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He was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage reveted a nation. But these two historical events only bracketed a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century. John Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in Ohio whe He was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage reveted a nation. But these two historical events only bracketed a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century. John Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in Ohio where he learned the importance of family, community, and patriotism. He took these values with him as a marine fighter pilot during World War II and into the skies over Korea, for which he would be decorated. Always a gifted flier, it was during the war that he contemplated the unlimited possibilities of aviation and its frontiers. We see the early days of NASA, where he first served as a backup pilot for astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom. In 1962 Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States. Then came several years in international business, followed by a twenty-four year career as a U.S. Senator-and in 1998 a return to space for his remarkable Discover mission at the age of seventy-seven.


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He was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage reveted a nation. But these two historical events only bracketed a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century. John Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in Ohio whe He was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage reveted a nation. But these two historical events only bracketed a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century. John Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in Ohio where he learned the importance of family, community, and patriotism. He took these values with him as a marine fighter pilot during World War II and into the skies over Korea, for which he would be decorated. Always a gifted flier, it was during the war that he contemplated the unlimited possibilities of aviation and its frontiers. We see the early days of NASA, where he first served as a backup pilot for astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom. In 1962 Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States. Then came several years in international business, followed by a twenty-four year career as a U.S. Senator-and in 1998 a return to space for his remarkable Discover mission at the age of seventy-seven.

30 review for John Glenn: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    You cannot make this stuff up. A clean-cut kid, born in small-town Ohio. Doesn't smoke or drink, loves sports and the outdoors and hunting, fishing and farming. Dreams of being a flying ace. Marries his childhood sweetheart and stays madly in love with her for over fifty years. Becomes a flying ace in World War Two -- and the Korean War. Flies side by side with Ted Williams, the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Gets chosen for the space program, becomes the first and greatest of the orig You cannot make this stuff up. A clean-cut kid, born in small-town Ohio. Doesn't smoke or drink, loves sports and the outdoors and hunting, fishing and farming. Dreams of being a flying ace. Marries his childhood sweetheart and stays madly in love with her for over fifty years. Becomes a flying ace in World War Two -- and the Korean War. Flies side by side with Ted Williams, the greatest baseball player who ever lived. Gets chosen for the space program, becomes the first and greatest of the original NASA astronauts. Runs for President . . . and gets his ass kicked. Which really makes you wonder, what kind of man gets elected President of the United States these days? But all jokes aside, this is one of the best autobiographies I've ever read. John Glenn really makes you feel what it was like to be a golden hero in an innocent America that's gone and will never come back. He makes you understand why his marriage to shy, strong-willed Annie lasted for fifty years. He makes you understand what it feels like to fly a fighter plane in combat, and to fly in space. And on top of all that, you actually believe he's just as classy as his image suggests. But who wants a clean-cut war hero with tons of class for President? I mean, wouldn't it be fun to choose some guy who was the very opposite of John Glenn? Let's try that instead!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lennie

    This astronaut definitely led a full life! In his memoir, John Glenn writes about growing up in Ohio, becoming a fighter pilot during WWII, and then eventually joining NASA and the space program in which he made history by becoming the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. He later went on and became a senator for over twenty years. The best part of this book is when he discusses his experiences aboard the spacecraft, Friendship 7, and when I finished reading his book, it made me really p This astronaut definitely led a full life! In his memoir, John Glenn writes about growing up in Ohio, becoming a fighter pilot during WWII, and then eventually joining NASA and the space program in which he made history by becoming the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth. He later went on and became a senator for over twenty years. The best part of this book is when he discusses his experiences aboard the spacecraft, Friendship 7, and when I finished reading his book, it made me really proud to be American.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    John Glenn was one of the few, and certainly the first, of the early astronauts to parlay his fame into a political career, and said career included some less-than-stellar moments. I always felt like Glenn took advantage of his career as an astronaut in a way few others did, a more public and more unseemly way, so he’s always been my least favorite of the Mercury group (like they’re the seven dwarves or something; we sometimes forget famous people are also real people). And so his memoir sat on m John Glenn was one of the few, and certainly the first, of the early astronauts to parlay his fame into a political career, and said career included some less-than-stellar moments. I always felt like Glenn took advantage of his career as an astronaut in a way few others did, a more public and more unseemly way, so he’s always been my least favorite of the Mercury group (like they’re the seven dwarves or something; we sometimes forget famous people are also real people). And so his memoir sat on my shelf, until I belatedly decided I should save money and read the books I already own but haven’t read instead of buying new ones, at least for a while. I will happily admit that the book was both an enjoyable read, and left me with a much more positive image of John Glenn. Most memoirs try to do the latter, but few succeed at both. Glenn prominently acknowledges the help of his ghostwriter, Nick Taylor, who surely had a great deal to do with how readable the book is. But it is I think an even greater credit to Taylor that the book sounds like the simple Midwesterner John Glenn is; Taylor didn’t fancy up Glenn’s words, he just made them sing. That’s skill. And it makes the book—which runs an indulgent 500+ pages—-surprisingly fun reading. John Glenn did so many things in his time that we forget—-or never learned-—about half of them. Raised in Depression-era Ohio, he was one of only two astronauts to serve in World War II (the other was Deke Slayton; they served in opposite theaters). Glenn also fought in Korea with both a Marine flying unit and an Air Force unit, with which he recorded three kills. As a test pilot, he flew nonstop across the country to set a transcontinental speed record (the first transcontinental supersonic flight), which made him famous enough that he was later asked to be on Name That Tune. He made that flight at 36, then an age considered near the top limit for a functional flying career (a laughable notion these days), and yet was selected for the Mercury program two years later. He wouldn’t make his famous Mercury flight until the age of 40. Glenn is a real hero for people who think they’re getting old-—and he would continue to be so, as at the end of his political career (he spent 24 years in the U.S. Senate) he returned to space on the shuttle and proved that at 77 the body could handle the rigors of spaceflight with remarkable success. This is a full life for one man, and I suppose 500 pages isn’t a long time to tell it. There were other parts of Glenn’s life less savory, but he generally doesn’t shy away from them. He was one of the Keating Five, senators implicated in a particularly flagrant Savings and Loan debacle, though he (along with John McCain) was fully exonerated after an investigation. Glenn discusses the affair, sticking close to the record but clearly not feeling any need to justify an association that proved insignificant; he doesn’t seem to have an axe to grind. He ran for president in 1984 and made rather a hash of it (had he won the nomination he would surely have done better than Walter Mondale), ending up with $20 million in campaign debt that took years and an FEC forgiveness to pay back. He admits his and the campaign’s failures gracefully. His 1998 shuttle flight was often considered a boondoggle, one last hurrah for a retiring Senator, a viewpoint I generally agreed with at the time. But Glenn spends many pages discussing the science and value behind the mission—-and freely admits to how long he worked and how many people he had to talk to before he got the mission approved. Clearly it was something he wanted, and the science, though valuable, was what allowed him to justify chasing that dream. But the science was good, and that’s what NASA should be about; and his yearning for a return to space is hardly something anyone should blame him for. Glenn discusses his 1962 testimony before Congress about various aspects of NASA and spaceflight, but glosses over his remarks in favor of restricting women from becoming astronauts. It’s easy to guess at what might have been, but if Glenn—-then perhaps the most famous man in America-—had said before Congress that women should be allowed into the astronaut corps, it is almost inconceivable that a woman would not have gone to the moon. As it was, 30 years passed before the first American woman went to space (Sally Ride in 1983). Glenn doesn’t mention this; perhaps he doesn’t care to speculate about the past, but I do think his insistence that women should not be astronauts had much to do with the delay in broadening the astronaut corps. I’m sure he said only what he believed at the time, and believed in good faith; but if only he’d said nothing at all… On balance, however, the memoir is largely positive, and while there are dark corners of all our lives we would prefer not to put into print, one can’t put the book down without thinking John Glenn really was a great American. It’s an enjoyable read, and a nice look back to an era when politics was less venal and patriotism more pure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Koren

    John Glenn is an inspiration. He led a full life, was a hard worker, went after what he wanted, wasn't afraid of anything and had an exceptional set of values. He doesn't complain about anything and has a very positive attitude. I dont think he met a man he didnt like. The only complaint I have about this book is that sometimes the book was a little too detailed for me but, otherwise, an interesting read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jerrid Kruse

    A little something for everyone: war, science, politics, history. I found the mercury project to be most interesting, but enjoyed the other pieces of the story. Perhaps a bit more detail than is necessary for my tastes.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ash Wilson

    John Glenn died near the end of 2016 @ the age of 95 years old. Let me phrase that a little differently - 95 years of living. And after reading his memoir written nearly 20 years prior to his passing, let me just say, WOW. What an incredible, incredible life lived. Seriously, not a moment of his life seemed wasted. Definitely a 5-star effort, despite its lengthiness ... the man’s life warranted having a lot to say, haha. A few times he got a little wordy, technical and too detailed just for my o John Glenn died near the end of 2016 @ the age of 95 years old. Let me phrase that a little differently - 95 years of living. And after reading his memoir written nearly 20 years prior to his passing, let me just say, WOW. What an incredible, incredible life lived. Seriously, not a moment of his life seemed wasted. Definitely a 5-star effort, despite its lengthiness ... the man’s life warranted having a lot to say, haha. A few times he got a little wordy, technical and too detailed just for my own personal interests - most notably during the sections on his military flying, test pilot flying & a few times in his NASA sections. But that’s to be expected from this type of book. Just because I’m not personally as into learning about all of the technical numbers of everything and what not, that was his life passion & what he did, so nothing wrong there. But for such a long book, those were the only slow parts of it for me, personally. First of all - We need to spend a moment talking about his relationship with Annie, (his wife). They met in their play pins aged 2 years old, were friends all through their childhoods, became a couple in their teens, & ended up being married until his passing in 2016, for a total of 73 years. Annie’s suffered a pretty serious stuttering impediment her whole life. He never saw her stutter as any kind of problem at all. It was just part of who she was like it was part of who her father was & John loved who Annie was. He would defend her against adolescents who could be so cruel about it. Their love story was so inspiring. If their real life romance isn’t TRULY an amazing love story, then I don’t know what is! “I’m just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum.” .... “Don’t be long.” I’m. Still. Crying. I was also really inspired by his recollections of Leo DeOrsey, the Project Mercury crew’s lawyer. He said he would only offer his services if they were entirely pro bono, including any & all fees he incurred during his time representing them. He seemed to really do his patriotic chore in using his legal expertise to defend those guys as well as he possibly could & fight for them to always get the absolute best deals @ a time when the whole space program & idea of manned missions was so brand new. I especially teared up @ the story of him trying to get John some better life insurance before his Friendship 7 launch & deciding in the end that he did not want to & would not bet against him. So he promised John he would take care of Annie & their family if anything went wrong & John didn’t return, & he wrote Annie $100,000 check of his own money to either be cashed or destroyed depending on the outcome of the mission. What a cool story. Of course, I loved it all. Military stories. Political stories. All of the NASA inside info, (I learned so much)! Especially like John said, with the fact that when the book was written, his 2 space missions had literally bookended the American space program. I didn’t realize how long his service periods were either. He served 23 years in the Marines & nearly 24 in the Senate. As a political junkie myself, I enjoyed his take on his years of public service. With all my involvement with John McCain & his various campaigns over the years, I had somehow blocked the whole ‘Keating 5’ scandal from my mind, much less that John Glenn was one of the involved Senators. I was also fascinated to learn about his close political friendships .... as well as the people in politics he didn’t really seem to get along with all that well. I had no idea that he & Annie had such a beautifully close personal friendship / relationship with Bobby & Ethel Kennedy. He and Annie were with him & Ethel in their hotel suite the night he was shot, they took the 5 of his 11 children that were in California back home to Hickory Hill & it was actually John Glenn that had to sit them down and tell them that Bobby had died. He said it was one of the hardest things he ever did in his entire life. They had had a conversation, the 4 of them, John, Annie, Ethel & Bobby, after JFK’s assassination on how fickle Washington friends could be & whether they each actually had 6 people they loved & trusted enough to be pallbearers at their funerals. ... John was a pallbearer carrying Bobby’s casket @ his funeral & John was the one who presented the American flag to Ethel @ Arlington at Bobby’s burial. It was equally interesting to me to learn about the Glenn’s relationship with the Carter’s. All the way back when Jimmy Carter was running & John was considered for the V.P. position, the Glenn’s believe they were penalized because Rosalynn felt that Annie’s stutter would hurt the campaign - although she never directly acknowledged or denied that she had insulted them about it behind their backs. And then throughout his presidency, Jimmy & John just really seemed to butt heads a lot. To the point where they actually had an exchange over a disagreement John was going to have with the President in a speech about SALT II where John recalled, (& I quote), “That led to a phone call from the president that developed into a harsh exchange. No president before or since has ever talked to me that way, and I’ve never spoken that way to any other president.” He didn’t care much more for Reagan either & was staunchly against Reaganomics & Reagan’s vocal idea that government had virtually no place in people’s lives. Since one was a democratic president and one a republican & he had gripes with both, I also found it fascinating that in this book, written nearly 20 years ago, John Glenn had insight to something that’s getting worse & worse all the time to this day. He said, in part, “I [also] thought our political system was in trouble. Since Vietnam it had deteriorated into a name-calling contest between left and right.” He went on from that to elaborate basically very much on what’s going on in politics today & how there’s very little left of ‘the middle’. It was then also kind of sad to read his thoughts on wondering if he made a mistake delving into politics / running for President, when he thought about how much back stabbing there is & how you can really never trust anyone or anything and he compared that to his recollections of the brotherhood he had experienced even in he very worst circumstances in the military & how even when they had their disagreements during Project Mercury, he always knew he could count on the other team members & that at the end of the day, they all always had each other’s backs. He seemed to get along well with the Clintons. I was a bit disappointed that he never really discussed President Bush Sr. much, or their time spent together during the Challenger explosion. While I certainly didn’t agree with everything he had to say & shared many political disagreements with John Glenn as well, I still do think it is just really kind of too bad that we never got to explore the concept of having a President who believed in bringing the country back to the “sensible center”. We need that more than ever these days.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate Shannon

    Another book I'd give 3.5 stars to if I could. I picked this up while visiting my parents (it's actually my brother's book) and it started out kind of "Meh". But it's always interesting to me to see other perspectives on parts of my life--and John Glenn was a part of growing up in the 50s and 60s. In fact my brother was born the year he made his first space flight. For family reasons, my brother was named Glenn, and I still remember how people presumed he was named after the astronaut. So the "M Another book I'd give 3.5 stars to if I could. I picked this up while visiting my parents (it's actually my brother's book) and it started out kind of "Meh". But it's always interesting to me to see other perspectives on parts of my life--and John Glenn was a part of growing up in the 50s and 60s. In fact my brother was born the year he made his first space flight. For family reasons, my brother was named Glenn, and I still remember how people presumed he was named after the astronaut. So the "Meh" turned into more interest as we got to time periods and events that I remember. His initial space flight is one of those time stopping memories for me (along with the assassinations of both Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, Jr.; Neal Armstrong walking on the moon; and seeing the Beatles live). By reading this I learned some things, I remembered more and found it to be an enjoyable read. Oorah, Mr. Glenn for your life of dedicated service!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maryellen Donahue

    I had heard of John Glenn but didn't know much about him. I enjoyed the story about his life!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike Kalmbach

    Great insights into the history of this man and the first American spaceflight. I wonder about some of the connections with my own grandfather in WW2--assuming I recall the stories correctly, John Glenn was providing air support in the same area that my grandfather fought. I felt more connected to his history because I'd heard stories and lived through a small portion of his lifetime, so this was a neat read for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sutherland

    In Lily Koppel's "Astronaut Wives Club," many of the astronauts associated with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions were portrayed as philandering egomaniacs. The one who stood out as genuinely likable from that account was John Glenn. He was portrayed as a bit aloof but for the purpose of keeping his family, especially his stuttering wife, Annie, away from the spotlight and in as normal a life as possible. Intrigued by that account, I set out to read his own life account to see if he held In Lily Koppel's "Astronaut Wives Club," many of the astronauts associated with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions were portrayed as philandering egomaniacs. The one who stood out as genuinely likable from that account was John Glenn. He was portrayed as a bit aloof but for the purpose of keeping his family, especially his stuttering wife, Annie, away from the spotlight and in as normal a life as possible. Intrigued by that account, I set out to read his own life account to see if he held up. Glenn writes an essentially chronological account which is divided into sections of early childhood, fighting in World War II and Korea, test pilot after the war, Project Mercury, public service after the space program, and his return to space on the Shuttle. The writing is good enough to not be a distraction from his account but lacks some of the insights and poet's eye that Michael Collins' "Carrying the Fire" portrayed. The details of the book were many. From the types of planes he flew (how many pounds of thrust, size of engines, g forces and more) and many specs on the space craft and rockets flown, it was obvious that this book was well-researched. Some might find the details overwhelming, but I thought they added genuineness and authority to the account. In the memoir, Glenn seems the classic member of the "Greatest Generation," surviving the depression, serving in war, and working to make the country a better place for those that follow. He comes across as genuinely affable, patriotic, honest, ambitious (without being an egomaniac) and duty-bound to his country. His family life is a priority but one that always seems to come second to duty. I enjoyed getting glimpses into each aspect of his life, especially his relationship with Annie. Theirs seems to be the strongest marriage of any among those who went to space. As of this review, they are both still living, having been married over 70 years and having known each other for over 90 years! The most uneven part of the book was his Senate career. It was sketchy on details for a four term senator. It mentioned the Keating 5, and he denied any wrongdoing as one would expect. He is believable in his defense. His interactions with presidents from JFK forward are interesting, and his dealings with Jimmy Carter are especially interesting. His relationship with RFK is a pleasure to read about. Overall, this was a worthwhile memoir, filling in details of Glenn's life and covering the major episodes of his life. After 400 pages, I still like John Glenn and consider him a genuine American hero and treasure.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paul Lunger

    From 1999 comes the story of one of the great pioneers in the space program & an Ohio legend. In "John Glenn: A Memoir", John Glenn with the help of Nick Taylor tells the story of his life. From the humble upbringing in New Concord to World War 2 & Korea to Mercury to the Senate & Discovery, we trace the life of a hero for the 1960s whose story is as relevant today as before. Across the nearly 80 years of his life, Glenn recounts the tale of how he met his wife Annie, the stories of the struggle From 1999 comes the story of one of the great pioneers in the space program & an Ohio legend. In "John Glenn: A Memoir", John Glenn with the help of Nick Taylor tells the story of his life. From the humble upbringing in New Concord to World War 2 & Korea to Mercury to the Senate & Discovery, we trace the life of a hero for the 1960s whose story is as relevant today as before. Across the nearly 80 years of his life, Glenn recounts the tale of how he met his wife Annie, the stories of the struggles facing Ohio in the Depression, his love of flight & so much more. The story is intriguing & fun to read as we see a side of a man who will always be remembered as the first American in space but also as a father, grandfather, war veteran & Senator amongst other things. In an era where NASA's funding is at times lacking & when we just passed the 50th anniversary of Friendship 7's flight on 2/20/62, the story of John Glenn reminds us that heroes come in all shapes & sizes from all walks of life. You truly can become anything to anyone if you never stop believing. Godspeed, John Glenn & very, good story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jason Phillips

    History will record John Glenn as a giant of the 20th century; a pioneer mentioned in the same breath with Cortez, Columbus, Lindbergh, and Armstrong. This book is a review of Mr. Glenn's life told through his own recollections. Most of the book is whimsical nostalgia and offers very little in the way of insight into his career as an asrtronaut and senator. He makes it seem as though these incredible achievemnts happened to him as a matter of circumstance -- "there was an astronaut program so I t History will record John Glenn as a giant of the 20th century; a pioneer mentioned in the same breath with Cortez, Columbus, Lindbergh, and Armstrong. This book is a review of Mr. Glenn's life told through his own recollections. Most of the book is whimsical nostalgia and offers very little in the way of insight into his career as an asrtronaut and senator. He makes it seem as though these incredible achievemnts happened to him as a matter of circumstance -- "there was an astronaut program so I tried out for it, seemed like fun" etc. What the reader must keep in mind is that Mr. Glenn rose to the top of that program and became NASA's choice for the first orbital flight around the Earth by an American. His rise to power in the US Senate and his serious candidacy for the presidency did not "just happen" to him. Mr. Glenn is an ambitious man -- and I mean this in a good way. He has set goals for himself and gone after them. I wish his book would have taken this into account more than it did.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Deb Todd

    I did not rate this book because I didn't finish it. It is a very long book with much of it being daily details of his life. Some of it I found interesting, but there was too much of it for my taste.

  14. 5 out of 5

    James

    I have been slowly reading the astronaut and cosmonaut biographies in chronological order by launch date. I had decided I was going to read Glenn's either around February 20th, the anniversary of his launch, or when I got to travel to NASA's Glenn Research center, whichever came first! As luck would have it I got to travel to NASA's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio (part of NASA Glenn) while working on NASA's Orion program, during that third week of February! So yes, that was a good time to f I have been slowly reading the astronaut and cosmonaut biographies in chronological order by launch date. I had decided I was going to read Glenn's either around February 20th, the anniversary of his launch, or when I got to travel to NASA's Glenn Research center, whichever came first! As luck would have it I got to travel to NASA's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio (part of NASA Glenn) while working on NASA's Orion program, during that third week of February! So yes, that was a good time to finally sit down and start reading this book that has been on my shelf for a decade. The amazing thing about John Glenn, whether you are reading his own accounts or others accounts of him, is that he was a 100% true honest-to-gosh good hard-working caring person who did everything in his power to make the world and himself a better person every day. He definitely deserves the title of "American Hero". The strange downside to this, as with works of fiction where the protagonist is always 100% lawful good, is that it makes the material not as fun to read. No real personal flaws? Always loyal and committed to the cause? Pfft, more like predictable and boring, amirite? Well no, not really. It is fun seeing someone like that have great success throughout life, even into his late 70s where he got to fly into space again aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. I'll say that that the meat of this memoir, the good tasty stuff, is his time in NASA's Mercury program. Reading about him competing to get the astronaut gig, then competing even more to be the first in space, only to get passed over, twice! and be the third to go, for the real first American orbit trip, the one that everyone remembers, is pretty darn enjoyable. His military career working in the Marines was impressive, a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea? Dang, son. And he did the first supersonic flight over the entire U.S., which earned him a spot on Name That Tune. You got the impression that 'astronaut' was the next logical step in his professional career, good thing they invented that position for him. Glenn got into politics because NASA, or the government, didn't want to launch him again as that would be risking a national treasure. Sounds like he fought hard for a lot of people, and I'm disappointed he never got the vice or Presidential role. He would have been a hell of a good one. His time back on the Shuttle was neat. I personally believe his flying again was an inspiring event and got many excited about spaceflight again, but I can still understand how people saw it as an expensive political favor (Glenn fought pretty hard to get Clinton elected) with not a whole lot of scientific merit behind it (he did experiments in space to see if the elderly experienced the same bone and muscle loss as regular astronauts do, but it was a relatively short, less than 10-day flight). At the end of the book he said the results of those experiments weren't done yet, and I haven't heard much more about those results in the 20 years since. Maybe it's just as simple as "Yup, old folks can go into space for short trips, no problem!", which his original journey was to see if human in general could survive in space for a few hours. Perhaps the greatest thing to pull from this book was that John really loved his wife Annie. Before he went on long trips in his military career he always told her "I'm just going down to the corner store to get a pack of gum." "Don't be long," she'd reply. He told her that before his launch aboard Friendship 7 and aboard Discovery. I also got a kick out of seeing my hero Henri Landwirth, the founder of Give Kids the World, make a few cameo appearances. I'll conclude with this quote of his I've always liked: "I was brought up believing that you are placed on Earth here more or less with a 50-50 proposition, and that is what I still believe. We are placed here with certain talents and capabilities. It is up to each of us to use those talents and capabilities as best you can. If you do that, I think there is a power greater than any of us that will place the opportunities in our way."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    If you were a fan of the space program you’ll remember when Glenn orbited the earth. I was a kid but my family and I were glued to the television and watched the story unfold. What I didn’t know until I read this book was how long it took for Glenn to go up in Friendship 7. There were many delays, incredibly invasive testing and, didn’t know this either, several attempts were first made with monkeys. He went into space again when he was 77. In talking about the crew on Discovery he describes hims If you were a fan of the space program you’ll remember when Glenn orbited the earth. I was a kid but my family and I were glued to the television and watched the story unfold. What I didn’t know until I read this book was how long it took for Glenn to go up in Friendship 7. There were many delays, incredibly invasive testing and, didn’t know this either, several attempts were first made with monkeys. He went into space again when he was 77. In talking about the crew on Discovery he describes himself as “Another subject was a 77 year old 190 lb specimen known as a payload specialist.”  He Said he was as much a guinea pig as he had been in in 1962 Muscle loss in elderly is thought to be primary from lack of exercise, but in space astronauts lose muscle from decreased protein production. NASA wanted to monitor and gauge this with a former older astronaut. While it was the flying and astronaut stories that initially interested me in this book I have to say I enjoyed hearing about his early life. He met his wife when they were plopped into the same playpen as infants. Their parents were good friends and the friendship, eventually love, blossomed for John and Annie. Every time he would go away for a long period of time, especially on dangerous missions, they would part with these words. “I’m just going to the corner store to get a pack of gum” and her response was always “Don’t be long.” The same corny line from that kept the tears in check when left for war,  the Korean conflict and being launched into space. The New York Times stated “At age 36, Major Glenn is reaching the practical age limit for piloting complicated pieces of machinery through the air.” This was after his supersonic flight across the U.S. which took 3 hours and 23 minutes at an average speed of 723 mph. They’d certainly had no idea what was in store for John Glenn! I learned quite a bit about John Glenn, his war experiences, his love of flying, the space program and what a patriotic and ethic man he was. There were things I’d forgotten about Glenn such as his bid for the presidency and some of the details of how he ended up in politics. John Glenn is my third  book for the nonfiction challenge hosted by ShelleyRae at Book'd Out Category is Memoir.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chris Ward

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In the final part of John Glenn's life that is covered in his memoir, he covers his time as a US senator and his return to space. John Glenn ran for a US senate seat in Ohio and got the seat. He showed one main trait throughout the book that made him an influential American and that was the fact that he had the courage to try new things. He had the courage to join the US marine corps, he had the courage to go to space and leave his life behind becoming the first man to orbit the Earth and becomi In the final part of John Glenn's life that is covered in his memoir, he covers his time as a US senator and his return to space. John Glenn ran for a US senate seat in Ohio and got the seat. He showed one main trait throughout the book that made him an influential American and that was the fact that he had the courage to try new things. He had the courage to join the US marine corps, he had the courage to go to space and leave his life behind becoming the first man to orbit the Earth and becoming the oldest astronaut to go to space in 1998 at the age of seventy seven. He also had the courage to run for US senate and take on the workload that being a senator would present him with.(4th reading update) John Glenn did a lot of stuff with his life. He just recently died at the age of 95 after a life full of eventful things. He grew up during the Great Depression and dealt with the challenges that ensued from that. He joined the naval air force and then transferred to the marine corps. Afterwards he fought in WWII in the battle in the pacific to fight back against Japanese forces. He then was drafted to fight in the Korean war. After Korea, he went to space and was one of the first men to orbit the Earth. He then became a US senator and returned to space at the age of 77 to become the oldest man in space and help release the Hubble telescope. He impacted American culture by fighting in wars that had a huge impact on the country. He also did it by joining American Government and going into space. The theme of this book is that when an opportunity presents itself, take that opportunity. John Glenn was presented with all sorts of opportunities and he also made opportunities for himself by volunteering to do things. I would recommend this book to anyone from Ohio or is interested in space and wants to know more about the life of this amazing man.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dan Darragh

    I like biographies more than memoirs because memoirs, written by individual himself or herself, can be a little one-sided and ignore any of the downside of that person. John Glenn's memoir is like that, although to his credit he does manage the savings and loan scandal that his name was attached to in the early 1980s, but he was exonerated. Tracing his life from early boyhood to when he became the oldest person to be shot into space, Glenn's years growing up in New Concord, Ohio, would resonate I like biographies more than memoirs because memoirs, written by individual himself or herself, can be a little one-sided and ignore any of the downside of that person. John Glenn's memoir is like that, although to his credit he does manage the savings and loan scandal that his name was attached to in the early 1980s, but he was exonerated. Tracing his life from early boyhood to when he became the oldest person to be shot into space, Glenn's years growing up in New Concord, Ohio, would resonate with how many men remember their lives coming of age in the middle of the 20th century. Glenn, who died 2016, was the first American to orbit the Earth and was a Marine pilot during World II and was a test pilot before entering the astronaut program. He was also one of the longest serving U.S. senators from Ohio. He would have probably made a fine president but you get the idea that he may have lacked the charisma outside of Ohio that it takes to get elected in these times. Some of his observations on his time in the Senate and how too many in Congress must pander to their base because they worry about getting re-elected rather than doing what's right for the country makes you realize the rancor that is going on now is really nothing new.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    I would give John Glenn's life 5 stars, but I only gave the book 3. I enjoyed reading it, because I was interested in learning more about this man who was truly an American hero, and someone who had the courage to step into the unknowns of outer space. I was interested in learning more about the thought processes that govern a man like that. I'm glad I read it. I enjoyed it. It's not as concise as it could have been. And even though it was interesting to hear about Glenn's life from the man hims I would give John Glenn's life 5 stars, but I only gave the book 3. I enjoyed reading it, because I was interested in learning more about this man who was truly an American hero, and someone who had the courage to step into the unknowns of outer space. I was interested in learning more about the thought processes that govern a man like that. I'm glad I read it. I enjoyed it. It's not as concise as it could have been. And even though it was interesting to hear about Glenn's life from the man himself, it would have also been helpful to see more commentary from his contemporaries (which, I know, is not exactly how memoirs work). His humility obscured some of his achievements, and I think the book would have been more compelling if the reader was given a clearer picture of how others viewed John Glenn during his career. Unless you are particularly interested in learning more about John Glenn (as I was), I'm not sure this book would hold your attention. But if you're interested in learning about him, it's worth the read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jim Welke

    This is an excellent read, especially if you are a Marine and/or a pilot. John takes us from growing up in rural Ohio to becoming the oldest person to travel into space. He dropped out of college to become a Naval Aviator and he chose the Marine Corps over the Navy, flying fighters in both WWII and Korea. Boston Red Sox's star Ted Williams was Glenn's wingman when the two of them flew Corsairs over Korea. As a Marine test pilot in the late 1950's, he was one of seven military pilots chosen for N This is an excellent read, especially if you are a Marine and/or a pilot. John takes us from growing up in rural Ohio to becoming the oldest person to travel into space. He dropped out of college to become a Naval Aviator and he chose the Marine Corps over the Navy, flying fighters in both WWII and Korea. Boston Red Sox's star Ted Williams was Glenn's wingman when the two of them flew Corsairs over Korea. As a Marine test pilot in the late 1950's, he was one of seven military pilots chosen for NASA's initial astronaut program. While trying to explain to his wife how lucky he was to be one of the first people selected to travel into outer space for the USA, his wife Annie commented "They have one two many "A's" in the word astronaut". Annie supported John is all his pursuits, including his years in the US Senate and his going back into space in his 70's. John Glenn was very devout, he did not smoke or drink and dedicated his life to serving his country, he is truly, one of the great American heroes of the 20th Century.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Adam Christian

    One of my original childhood heroes. I think all Americans should read this enjoyable book about one of the “steely eyed missile man’ who bravely climbed atop rockets/bombs in order to proxy fight a war between Soviets and Americans This era is important because instead of launching nuclear weapons at each other, the two nations simply proved they could heavy lift analogs of heavy things to show they both could replace the men at the top of these manned rockets with weapons of mass destruction. One of my original childhood heroes. I think all Americans should read this enjoyable book about one of the “steely eyed missile man’ who bravely climbed atop rockets/bombs in order to proxy fight a war between Soviets and Americans This era is important because instead of launching nuclear weapons at each other, the two nations simply proved they could heavy lift analogs of heavy things to show they both could replace the men at the top of these manned rockets with weapons of mass destruction. Not a lot of surprises in this one but it left me with a few conundrums. Mainly, how can we have such great stock such as Glenns, Neal Armstrongs etc and end up with the base, déclassé, uneducated and generally shallow beings such as Donald Trump as leader of the “free” world? One never knows.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I first listened to this book on tape shortly after its release in 1999. I have been reading the memoirs of many of the original astronauts in the past couple of years so I decided to read the hard copy of the book this time The book covers Glenn's growing-up years in Ohio, his service in the Navy and Marine Corps during World War 2 and the Korean war, being selected as one of the original 7 Mercury astronauts, his 1962 space flight, his 24 years as a U.S. Senator, and going on the space shuttle I first listened to this book on tape shortly after its release in 1999. I have been reading the memoirs of many of the original astronauts in the past couple of years so I decided to read the hard copy of the book this time The book covers Glenn's growing-up years in Ohio, his service in the Navy and Marine Corps during World War 2 and the Korean war, being selected as one of the original 7 Mercury astronauts, his 1962 space flight, his 24 years as a U.S. Senator, and going on the space shuttle at the age of 77. Great book for those interested in space travel and the inner workings of the Congress in the 1970s-1990s. **#7 of 120 books pledged to read/review during 2017**

  22. 4 out of 5

    RebeccaReads

    What was most striking to me was that throughout his childhood, his military career, his Mercury days, and his return to NASA, John wrote most often about "we." He was focused on the team and the team's accomplishments, even as they turned into his own accomplishments. During his days in politics, however, he wrote all about the "I." Even his dear wife Annie, on whom he dotes for the majority of the book, disappears from this section. The political section is entirely MY accomplishments and name What was most striking to me was that throughout his childhood, his military career, his Mercury days, and his return to NASA, John wrote most often about "we." He was focused on the team and the team's accomplishments, even as they turned into his own accomplishments. During his days in politics, however, he wrote all about the "I." Even his dear wife Annie, on whom he dotes for the majority of the book, disappears from this section. The political section is entirely MY accomplishments and name-dropping. It was striking to see the change in voice. Though it was an interesting enough book, it was not well-written. As far as space memoirs go, this is not one I would recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cherrie Deavers

    I was always interested in NASA and space exploration. The astronauts fascinated me as a youngster. John Glenn was from my home state of Ohio. I saw this book and figured I just might learn something. Boy did I ever! It was like going back in time on an adventure. John takes you on a journey from his boyhood and how he became interested in flying to his last space flight as a senior citizen. The book is written very well and it is very hard to set down because you don’t want to stop. A very good I was always interested in NASA and space exploration. The astronauts fascinated me as a youngster. John Glenn was from my home state of Ohio. I saw this book and figured I just might learn something. Boy did I ever! It was like going back in time on an adventure. John takes you on a journey from his boyhood and how he became interested in flying to his last space flight as a senior citizen. The book is written very well and it is very hard to set down because you don’t want to stop. A very good read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Yves Bocquet

    A real person's memoir, not too humble, not too proud. It reflects the self-assurance that makes strong men into heroes. Sure it is one-sided, it is a memoir, but it is an honest one. That book helps one to come to grasp with what it really takes to sit in these machines, and "boldly go" where none has gone before. How can one take such a step while being conscious of the risks but aware of the possibilities at the same time? This is the story of the greatest adventure of all time, and the precise A real person's memoir, not too humble, not too proud. It reflects the self-assurance that makes strong men into heroes. Sure it is one-sided, it is a memoir, but it is an honest one. That book helps one to come to grasp with what it really takes to sit in these machines, and "boldly go" where none has gone before. How can one take such a step while being conscious of the risks but aware of the possibilities at the same time? This is the story of the greatest adventure of all time, and the precise description of what a hero should be. Thank you Colonel Glenn, thank you John.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rob Pruden

    I have been aware of John Glenn my entire life and have always considered him a bit of an American hero, so when I came across this book, I thought it would be the perfect diversion. He certainly led an interesting life and I am glad I got to know it better, but two things about this book held me back from loving it. First was the incessant detail he went into about some of the technical aspects of flight which was just too much for this amateur, but more significantly I just felt that a certain I have been aware of John Glenn my entire life and have always considered him a bit of an American hero, so when I came across this book, I thought it would be the perfect diversion. He certainly led an interesting life and I am glad I got to know it better, but two things about this book held me back from loving it. First was the incessant detail he went into about some of the technical aspects of flight which was just too much for this amateur, but more significantly I just felt that a certain passion was missing from the narrative.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Seliske

    John Glenn accompanied an unbelievable amount of public service in his lifetime. His memoir could have stretched into multiple volumes. However, he tells just enough of each of the exciting parts of his life to keep the pace fast and the reader interested. For a 1960s space geek like myself,it was something that challenged you to put down. Five stars! “Godspeed John Glenn!”

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie Kenney

    Everything You Could Want To Know about John Glenn's fascinating life! John Glenn's space flight is one of those vivid childhood memories my generation shared. It's a joy to read this book and get the entire, honest and plain spoken account from John Glenn. Perfectly balanced, detailed but never dry or boring. A REALLY great read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Bobbitt

    I'm starting to think astronauts are really good authors. Between this and Alan Shepard/Deke Slayton's work in Moon Shot, I enjoy reading these exploits. I think I need to look for more of these sorts of memoirs as data points.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Kennar

    5 stars for John Glenn's life of public service and dedication to his family. The book, however, felt very slow in certain parts, providing too many details and facts that didn't help to move the story along.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Tefend

    An Extraordinary life story every Ohioan, American, and world citizen should read as soon as possible. I could write until I drop dead about how much I love this book and John Glenn, he is an American worth idolizing in an age devoid of such people.

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