming an astronaut in 1963.
Unlike most of the others chosen for that role, Aldrin was never a test pilot, but attracted the attention of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with his success in the USAF and his graduate work at MIT. Aldrin flew on Gemini 12, and was selected—along with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins—for Apollo 11, the first mission to the surface of the Moon. Since retiring from NASA, he has done charity work and written numerous books, including Encounter with Tiber (1996), his first science fiction novel.
 
Wayne Warga (1937–1994) cowrote Return to Earth with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Natalie: A Memoir by Her Sister with Lana Wood. Warga was a correspondent for Life magazine in Cuba and Central America and a prolific entertainment journalist and writer for the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Tonight, and USA Today: On TV. He later wrote the Jeffrey Dean Mysteries: Hardcover (1985), Fatal Impressions (1989), and Singapore Transfer (1991).
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3.8
5 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Dec 15, 2015
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Pages
338
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ISBN
9781504026444
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
Science / Space Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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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.
Beloved American hero and astronaut Buzz Aldrin reflects on the wisdom, guiding principles, and irreverent anecdotes he's gathered—both in outer space and on earth—through his event-filled life, in this inspiring guide-to-life for the next generation.
 
Everywhere he goes, crowds gather to meet Buzz Aldrin. He is a world-class hero, a larger-than-life figurehead, best known of a generation of astronauts whose achievements surged in just a few years from first man in space to first men on the moon. Now he pauses to reflect and share what he has learned, from the vantage point not only of outer space but also of time: still a non-stop traveler and impassioned advocate for space exploration, Aldrin will be 86 in 2016.
 
No Dream Is Too High whittles down Buzz Aldrin's event-filled life into a short list of principles he values, each illustrated by fascinating anecdotes and memories, such as:
·      Second comes right after first. NASA protocol should have meant he was first on the moon, but rules changed just before the mission. How he learned to be proud of being the second man on the moon.
·      Look for opportunities, not obstacles. Buzz was rejected the first time he applied to be an astronaut. Failure is an opportunity to learn to do better.
·      Always maintain your spirit of adventure. For his 80th birthday, Buzz went diving in the Galapagos and hitched a ride on a whale shark. He stays fit, energetic, and fascinated with life.
 
No Dream Is Too High is a beautiful memento, a thought-provoking set of ideas, and a new opportunity for Buzz Aldrin to connect with the masses of people who recognize his unique place in human history.
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