I know I’m no longer officially reviewing books, but I am still reading and I’ve actually managed to read quite a lot this year. I’ve got myself an addiction to audiobooks, which helps me continue reading when I’m too tired or headachey to visually read. The thing with the audiobooks is that I seem to prefer non-fiction books. They’re easier to put down and pick back up and I’m finding some really interesting/fascinating books to read/listen to.
And that’s today’s book. A recently finished non-fiction audiobook.
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
In a thoroughly researched page-turner that transports readers back to the beginnings of our space race, bestselling author Lily Koppel reveals for the first time the stories and secrets of America’s unsung heroes-the wives of our original astronauts.
As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons, donning sherbet-swirled Pucci dresses and lacquering their hair into extravagant rocket styles.
Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage and many magazine features, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde bombshell Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK’s favorite; Betty Grissom worried her husband was having affairs; Louise Shepard just wanted to be left alone; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a dirty secret. With each spectacular launch, they worried they might never see their husbands again. Together they formed the Astronaut Wives Club.
A fascinating, dishy and moving read, set against the backdrop of the Space Age and a country that would be forever changed by it, THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
The blurb from the book makes it sound as though the book is simply about the women and maybe what clothes they wore and women stuff, but it’s so much more than that. It’s history but told from the viewpoint of the wives. You learn about the space race. Who did what first. The Russians were first in some areas and NASA were desperate to get to the moon. You learn that these families were actually probably the first reality TV stars, their lives were under so much scrutiny. A reporter practically lived with them, they were followed everywhere. NASA even dictated what they could and couldn’t do.
You learn of shocking deaths, of husbands and children. Of affairs and sackings, of people learning to adapt to their new and bizarre situations and of friendships and hardships. Joy and heartbreak. You hear the stories of the first NASA trip into space, when they first orbit around the moon and why Neil Armstrong was chosen out of the three people who went up there to be the one who stepped out first (if you don’t already know), to the Apollo 13 near disaster.
I loved listening to this as an audiobook. It was brilliantly narrated and would recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in history, American history or space travel. I only found this because it was on offer and I’m really glad it was and that I decided to listen to it. A fabulous pick!
What non-fiction books have enthralled you lately? I’d love to know.