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1. Magnificent Desolation: The Long
2. Look to the Stars
3. Reaching for the Moon (Outstanding
4. Encounter with Tiber
5. Men from Earth
6. Return to Earth
7. Buzz Aldrin: The Pilot of the
8. The Return
9. One Small Step
10. Buzz Aldrin (American Lives)

1. Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon
by Buzz Aldrin, Ken Abraham
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-06-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030746346X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
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.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

3-0 out of 5 stars Like the other reviewers said...
I agree with the other reviewers here - first part of book: pretty good, middle: so-so, and the end: YAWN. I also found myself skimming the last chapters where he rambles aimlessly about his domestic life with his wife Lois (was that her name) - it adds no substance to the book whatsoever, except to make it thicker.

However, the first part of the book was pretty interesting, about going to the moon. That's worth checking out. Just don't expect to be entertained all the way through.

2-0 out of 5 stars Rehash of Return to Earth?
In preparation for buying the book, I consulted these reviews first.Seems like a rehash of Aldrin's earlier Return to Earth, a fine book about his post-Apollo depression, alcoholism, and adjustment problems. Perhaps Magnificent Desolation is updated, with a new wife, new travels, and more celebs, but I gather most of it was published several decades ago. Also seems like the old narcissistic Buzz.I do admire him tremendously, but will give Return to Earth II a pass--been there, read that.

3-0 out of 5 stars Wanted more...
This was the first biography and first book pertaining to actual space information, I ever read. I had high expectations with a new love for science and space I thought what better way to feed my curiosity then a book on one of the first men on the moon. I was disappointed that he had a mere two-three chapters about the space flight and almost a ten year span after that about his depression/alcoholism. After a while I thought, "What the hell is this?" Clearly I had made a bad choice,it was upsetting to know that someone who accomplished so much was so weak emotionally. I guess I was looking for something a little more influential.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon
Buzz bares his soul in this book. That takes courage. He talks about his journey from the moon up until the present. I guess all you critics live a perfect life and never make mistakes. Buzz is entitled to his. He did walk on the moon after all. So what about a few technical mistakes he might have made?

I am a rare woman aerospace engineer who worked on the Saturn V. There were 400,000 workers and we did not work for NASA. I am amazed
at the criticism you all are spewing out. I say, leave him alone. Guess what? I was there!!! Were any of you???

Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon and

The Biggest Explosions in the Universe

4-0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Story of Triumph over Extraordinary Dangers in Space and over the Dangers of Ordinary Life on Earth
This book starts off witha vivid description of the first moon landing in July 1969, including a recounting of all the terrifying glitches.Aldrin felt the odds of being able to pull off the landing were only 50-50.Obviously, an aborted mission was not tantamount to death, but this does give some indication of the extraordinary level of risk and daring involved.Also riveting is Aldrin's description of his aerial combat missions in Korea.But 90% of the book does not deal with these exciting heroic adventures.Rather the book really deals with Aldrin's struggle with depression, alcoholism, and with adjusting to ordinary life.

Aldrin is chilling in his description of the self destructiveness and self loathing that accompanies depression and is unsparing in his recounting of alcoholism.He does admit to being a self-centered diva and a drunk, which is disappointing to those who idolized the great astronauts of the 1960s.But his ability to overcome alcoholism and his strategies for adjusting to depressive episodes does show a different kind of heroism that is inspiring.

The need to tell the long story of addiction and recovery is worthwhile.I was more interested in the astronaut and air force stories when I picked up the book, but in the end Aldrin has rendered a great service by discussing these issues with candor and sensitivity.

The book does suffer from TMI when it comes to Aldrin's love life.And Aldrin has been a celebrity for too long and sometimes lapses into name-dropping and some Hollywood phony-baloney.

I was interested in Aldrin's ideas for space travel.He is a big fan of the private sector and sees space tourism and a space lottery (i.e., the winner gets to go into space) as a viable funding source.I'm not convinced of that.Tourism can be a good funding source, but manned space travel is not going to work unless there can be some other commercial exploitation -- whether self sustaining settlements or else the ability to mine resources or harvest power that will pay for the exploration.Otherwise, I think we do need to shift our focus to unmanned exploration.

On the whole, this is a very good and inspiring book. ... Read more

2. Look to the Stars
by Buzz Aldrin
Hardcover: 40 Pages (2009-05-14)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$7.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0036DE5A4
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Buzz Aldrin takes readers on a journey through the history of space exploration.

As one of a handful of astronauts to have walked on the moon, Buzz Aldrin has a unique perspective of space. And he serves as an amazing guide as he introduces us to the pioneers of space. From Copernicus to the Wright brothers, from the Apollo program to dreams of future travel, he reminds us that mankind has always looked to the stars.

Buzz’s informative, kid-friendly text is paired with beautifully detailed illustrations by renowned illustrator Wendell Minor, and offers the perfect introduction to everything space related, including the development of the first rockets, America’s space race with Russia, details of all the Apollo missions, and the space station.

Aldrin and Minor collaborated on the bestselling Reaching for the Moon and now they reach beyond that book to give young readers a concise look at the whole history of space exploration. Each spread provides a wonderful jumping-off point for young readers, and will no doubt inspire them to look to the stars themselves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love and Respect Buzz Aldrin, and LOVE This Book!
I was ten years old when Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon; my family, friends, and I all thought of him as a super-hero, and all these years later, I still do. The fact that he can write a more-than-decent book for children only magnifies that. This book is IT, as far as space non-fiction for the young reader!The illustrations are top-notch, and the text is clear, accurate, and attention-holding.REACHING FOR THE MOON is a favorite among young space enthusiasts; this one wil lplease those readers, and will draw in the uninitiated.

5-0 out of 5 stars extreme success story
Fantastic, frank, candid!

Buzz Aldrin demonstrates how different people can be, and how competence in many fields does not guarantee competence in all areas of life. He had his human struggles while being extemely competent technically and physically.

He'd reached amazing milestones while still in his 30s (moon walker) and then had trouble making sense of the rest of his life. The story has a happy ending though (it's not over yet) and is worth your time for many reasons.

I heard Buzz speak at a NASA sponsored event (2007 Regolith Excavation Challenge). He is 80 going on 20.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stargazers, young and old alike, will love this dazzling tour through history on up to the Apollo Missions and beyond!
Buzz Aldrin grew up in a home surrounded by photographs and memorabilia from some of the most famous pilots in the world.This early environment along with his "dad's love of flying became [his] inspiration to look to the stars."When he was young, he wondered about the early stargazers and learned about such people as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and Isaac Newton.In this book, after this brief glance into the past, Aldrin jumps into the lives of the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh.Did you know that Neil Armstrong and Buzz actually took pieces of fabric from the Wright brother's plane to the moon?

As you read, you will get a glimpse into the lives of Edwin Hubble, Robert Goddard, Charles Lindbergh, Wernher von Braun, Captain Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong and many other astronauts.The first satellite, the Sputnik, was the impetus for the race to space and prompted President Kennedy to asking the country to "commit itself to achieving the goal" of landing on the moon. Little did Buzz know that he would be one of the fortunate few to help attain that goal.With Project Apollo the dream would be realized.This book also discusses space probes and speculates about future manned missions. Perhaps even you will be able to "take a space `tour bus' or visit an Earth-orbiting `hotel!'"

This is a much more technical and detailed look at space travel and its history than its counterpart for younger children, "Moonshot."The art work is dazzling and adds a lot to the text.There is an excellent two page spread of information on the Apollo Missions 7 to 17, including diagrams of the Saturn V rocket and the Apollo spacecraft.There is an awesome time line in the back of the book, selected sources and seventeen recommended websites.Young stargazers will want to add this collection. . .if they can get it out of the hands of the grownups! ... Read more

3. Reaching for the Moon (Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 (Awards))
by Buzz Aldrin
Hardcover: 40 Pages (2005-06-01)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$7.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002PJ4J24
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

I walked on the moon. This is my journey. But it didn't begin when I stepped on board Apollo 11 on July 1, 1969. It began the day I was born.

Becoming an astronaut took more than education, discipline, and physical strength. It took years of determination and believing that any goal is possible—from riding a bike alone across the George Washington Bridge at age ten to making a footprint on the Moon.

I always knew the Moon was within my reach—and that I was ready to be on the team that would achieve the first landing. But it was still hard to believe when I took my first step onto the Moon's surface.

We all have our own dreams. This is the story of how mine came true.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars Arrogance!
Being an aerospace engineer and someone who works in a backroom of mission control, I thought this would be a good book for my one year old daughter who loves books.Before I continue, I'd like to compliment Wendell Minor for his excellent paintings, the backgrounds for the pages of this book.The words however reek of arrogance.They speak too much of a "me, me, me" attitude.We're all real proud of the crew.Bottom line, the story stinks.

5-0 out of 5 stars I didn't expect inspiration,
but that is what I got.This is a truly good read.Thank you, Buzz Aldrin.

5-0 out of 5 stars fantastic introduction to space for kids
I bought this for my grandson who is only 2 1/2 but loves the moon.Who knows.......

5-0 out of 5 stars Buzz Aldrin, astronaut, moon, space
Buzz Aldrin
HarperCollins (2005)
ISBN 9780060554477
Reviewed by Evan Weldon (age 6) for Reader Views (9/08)

"Reaching for the Moon" by Buzz Aldrin is the story about an astronaut named Buzz Aldrin.When Buzz Aldrin was born his parents named him Edwin Eugene, but his sister could only manage to call him "Buzzer."Then it was shortened to Buzz.Now everyone calls him Buzz.He was the second man to set foot on the moon's surface (the other crew member was the first and he lowered the ladder so Buzz could climb down).

When he was about six or seven he started collecting rocks, and he went to the dock to show some rocks to his friend.His friend wanted one of the rocks but Buzz said no.So his friend pushed him into the water.When his friend's father pulled him out of the water, Buzz was still clutching the heavy bucket of rocks.As a kid Buzz really liked collecting rocks and he was really determined to do what he wanted.Eventually that meant becoming an astronaut.

The paintings in the book were very good, and they gave a lot of detail.My favorite picture was of Buzz practicing to become an astronaut by exercising under water.There were also good pictures of rockets and the Eagle, the lunar lander.

I would recommend "Reaching for the Moon" by Buzz Aldrin to people who like very exciting and suspenseful books.I am six and I could read the book by myself; but the book was kind of long, so it was nice to have someone read it to me.

3-0 out of 5 stars Wrong age range listed
The age range for this book is listed on the cover as 6-9 and not 9-12. ... Read more

4. Encounter with Tiber
by Buzz Aldrin, John Barnes
 Mass Market Paperback: 656 Pages (1997-05-01)
list price: US$6.50 -- used & new: US$12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446604046
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Chronicles the story of an astronaut who discovers evidence of an extinct race of aliens that has left evidence of their civilization on the moon and Mars. Reprint. NYT. Amazon.com Review
Buzz Aldrin, one of manned space flight's pioneers, has helped create a stunning, possibly prophetic novel of the future of space exploration.A radio beacon from an unknown world leads an astronaut to disaster on the Moon -- and his son far beyond that as hesearches for the key to the mystery of Tiber, a civilization who left artifacts in the solar system some 9,000 years ago, with sufficientimpact on human affairs to explain some odd references in the Bible. The villains of the book are not thealiens, but the benighted politicians with the minds of accountants who won't fund the necessary scientificderring-do to save the world -- apparently an affliction which alien astronauts also have to bear.

You can read an exclusive interview with Buzz Aldrin written by Frank Braun. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (55)

1-0 out of 5 stars product showed up water damaged
I would not buy from them again, the product was not as described it was obviously water damaged therefore nearly impossbile to read and turn the pages without breaking the spine.I will not buy from them again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Old School Hard Science Fiction
The hard science fiction novel Encounter with Tiber is an excellent example of the genre.It is literally packed with interesting science, engineering, and technological explanations.

It is basically two interwoven stories.The human part is in the present and near future (say, 60-70 years) and is concerned with the activities and people involved with the revived human attempts at space exploration and colonization.Two factors spur their efforts on: the privatization of space technology; and the reception of signals from a planet in the planetary system of Alpha Centauri A, part of a binary star system that's about 4.3 light years (about 25.4 x 10^12 miles or 43.0 x 10^12 kilometers) away from Earth.The planet of origin of the signals is eventually named Tiber and its inhabitants become known as Tiberians.

The alien or Tiberian part of the book describes the extraterrestrials' history, culture, biology & physiology, and political institutions in some detail.Because their planet is about to be rendered uninhabitable within a couple of centuries, they have been sending out robot probes to nearby star systems in a search for a suitable planet or planets to which they can migrate.Such a probe has previously examined Earth, and the transmitted data is so promising that a "manned" expedition is sent to reconnoiter the planet in person.

These two parts are woven together by a historian who on the human starship that's traveling to the Tiberians' home system in the late 21st Century.

One character in particular, whom I guess was supposed to be a sympathetic character, was the astronaut and astronomer Chris Terence.Initially, he seemed to be a highly competent and brave astronaut.However, he proves himself to be supremely arrogant; he apparently thinks that the taxpayers should be happy to spend billions of dollars (with no expectation of any return whatsoever) solely so that scientists like him can "do science" and discover "what matters."In a later part of the book, Chris Terence proclaims that, in the 19th Century, the entire American West from Texas to Washington (state), should have been left "unspoiled," a fertile playground for anthropologists, geologists, and naturalists.Such an elitist hostility toward development turned me profoundly against him.But, hey, that's just my opinion.There is one scary possibility, however.Could Terence's elitist "pure science" attitude be NASA's official position today?That certainly would explain their less than stellar performance, over the last forty years, in advancing real (manned) space exploration, industrialization, and development.

I've noticed that, in about 20% of the reviews of Encounter with Tiber, readers are complaining about the science, engineering, and technology that are liberally scattered throughout the book.Well, HELLO...!That's why it's called SCIENCE fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars certainly better than I expected
The 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 prompted me to fetch my copy, bought really to get Buzz Aldrin's autograph years ago. The additional years since its publication have certainly highlighted the contrast between humanity's anemic space program (and various crises) of today and the scenario described in the novel, where even by now (2009) man has returned to the moon and continues on to Mars not long after. The accompanying economic boom would not be unwelcome, either.

The threads of human space travel and the alien Tiberians intersect when a surprise transmission indicates that the aliens had possibly visited the Earth, moon and Mars in the past, with artifacts to discover. The race to find and exploit those artifacts provides a major boost to space travel and drives much of the novel's 21st-century timeline. Here the book works well, with technical exposition that some might find occasionally tedious, and some I thought was nicely enlightening, as in the late stages when scientists analyze and speculate on why the Tiberian colonies failed.

The main thread on Tiberian society and their attempt to colonize elsewhere before their home world was destroyed was also done well enough. "First contact" occurred in the human stone age past, with negative consequences for the humans and the very human-like Tiberians, who must leave Earth to try survival on a terraformed moon and Mars.

Minor annoyance: some references to Aldrin himself were a bit irksome, as in a plug for his research on the inbound and outbound "cycles", and in naming a vehicle the "Aldrin". He also couldn't resist mentioning that the first word really spoken on the lunar surface in the transcripts from Apollo 11 was his own "Contact". Not cool.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best SF novels I have read
Isaac Asimov has always been my favorite author, but Encounter with Tiber is the only book that I have read more than twice (4 times to date).About every other year or so, I will pick it up and read it again, and I have enjoyed it every time.I would love to see a sequel to this novel, and in fact, I am adding this review after searching the net to see any possible news/references to a sequel.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book sould be turned into a movie.
This is a science fiction story that blends different stages of technical engineering developments around the character development of two civilizations, one from Earth.Plot discussion leverages off known existing technological challenges, solutions and observed facts.This becomes insightful and relevant to today's space efforts and developments.The book contains canonical hooks that could be evolved into many discussion issues around space technology, space law, planetary settlement (nation building), physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, metallurgy, everything.The credibility associated to the discussion by the experienced elder astronaut author takes the book out of the realm of the throwaway science fiction diatribe into discussable scientific trial balloons that warrant further discussion.This book should be turned into an epic movie. ... Read more

5. Men from Earth
by Buzz Aldrin
Mass Market Paperback: Pages (1991-04-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553289934
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars A comment about Buzz
This is more a comment about Buzz than it is a review of the book itself,as I have never read this book.Some of the reviewers of Buzz's other book,"Magnificent Desolation"were really harsh with Mr Aldrin.Having personally met the man,I can truly say that he was one of the nicest people I have ever met.Very humble,kind and even goofy.

5-0 out of 5 stars The real deal
Col Aldrin shares not only his personal insite of the space race and space flight mechanics, but offers his intellect and wisdom on the future of mankind. The book is a must read for all space exploration enthusists and would be adventure seekers. Col Aldrin is truely the cutting edge of man's reaching out in the universe. Highly recomended read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book on the Apollo program I have read
When there is a discussion regarding the creation of a vast new technology, proponents generally use the phrase, "Manhattan project for _________." This is of course a reference to the vast project that led to the development of the atomic bomb. It surprises me that this is used rather than a reference to the Apollo project that put people on the moon. To date, no one has found a use for nuclear weapons other than destruction, but the technical and psychological benefits of the American space program were tremendous. Both projects were enormous in scope and success required the invention of whole new technologies.
Buzz Aldrin was one of three astronauts in the Apollo 11 mission and the second man to walk on the moon. He was a fighter pilot, but like the rest of the early astronaut corps, combined that with a great deal of intelligence. Buzz earned a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in manned space rendezvous. Therefore, he understands a great deal of the theory behind the movement of space vehicles, which was very helpful in the early days of trying to rendezvous with another space vehicle.
This book is his recollection of the American space program; from the time the first German V2 delivered a deadly warhead to the ignominious aftermath of the Apollo program. His fundamental understanding of many of the principles of space flight is evident, making this different from most of the other histories of the American space program. He also creates two parallel time tracks, one describing the American successes and the other the actions of the Soviets.
Those who understand the history of the times realize that the greatest single impetus for the American space program occurred in the Soviet Union. Their launching of the Sputnik satellite and then the more incredible event of orbiting Yuri Gagarin created a great deal of anxiety in the United States and led to the "space race." While it was a source of great national pride and tremendous technical advancement, the space programs of the two superpowers was just another area of competition. Aldrin explains, as best he could in 1989, how the Soviet Union was able to accomplish what it did. Since most Soviet records were still unavailable at that time, there are many occasions when he resorts to informed speculation.
Aldrin was selected for the astronaut corps in 1963, while the Mercury project was still active. He describes the talent of the astronauts, as well as their fiercely competitive camaraderie. These people were fighter pilots and combat veterans. While they competed with the enemy for their lives and with their fellow pilots for advancement and glory, they also shared the common bonds of people who choose the life of danger. This is the best book about the Apollo program that I have read. Aldrin's combination of astronaut insider and knowledge of the technical details is what made it that way.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another fine book by Buzz Aldrin/Apollo 11
This book is almost as good as Buzz's first book--Return To Earth from early 70's. Dr. Aldrin at least takes his time and makes the effort to share the Apollo 11 experience with us and also what was happening [spacerelated] in America and in RUSSIA during Cold War/ Space race era, andcompares the two " superpowers'" and what was happening at bothplaces at same time intervals in the 60's. Much research and time spent inbook

3-0 out of 5 stars Buzz Moon
Aldring give us his insides in the Apollo 11 mission. His personal toughs about the Space Program the feelings of been one of the firsts to walk on the Moon. This is a must reed for any enthusiast of the Apollo Program..You can relive the Gemini 12 space walk and the trill of the trying for thehistoric Apollo 11 mission ... Read more

6. Return to Earth
by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1973-01-01)

Asin: B003X67GC8
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Price of Success
What happens after fame and success, when you no longer have control of your life? Buzz Aldrin by hard work, natural abilities, and good fortune; was in July 1969 one of only two people who had walked on the moon. This is the story of Buzz Aldrin, half of the book tells of his life from childhood until Apollo 13. The rest is what becoming famous did to him and his family. Return to Earth is most remarkable in the honesty with which it tells his story. This book is not a NASA press release, this is the rise, fall, and recovery of Buzz. This is the story on a grand scale of the everyone who has had their fifteen minutes of fame, and then has to ask now what?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Courageous and Moving Account of One Astronaut's Trials in the Aftermath of the First Moon Landing
Among all of the Apollo astronauts, where unusual personalities abound, Buzz Aldrin may be the most singularly unusual. He was also one of the most important. Selected in the third group of NASA astronauts in 1963, Aldrin was unique because of his Ph.D. in astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had written his dissertation on orbital rendezvous and he applied this knowledge to solving one of the principal riddles of the space program, how to accomplish rendezvous and docking of two spacecraft in Earth orbit. Acquiring the nickname "Dr. Rendezvous" from his fellow astronauts, during Project Gemini Aldrin became one of the key figures working on the problem of spacecraft rendezvous in Earth or lunar orbit and docking them together for space flight. Without solutions to such problems Apollo could not have been successfully completed. Aldrin got a chance to fly on Gemini XII during November 11-15, 1966, and demonstrated the success of his rendezvous and docking work for all to see; he manually recomputed all the rendezvous maneuvers after the on-board radar failed

Despite that critical work, Aldrin is mostly remembered for becoming the second man on the Moon, after Neil Armstrong, on the Apollo 11 mission. On July 20, 1969, he and Armstrong spent about 20 hours on the lunar surface. This mission made Aldrin, along with Armstrong and the third astronaut on the mission, Michael Collins, world figures. Aldrin chronicled in "Return to Earth" the flight of Apollo 11 and in many ways it was a courageous book. Aldrin had a delicate psyche. He was an intellectual who had a personal bent toward philosophy, reflectiveness, and sensitivity. Pushed to the brink by his overbearing father, Aldrin sought approval by overachieving. But he could never accomplish enough to satisfy his father and his failure to become the first person on the surface of the Moon signaled a fundamental failure, something he was spring-loaded to adopt anyway because of years of conditioning by his father.

In "Return to Earth" Aldrin recounts the intense years working on the Moon landing program, the feelings of insecurity he always carried with him, and the excesses of celebrity. Aldrin explores in this book his experiences in the aftermath of Apollo 11; the deep depression, alcoholism, "nervous breakdown," and divorce after his return to Earth. It is a confessional and courageous memoir. It is also a powerful and moving story, one that has not been as appreciated as it should be, and helps to open the door to understanding some of the stresses on those associated with Apollo program. They accomplished a remarkable feat--perhaps the greatest in human history--but the price they paid was great as well. One cannot complete the reading of this book without gaining a new appreciation for Buzz Aldrin and his unique and exceptionally productive career.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buzz Aldrin
He was the 2nd Man on the Moon . . . End of Story. ( Period )

3-0 out of 5 stars Interesting real-life story of pivotal astronaut
Hmm... Another reviewer comments that Aldrin seems self-involved, but this is a brave book - written by a guy who up until then had focused relentlessly on achieving goals and on his career. That's kind of the point - all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, capische? Many depressed people are self-involved - self-loathing, feeling negatively towards themselves to the point where they can't relate to other people, let alone notice their comings and goings.

His candor about suffering from alcoholism and depression is astonishing, and not common in the military. This is not a guy who went on to spend the rest of his life as a victim, but someone who woke up from a fugue, having risked his marriage, family and health, and proceeded to turn things around. He's a very inspiring guy, as he went on to promote space travel and colonization, and still is.

There aren't the same kind of introspective, thoughtful books by many of the other astronauts. Aldrin, in fact, is probably better known because Neil Armstrong has stayed out of the public eye (though a director at a regional space center told me several years ago that Armstrong avoided publicity due to some issues with the USPS and bringing stamps into space?! perhaps someone could shed some light on that rumor).

Aldrin talks about the pressure to keep the stress and day to day problems inside, and its effect on his marriage. For instance, his vivacious wife was refused a chance to host her own radio talk show because of what it might "do" to the space program. (Definitely not like today's world, where Howard Dean's wife Judy was criticized but ultimately lauded for staying off the campaign trail to take care of her patients.) I thought the "Wives Club" episode of "From the Earth to the Moon" summed it up pretty well. Of the "New Nine" who were selected after the "Mercury Seven," only two of their marriages survived intact - the Bormans and the Lovells (who were featured in "Apollo 13"). Two of the other "Nine" wives were widowed, one of them eventually committing suicide.

There are a lot of stories there, folks, that still haven't been told.

Random second and third thoughts:

1) The story about his second wife and he getting hepatitis has caused me to view Coca-Cola differently. yuck. He could have left that out, but then again, it does serve as a medical warning.

2) I wonder if his next book will detail his punching out of the San Diego man who accosted him on a public street, claiming the space walk never happened. I heard the crackpot who bothered Aldrin on the radio and just laughed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Buzz Lightyear Battles the Diabolic Demons of the Dark
Although this book was written by Buzz Aldrin it is not about Apollo 11 or even about space flight. It is about Buzz's battle with crippling depression and mental illness. Aldrin should be commended for his honestyand candor. This book will go a long way toward reliving the guilt of thosewho have suffered from depression.

Unfortunately Buzz comes off as muchtoo self-involved for us to care much for him. After returning from themoon he dutifully asks his young son how he is doing in school only to havethe child respond, "Daddy, it's summer vacation!" Ohyeah!

However over the last twenty five years Buzz's development as awriter - and I suspect as a human - has been spectacular. Read his fabulousbook MEN FROM EARTH or his equally stellar ENCOUNTER WITH TIBER. You willnot be disappointed! ... Read more

7. Buzz Aldrin: The Pilot of the First Moon Landing (The Library of Astronaut Biographies)
by Amy Sterling Casil
Library Binding: 112 Pages (2004-01)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$29.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823944565
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8. The Return
by Buzz Aldrin, John Barnes
Mass Market Paperback: 352 Pages (2001-07-15)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$2.58
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Asin: 081257060X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Former astronaut Scott Blackstone's dream of opening outer space to visits from everyday people is under attack. His pilot program has been marred by a fatal accident, he's out of a job, and he's being sued for a billions dollars.And it's beginning to seem that the "accident" wasn't at all accidental.

Then the endless conflict between India and Pakistan heats up...and Pakistan explodes a nuclear device in the upper atmosphere, frying electronics on earth and in space, and putting the crew of the international Space Station at risk. With the Shuttle fleet grounded, only a secret skunkworks project knownto Scott and his old friends can save the space station's stranded crew.

The Return is a tale about the kind of space adventure that could happen today--and that will happen tomorrow. As told by Buzz Aldrin, who's been there...and who's already helped change the world.
Amazon.com Review
Old-school moonwalker Buzz Aldrin teams up again with former Hugo and Nebula Awards nominee John Barnes to pen another near-future SF tale focused on the fate of the U.S. space program. But as with the duo's previous effort, 1996's Encounter with Tiber, Aldrin's ideas can take center stage a little too conspicuously, which, regardless of your own views on the subject, doesn't always make for the best story. Part thriller, part infomercial for the Aldrin space manifesto, The Return fumbles only in its lack of subtlety: The book's protagonist, Scott Blackstone, is a technically accomplished and charismatic retired astronaut who runs a foundation called ShareSpace, whose mission is to send everyday citizens into outer space. And what do you know--in real life Aldrin is a technically accomplished and charismatic retired astronaut who runs a foundation called ShareSpace, whose mission is to send everyday citizens into outer space. (Talk about your expert author.)

Of course you read Aldrin not because you think he's the next Ben Bova but because he's a space-race winner, a bright man with inspiring ideas. And Barnes, who's already proven himself with topnotch titles like Mother of Storms, helps Aldrin get his point across admirably, spinning a tale that begins with ShareSpace's third Citizen Observer to accompany a space shuttle mission: a legendary, recently retired basketball hero known around the globe as simply "MJ." Disaster strikes, though, while the beloved MJ is airborne, and Blackstone soon finds himself relying on his lawyer ex-wife to come to ShareSpace's defense. Was the disaster an accident? Don't count on it. --Paul Hughes ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars It's good to speculate
The story, clearly fiction, partially quaint, provides insight into important aspects of the space industry and the thought processes needed to develop and prepare for future exploration.It a nice set-up story for the future settlement by humans on places like Mars.The technological story line in The Return gives the hint on how this is actually all going to happen within the nearer future (2019 was mentioned, even though, in my personal opinion, 2033 is more likely).It doesn't matter that MJ is a lightly veiled caricature of a well-known superstar, or that a country and a person are identified as evil.It is important that the issues are identified; family relationship are inextricably intertwined into every reality, private versus public funding of space tourism needs to be carried out, space law and liability issues do need to be addressed, public relations needs to be handled, the dreams of youngsters need to be re-established.This is a story whose technical tidbits become fun and, upon reflection, important for open discussion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and thought provoking
I picked up Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes' _The Return_ from a remainder table for $.99. It deserves a better fate than that!

Aldrin, a famed astronaut, and Barnes, an established writer, team up here for the second time to tell a story that is interesting, entertaining, important and timely. As I write this, NASA has announced yet another delay in getting our patched-up space shuttles flying again. While robotic spacecraft are sending back new discoveries from Saturn every day, our ability to send humans into space is languishing. Aldrin, of course, is a strong advocate for the human exploration of space, and _The Return_ is an enjoyable way to follow his thinking in the form of a reasonably dramatic, fun-to-read story. It's a quick read, it makes you think, and it has a happy ending. What more could you ask for?

Robert Adler, author of _Science Firsts: From the Creation of Science to the Science of Creation_, and _Medical Firsts: From Hippocrates to the Human Genome_.

3-0 out of 5 stars Average thriller involving the Space Question
"The Return', the second colaboration between John Barnes and Buzz Aldrin doesn't quite work as well as the first.This one is more of a thriller than a sci-fi book.In this book, a former astronaut named Scott Blackstone heads up a company trying to make space more accessable to everyone.He sends up a celebrity named Michael James, who is really a Jordan with a name change and a height change.James is killed by a freak accident, or so everyone thinks.Back on earth, Scott is sued by the family of the basketball star, and he ends up being defended by his ex-wife, who is the only one willing to take up his case.Meanwhile, his brother tries to finish a new type of rocket that doesn't need those detachable boosters.Soon, they all find themselves in the midst of an international plot, as a powerful nuclear bomb is set off in the atmosphere, and it is up to the Blackstones to rescue some astronauts stranded in the I.S.S(International Space Station).O.K read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Makes me wish this was reality and not fiction!
This story from Buzz Aldrin reads almost like an alternate US space history - one in which the government allowed private business to take up the space tourist business. What makes this story a little more poignant is that the space shuttle Columbia places a significant role in the story. The pace keeps the reader flipping from page to page, and the storyline makes you want to believe that this type of R&D is really happening in the private sector. My only gripe is that Aldrin could have been a little more creative in creating one of the main civilian characters instead of simply using a caricature of Michael Jordan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Techno- Mystery from an Alternate History.
Although somewhat light in detail of characters and plot, "The Return" is a fine read of what the U.S. Space Program COULD be leading to. The ideas and dreams of one of America's Finest show, in a well thought out, suspenseful tale of International intrigue that leads from Low Earth Orbit through the morass of the Media and the National legal system, to the intricate spiderweb of Worldwide interagency espionage and skullduggery!
An excellent means of entertaining oneself on a weekend away from it all, at home or on vacation, or sending self off to one's own Dreamland! ... Read more

9. One Small Step
by Peter Murray & Buzz Aldrin
 Hardcover: 164 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$10.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0980313198
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This 40th anniversary book can serve a number of purposes. It can remind all of us what we were capable of doing and can still do; it highlights the many individuals who were involved in making it happen; and it can be a salute to all the other astronauts involved in the overall Apollo project and its many successes.In the shape and texture of the moon s surfaceIt s important that we reflect upon and celebrate our experiences, to learn from them and to push for more small steps and giant leaps. "One Small Step" commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing and all of those individuals who helped make it a success. It inspires us to keep dreaming and reaching while saluting the mission and those who made it happen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and that it will rouse you to take at least one small step of your own.Dr. Buzz AldrinAPOLLO 11 LUNAR MODULE PILOT ... Read more

10. Buzz Aldrin (American Lives)
by Elizabeth Raum
Hardcover: 32 Pages (2005-09-15)
list price: US$26.79 -- used & new: US$26.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1403469393
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Editorial Review

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Buzz Aldrin inspired a nation when he became one of the first astronauts to walk on the Moon.Wouldn’t it be great to find out what this meant for him?Read this book in order to get to know Buzz Aldrin and discover the skills and experiences of this pio

... Read more

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