Review: Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

Michael Collins is responsible for this week’s Throwback Thursday classic – the story of how he made it to the moon without actually going to the moon. It’s superb.

Collins is perhaps the most famous man you’ve never heard of – circling the moon on Apollo 11, whilst Armstrong and Aldrin took all the glory down on the surface. He’s the one on the right looking cooler than the other side of the pillow in this pic:

Apollo 11 Crew, Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins: Too cool for school.

Apollo 11 Crew, Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins: Too cool for school.

Carrying the Fire is the story of how he got there, from his days as a test pilot, through his space walks on Gemini 10, right up to his time on Apollo 11.

It’s probably the best of all of the space biographies I’ve read – Collins isn’t just an awesome pilot, he can write well, and he’s funny too. Like when he describes preparing for an operation that could see him disqualified from the space programme if it goes wrong:

Yep. Having an enema would make me contemplate my future too.

Yep. Having an enema would make me contemplate my future too.

Or when a pen pal finds this unique way to respond to his letters:

You never learned in history class that the moon landings were the moment we entered the Bullshit Era did you?

You never learned in history class that the moon landings were the moment we entered the Bullshit Era did you?

All in all, this is one of my favourite books on the space race – well worth a look if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Or even if you fancy reading about an interesting guy who did loads of interesting things.


So what do you think? Have you read it? Did you like it? Would you recommend it?

Let me know in the comments!


Already read this one? Well if you’re after recommendations along similar lines, then why not try one of these:

Review: The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe - Where astronaut Pete Conrad ties a poo in a little ribbon and bow for a medical test.
Hello, is This Planet Earth? By Tim Peake Review: Hello, is this Planet Earth? by Tim Peake - Page after page of some of the most beautiful photographs I've ever seen, taken from 220 miles up in the International Space Station. Every page looks like it has had a cool million pounds spent on it.
Review: Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski - Fascinated by the space race? Then this is a good place to find out how it all started. Its a behind-the-scenes (or maybe behind-the-iron-curtain?) look at the intense competition that spurred on the race for space: the great rivalries between the US and USSR, the US Army and Air Force, Khrushchev and Eisenhower, even the […]

 

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2 thoughts on “Review: Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

    1. Its worth it – its very good. If you want a starter in this space though, I’d go for Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff – it takes you through it from the beginning.

      Like

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