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  Fallen Astronauts (Burgess, Doolan, Vis) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Fallen Astronauts (Burgess, Doolan, Vis)
ColinBurgess
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From: Sydney, Australia
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posted 11-02-2003 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When "Fallen Astronauts" first came out I was more than a little annoyed to see an unflattering review from someone at Publisher's Weekly on Amazon, but yesterday Walt Cunningham unexpectedly gave it a lengthy, five-star review! To me, this is equivalent to Gus Grissom shaking my hand and saying, "Do good work!"

Walt's and other reviews (wow - all five stars!) have finally put the smile back on my face, and convinced me that people who know nothing about astronauts and their lives should not write trashy give-us-some-more-dirt reviews on the subject.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 11-03-2003 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I highly suggest Colin's new book, Fallen Astronauts.

The book is chalk full of information concerning the lives of men most of us only know as footnotes in the history of the race to the moon. Fallen Astronauts has brought these men to life and provided facts about their lives, the accidents that took their lives as well as the potential changes in the flight rotation caused by their untimely deaths.

It is well worth reading as it fills gaps in the knowledge most of us have about the race to the moon.

Overall, an excellent addition to your resource library.

Philip
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posted 11-03-2003 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Fallen Astronauts" reminds me of a small statuette made by Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck which represented a fallen person to be a cosmonaut or astronaut. Apollo 15 moonwalkers David Scott and Jim Irwin performed a small ceremony and left the statuette together with a card carrying the names of both Russians and Americans who died during spaceflight-preparations or operations.

FFrench
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posted 11-03-2003 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ColinBurgess:
Walt Cunningham unexpectedly gave it a lengthy, five-star review!
If you are interested in reading Walt Cunningham's review of the book, it is posted here or just go to Amazon.com and search for "Fallen Astronauts".

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-03-2003 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Philip:
"Fallen Astronauts" reminds me of a small statuette made by Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck which represented a fallen person to be a cosmonaut or astronaut.
In fact the title, and indeed the concept of the book, originated with that same small figurine and plaque you have mentioned.

Some years ago I wrote an article for the BIS "Spaceflight" magazine on the life of Ed Givens, and I ended it by saying that at least his name had made it to the moon on that plaque, in the lunar soil by the deliberately-toppled "fallen astronaut." The article (titled "Fallen Astronaut") led me to investigate the lives of the other astronauts and cosmonauts whose names (with the exception of two then not known) were engraved on that plaque left by Scott and Irwin.

The book was undergoing early production at the time of the Columbia accident, and it was only coincidental that President Bush began referring to the crew as "these fallen astronauts."

But yes, that figurine certainly began it all for me.

sts205cdr
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posted 11-03-2003 07:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm reading it and enjoying it immensely. Thank you, Mr. Burgess!

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-03-2003 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, John, but only my schoolteacher ever called me "Mr. Burgess." Unless that's you, then I'm perfectly happy with Colin.

sts205cdr
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posted 11-03-2003 11:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sts205cdr   Click Here to Email sts205cdr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, I just finished it and still have a lump in my throat after reading the moving recollections from the dedication of the Astronaut's Memorial, which I have visited many times. Thank you once again for bringing the stories of these lost heroes to my bookshelf. You have done a great service to their families and to every student of space flight history. Bravo!

Steven Kaplan
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posted 11-04-2003 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steven Kaplan   Click Here to Email Steven Kaplan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must echo the sentiments of those who posted earlier. The book is wonderful, and I recommend it to anyone interested in the early manned program. The anecdotes and potential "what ifs..." make for fascinating reading.

The loss of these individuals, and the sacrifice of their families, is often overlooked by all of us. Thanks to Colin Burgess for telling their story.

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-25-2003 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The legacy of "Fallen Astronauts" just continues, and I must firstly thank those good folks who have said so many kind things about what was a true labour of love these past five years. Those who have read the book may care to know that I have recently been in the Texas town of Quanah, hometown of Ed Givens. Quite a long way from Australia's shores, but a trip that was much anticipated and turned out to be a truly memorable experience.

The 3000 townspeople of Quanah really turned on some sort of celebration when I arrived, accompanied by good friend (and van driver) Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13 gals. We both gave talks at Quanah High School to hundreds of local kids, and to various groups within Quanah. One highlight was being privileged to take part in the dedication of the new Ed Givens Space Room in Quanah's A&P Depot Museum. Tom Stafford sent me a few words to read out, as he had opened the (now relocated) original Space Room back in 1977, and was a great friend of Ed Givens.

Earlier in the day I was introduced to two of Ed's children, Cathrine and Dianne, and it was lovely to meet them after all this time. We made a small pilgrimage out to the Quanah Memorial Cemetery where Ed, his brother, parents and antecedents are buried, and quietly paid our respects. It was a highly emotional day, and no more so than when I showed the girls three photos of Ed's funeral that a Quanah local had found in the newspaper's photo archives. In my book, Cathrine wrote that the one real sadness of her life was that, as just a four-year-old, her mother had not taken her to her father's funeral, presumably to spare her the sadness. Dianne, who was only a babe in arms when her father died, looked at the photos and said to her older sister, "I thought you said you never went to Dad's funeral?" When Cathrine confirmed this, Dianne pointed to one of my photos and said, "Well, sis, here you are, sitting in the second row of seats!" At this point Cathrine just broke down, and when she later made a short speech at the dediaction, she expressed her profound happiness at finding out through me that she had indeed been at her father's funeral. It's one small correction I'm happy to make in the book should it go to a second edition, and one of the reasons I love writing non-fiction - it is intensely satisfying when such moments occur. It provided a very poignant touch to what had already been a wonderful day spent celebrating the life of an extraordinary man whose dreams were cut short by a simple but fatal accident. I may only be a very small voice in the distant wilderness, but I am not going to rest until I get his name on the Astronaut Memorial Mirror. It broke my heart to see the tremendous love these girls had for a father they barely knew, and yet the board of the Astronaut Memorial Foundation vapidly dismisses any suggestion that he should be on there, with their pathetic "he was off duty" response. If they could know the hurt that this rejection has caused this beautiful family, they might change their minds. Ed Givens was not off-duty the day he died - not astronaut was ever off duty back then, and even now. He gave his life for NASA and his nation, and these people should be proud to recognise this, not slam the door in his family's face whenever the issue is raised.

One side story - Tom Stafford told me that he was actually supposed to have been at the same function as Ed that night, but had a prior appointment that precluded his attendance. "Do you know, I could have been in that car wih Ed that night," he told me. Quite obviously, this would have changed the circumstances and Ed probably wouldn't have crashed or died that night, but would NASA have placed Tom Stafford's name on the Astronaut memorial Mirror had they both been killed that night? Would NASA and the AMF have considered Tom, even though he had made two flights by then, an "off-duty stronaut" and declined to recognise his achievements? I don't think so.

But enough of the soapbox, even though it is heartfelt. I just wanted to say what a great privilege it was to be invited to Quanah, and to recognise a man about whom I knew so little just five years ago, and yet whose life is now enmeshed in my own in so many ways.

nasamad
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posted 12-06-2003 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well I've got my book and can heartliy agree with Walt Cunningham! It arrived at the same time as my second hand copy of "Apollo, The Race to the Moon" by Murray and Cox. And I chose to read Fallen Astronauts first!

It's a 5 star book from front to back.

Gilbert
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posted 12-10-2003 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received my copy of Fallen Astronauts last week and finished reading it last night. It is really hard to believe this book hasn't been done before now. The authors do a good job of enlightening us to the tragic events of 30+ years ago. Prior to reading the book I knew virtually nothing about some of the guys, other than their names. I think Fallen Astronauts is one of the best books to be published in our field in recent years.

ColinBurgess
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posted 12-10-2003 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for all the great comments, everyone. It took about five years to research and write "Fallen Astronauts" and it means a lot when your peers and fellow spaceflight enthusiasts feel it is time well spent.

I can still recall the devastation I felt when Ted Freeman died in the crash of his T-38; I was only 17 at the time and my interest in manned space flight had really developed quickly into a deep fascination with the subject that, despite several tragedies, has lasted and still endures. A few weeks before he died I'd received a handwritten letter from Freeman, which lent a person aspect to his loss. Same for C.C. Williams, who also sent me a nice handwritten letter (ah, those were the days!) And of course I received a letter from Charlie Bassett in which he spoke of the death of Ted Freeman but said we had to move on in our quest for knowledge despite the pain. Then he too was gone.

To me it was quite amazing to get to meet and know his daughter Faith, and to correspond even beyond the writing of the book with Ted's 82-year-old sister, Anne. Same goes for the other families; apart from a little well-known (but overcome) reticence on the part of Marilyn See, all of the families not only cooperated, but lent that support and trust so necessary for the completion of this book. They knew that it was being written as a tribute, and though some critics may miss the "warts and all" stuff, to me it stands as a personal testimony to some very remarkable adventurers. Had they not lost their lives in the blink of an eye, the names of those who went to the moon and even walked there would undoubtedly be quite different in the history books today.

rsynge
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posted 12-21-2003 05:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rsynge   Click Here to Email rsynge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just finished reading your excellent book - many congratulations on an excellent work that really did need to be written.

I was very interested to read your views on the possible causes of Gagarin's MIG accident.

At a recent show in Coventry, UK, Pavel Popovich gave a talk about his experiences of the Russian space programme and, at the end of it, I asked him for his personal view on the most likely cause of Gagarin's accident.

He told our group that he'd headed up the investigating panel post the accident and that their unofficial view was that, most likely, there had been a problem with the oxygen supply in the MIG which caused both Gagarin & his instructor to lose consciousness. He then felt that they had regained consciousness around 10,000 ft when the Mig was spinning to earth in cloud and had been trying to regain control until the last second, which accounted for them not ejecting.

He also said that there had never been any official Russian government investigation into the accident, which does seem strange bearing in mind the world fame of Gagarin at that time.

I guess we'll never really know for certain what happened and there will always remain an element of mystery surrounding the accident.

Anyhow, many thanks again for writing such an interesting book.

ColinBurgess
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posted 12-21-2003 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bert Vis is the guy most responsible for the cosmonaut biographies in that chapter - all I did was write a prelude and carry out a little light editing. So I bow to him on this one. Interesting to read what Popovich had to say about the crash, but it doesn't seem we'll ever know the actual cause. Bert would have based his findings on interviews and private conversations with cosmonauts and others related to the space program, and I'm sure he's also discussed the subject off-record with Popovich, whom he has met many times in the past decade or so. I value his contribution to the book, and also his friendship. I knew I didn't have a hope in Hades myself of sourcing the material and people I knew Bert could, so it was really good to have his gracious input into the book.

I'm currently writing another book on several spaceflight pioneers together with a new co-author, and all will be revealed around the end of next year. Nothing startling, mind you, but it's a project near and dear to both our hearts, and it's coming along really well. Sorry to have to be so mysterious, but that's just an author being protective of an idea. However it will contain a lot of astronaut biographical material.

Many thanks for your kind and generous comments; when you spend five years of your life on a project like "Fallen Astronauts," it is genuinely nice to read such unsolicited comments, and to know that the work is not only justified, but appreciated.

bruce
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posted 12-27-2003 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received a signed copy for Christmas. I took it with me to the mountians for our annual family Christmas get together. Cold weather aside, I hardly wanted to leave my toasty cabin! This book fills in so many gaps in an otherwise "space book" saturated marketplace.

The importance and uniqueness of this book can hardly be expressed by me in this post. It is simply a "must have" for anyone even remotely interested in the beginnings of manned space flight. I am grateful to Colin, his collaborators, and probably most of all to the families of the fallen whose personal recollections serve to keep their names and their dreams alive for all time.

eurospace
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posted 01-11-2004 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just to add my respects for a very decent and well-written book about people I knew almost nothing but the names ('cause I was too young when they died).

Colin Burgess and his co-authors achieve to create a colorful portrait of each of the deceased astronauts, sometimes so lively one could imagine to stand next to them. A very worthy tribute to some fine pioneers who were just unlucky to be at the wrong place at a wrong time and got killed. Perhaps a few more photos would have been nice (but also expensive to print, I know).

The only portrait I was a bit disappointed about was Grissom's - the stories told here were basically known to me. Do we have to presume that the Grissom family did not co-operate to the same extent that the families of the other "fallen heroes" did?

ColinBurgess
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posted 01-11-2004 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While co-author Kate Doolan wrote most of this Apollo 1 chapter, I did contact, or attempt to contact, various members of the Grissom family for her. Betty and Scott did respond to my messages, but I was pointed in certain controversial directions where I didn't feel the book should go. I don't think this would come as a huge surprise to those who have followed the fortunes of the family in recent years. While willing to help, and quite friendly, Scott did tend to guide me to previously-published material rather than offering new information.

Promising contacts with members of the White family (Ed's sister was very keen to assist)were continually stymied by a member of the family who took it upon himself to abort all of these leads, while insisting that any and all correspondence be directed through him. As with some other controversial projects in which he has been involved, this family member then reneged on all his promises of assistance and fell silent.

By comparison, Martha Chaffee was very supportive, but sadly offered nothing really new to Roger's story, believing it to have been fully covered in Don Chaffee's biography of his son.

Poor Kate really drew the short straw in taking on this chapter; the families of the other five men could not have been more helpful to me, or friendly and supportive, in putting together the stories of their loved one.

FFrench
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posted 06-18-2004 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's a photo I took recently of Gene Cernan with the book (he wrote the book's foreword).

Voodoo
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posted 07-07-2004 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Voodoo   Click Here to Email Voodoo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just received my hardcover copy of "Fallen Astronauts" in the mail from an online bookseller. It arrived without a dust jacket. Some of the discussions here suggest that that's how the book was issued, but could I just confirm that this is indeed correct?

At first glance, it looks fascinating, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. Thanks for your efforts.

ColinBurgess
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posted 07-07-2004 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sadly, that is the way the publishers printed the hardcover. They only produced 500 copies of the hardcover, and told me that in their experience these mostly went to libraries, universities and other such institutions who did not need a dustjacket. While I find that curious, I think they lost a lot of the general market by not producing a hardcover version with a dustjacket.

icarkie
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posted 08-28-2004 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for icarkie   Click Here to Email icarkie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As an early birthday present (two weeks time) the wife brought me you excellent book for me to read while we were on holiday. After reading all the posts on this site this book has been on my want list for a while.

Along with the other members on this site I just like to add what a fantastic book you Kate and Bert put together.

I was quite moved (which is not normally like me) in places in the book with the way these guys had tragically died (Bondarenko for one).

If the Russian were more open in the way of the dangers in working with pure oxygen who knows, things MIGHT have been different on Apollo 1.

The history books would tell a different story on the moon landings AND Skylab with the "What if " situation had these's guys had not been taken away from us and there loved ones.

I thought the book 'DEKE' was an hard act to beat but this book is well up there. I thank you Colin, Kate and Bert. Hope to get the chance to meet you at the Autographica.

Wehaveliftoff
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posted 08-28-2004 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Wehaveliftoff   Click Here to Email Wehaveliftoff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How odd and sad no dust cover jacket was issued for the hardback. Has anyone else run across a book space-related or not like this?

ColinBurgess
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posted 08-29-2004 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ian, your kind words mean a lot to me, and on behalf of Kate and Bert I really appreciate the sentiments expressed in your message.
quote:
Originally posted by Wehaveliftoff:
How odd and sad no dust cover jacket was issued for the hardback.
No one was more surprised than me to discover that the hardcover version had been published without a dustjacket. The publishers later told me that as the very limited run of hardcovers (500) was mostly intended for sale to libraries and other institutions they did not see a need for the added expense of a dustjacket, which they said would likely be discarded anyway. It's really sad, because the ones that did make the commercial market (and the bookshelves of members of collectSPACE) look very ordinary indeed without a dustjacket. It's also the reason why you'll never see this version in a regular bookstore. I know that I would be quite upset to buy a brand-new book without the beautiful cover that graces the paperback edition. My only hope is that sales will warrant a reprint of the hardcover edition, and if this happens I will insist on a dustjacket.

Aztecdoug
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posted 08-17-2005 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been late in picking up this book to read. I haven't even finished it and I can tell that it is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of human spaceflight.

The composition is engaging, and keeps you turning pages. The attention to detail is fantastic. Colin has his facts straight and his use of interviews is extensive and enlightening.

This is a superb work that anybody with an interest in space history must read. You will not, I repeat not be disappointed.

ColinBurgess
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posted 08-17-2005 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many thanks for the kind words. A lot of work and emotion went into the research and writing of this book, and it's always nice to hear that it is being read and appreciated.

MCroft04
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posted 08-19-2005 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, It was a great book! I now live in Houston and it's always sad when I drive highway 8 and go by the place where Ed Givens had the accident. Thanks to Walt Cunningham for signing the copy I purchased.

FFrench
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posted 08-23-2005 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I overheard Buzz Aldrin talking about this book with someone at the New Jersey UACC show.

dss65
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posted 02-18-2007 05:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dss65   Click Here to Email dss65     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After wanting one for some time, I received a copy of "Fallen Astronauts" for Christmas this past year. I recently finished reading the book, and I also would like to thank Colin and the other authors for bringing these people to life in a way that had not otherwise happened for me. As one would guess, it was often a sad book, but it was uplifting that these heroes were being honored by a dignified telling of their stories. One of the big surprises that the book held for me was learning that Roger Chaffee was a fraternity brother of mine. (Not from my school or my time in school, but a brother nonetheless.) If I had known this at any time in the past, I'm afraid I had forgotten it. It won't be forgotten now.

ColinBurgess
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posted 02-18-2007 06:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Don, many thanks for those nice comments; it's always nice to know that a lot of research and hard work has been appreciated. The same publishers, the University of Nebraska Press, have just released "Into That Silent Sea," which I co-wrote with Francis French, which will be the first in a series of ten books relating the history of space exploration, and many collectSPACE regulars are involved. Each book, while part of the series, has been written and designed to stand alone, but of course the hope is that people will anticipate and purchase each book as it comes out.

The publishers have recently mentioned that "Fallen Astronauts" (upon which the series cover designs have been based) may one day be re-released, but this time with a dust jacket (hooray!)

Anyway, thanks again, and best regards.

Modular182
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posted 11-26-2012 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Modular182     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Burgess, I just finished your "Fallen Astronauts" book and LOVED it! Thank you for memorializing those men with such a fine book. For anyone who hasn't read it yet I encourage you to get it and do so. I'd like to add a little information that you might be interested in:

Regarding the T-38 crash of See/Bassett:

In the picture you have in your book of the crash aftermath, it shows that the fifth column of windows from the left was damaged by the accident. If you go to this Google Maps Street View, you can see the side of the building... and the fifth column of vertical windows is obviously shorter than the other columns. (It's obvious that all of the vertical columns of windows were originally the same height.) Even 46-47 years after the accident there's still evidence of the accident.

Regarding the Ted Freeman Crash:

Using the pic provided in your book as well as other images of the accident I found online I was able to determine the exact area of the crash in Google Maps.

Thank you again Sir for such a great book! — Bryan

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-27-2012 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That book certainly remains very special to me as well, and I'm hoping one day to convince the publishers to produce an updated and expanded version, as a lot of information has come in subsequent to its release all those years ago, and certainly many new photographs. Interesting to see the Freeman crash site and that McDonnell building.

No matter how many years go by I cannot help but wonder what these guys might have done if they hadn't been so tragically lost to us. I am led to believe that prior to his death Ted Freeman was on the verge of being paired with Tom Stafford as the GT-9 backup crew, and this would make sense as Bassett and Freeman were great buddies dating back to their USAF Test Pilot School days and would have worked well together as a team. Had this happened, and not the subsequent T-38 accidents, it would have placed Stafford and Freeman on GT-12. As well, with very little apart from guesswork and knowing who worked well with whom to support my theory, I believe that a later Apollo landing crew might have been CDR Bassett, LMP Aldrin and CMP Freeman. But sadly we shall never know and it therefore remains as mere speculation.

Thank you for your kind words about the book, and of course a hearty welcome to collectSPACE!

GoesTo11
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posted 11-27-2012 05:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, in addition to joining the chorus of well-earned praise for Fallen Astronauts... might I suggest a proposal to the University of Nebraska Press to issue your "updated and expanded" edition under the Outward Odyssey banner? It could then be cross-promoted with the other volumes in the series. Just a thought...

ColinBurgess
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posted 11-28-2012 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The only concerning thing about that would be the fact it would take the series to 13 volumes. I'm not concerned about the voodoo connected with that number, but 12 is such a nice, round number. However I'll toss them the idea and see if they salute.

dom
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posted 11-28-2012 03:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, it could be termed a prequel. If it worked for George Lucas, then there is no reason why you can't add a "Volume 0" to the series

ColinBurgess
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posted 12-04-2012 02:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to those recent posters (Goes to 11, Dominic) who have supported a reissue of "Fallen Astronauts" as part of the Outward Odyssey series. I have a rather huge announcement to make later today, exclusive to all the great folks on collectSPACE.

dom
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posted 12-04-2012 02:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I hope it's the news we all want to hear!

robsouth
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posted 12-23-2012 10:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just finished reading my copy of "Fallen Astronauts." I do like this book a lot because it tells a side of the space story not often covered in great detail. I also like the fact that it tells how these tragic accidents affected those around the astronauts, especially the wives, children and parents. In the case of two parents it would have been even more devastating because they lost two sons in accidents.

The only thing that did wear thin was the way it was spread on thick for each of them that they were church going, family orientated men. I'm sure they were but this sugar coated image of them only painted one side to them.

Having said that I guess some consideration must be given to the fact that it's a book about men that have died but I did find the story told in Walt Cunningham's book, "The All-American Boys," page 119 of the hardback version, probably painted a truer picture of these highly competitive, military men.

I would definitely recommend this book, full of very human stories. By the way, most surprising fact in the book — Elliot See was once a cheerleader!!!

ColinBurgess
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posted 12-24-2012 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have to admit that "Fallen Astronauts" changed in many ways during my research and writing, and it never surprises me that it is often seen as being overly kind to these men, even though we all know and fully understand they were human beings with the usual foibles. So Rob, I completely understand what you're saying and I'm pleased that you enjoyed the book despite this. I know it's not a criticism.

From the outset, I didn't know if I would be able to make contact with the families of the deceased astronauts, or how they would react to my request for some often very personal details. So yes, in talking with chidren who never really got to know their father, or wives who still desperately miss their husband, the book developed in a certain direction and became more of a tribute to them than a tell-all about their lives. Certainly I was told things by family members and other people who knew them that could never appear in the book, but those people trusted me not to reveal these stories and I never have, or will.

I came to know better than most a handful of men who, had they not been killed in accidents, would today be hailed as being among our greatest spaceflight pioneers. Their deaths certainly changed such things as crew rotations, but I feel saddened that they never got to fly to the moon. They would have done an outstanding job, and I've never made any secret of the fact that Charlie Bassett, in particular, would have made an outstanding Apollo landing crew commander.

The research highlight, for me, was in locating Bill Hall, who was in the VW with Ed Givens the night he died, and totally rejected all allegations that Givens was either speeding or DUI. The greatest sadness is that even though Givens was in training for a lunar flight, had been involved in a simulated flight to the moon, and was on the support crew for the first two Apollo missions, he was never recognised as being worthy of placement - or honoured - on the Astronaut Memorial Mirror at the Cape by the Astronaut Memorial Foundation committee. That, I still believe, is a disgrace and a lingering sadness for his surviving family members.

On another note, Elliot See was indeed a cheerleader, Rob, and so too was another man who flew to the moon, Al Worden.

The book will likely be reissued by the Nebrsaska Press as part of an extension to the Outward Odyssey series so there will be some changes and additions made (and some corrections) so I'm looking forward to that possibility. It is a book that I look on with fondness and pride, knowing that these fine men have finally had their stories told.

robsouth
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posted 12-24-2012 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Colin, I would highly recommend this book, anyone that knows anything about the subject can tell that a lot of research has gone into it. The nature of the source for this research, i.e. family and friends, does dictate the contents to a great degree. If you knew nothing about the subject then you read a fascinating book about very brave men.

It did remind me of the old LIFE articles that depicted the astronauts in a very wholesome way.


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