Saturday 4 August 2018

Magnificent Desolation by Buzz Aldrin. Book review

I often look up to the moon and think, wow, men have been up there and walked on it. I remember being amazed in 1969 when we saw pictures of 'lift off', at 9.32 am the five large Saturn V engines ignited. Buzz Aldrin describes the atmosphere as the three of them waited in anticipation of their journey to the moon.
'Gasses rushed out of the engine nozzles as they built up thrust, when they reached full power the gantry latches released and the rocket was free to soar'. Words taken from the first chapter, 'A journey for all mankind'. I like that, 'free to soar'. Wow, yes, we are all free to soar if we grasp opportunities when they come our way.

Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon. The first part of the book describes the events leading up to the launch, what they did when they landed, how they felt, their routine of checks, gathering samples and data, the long three day journey back to earth, and landing in the ocean.

The rest of the book details Aldrin's struggles with depression and alcoholism. Being part of the first moon landing had a profound effect on him, he was for a while floundering in a fog, not sure what direction he was going to go in next after his epic journey. He found various jobs within the US Air Force and NASA. He became famous obviously, but the tag of being the 'second' man on the moon took it's toll. Not quite the first, like he was always following in Armstrong's footprints. His life spiraled out of control when he no longer had any more goals to achieve.

Aldrin has been married three times and he has three children with his first wife. Reading this book has prompted me to find out more about him on Wikipedia, and it seems he is is the process of divorcing his third wife. I often go leaping ahead because I want to find out what happens next.

A complex character with an interesting and colourful life. Following the moon landing he has worked tirelessly towards making space travel accessible to all. Whether this will happen remains to be seen. The book is an easy read, great if you have an interest in space expeditions, from a man who has been there and done it.

Customer reviews from those who have read the book.

Buzz Aldrin's web page.

Happy reading, I'm onto my next book now. Happy weekend. ilona


  1. can i suggest something, take a look at the thing they went to the moon in, (google it) and see if you still believe it.

    1. I've never believed it. In spite of all the hype.
      There are so many unanswered questions about the 'landing' - there is obviously a cover up.
      If mankind could accomplish such a great achievement as putting men on the moon, why did it all end there ? you would have thought scientists would have moved onwards and 'upwards' excuse the pun.
      At the time there was the 'space race' the superpowers busting a gut to be the first to get men on the moon, so this was an elaborate fabrication to make the great US of A the first.

  2. I go to a few SciFi Conventions and they often have real scientists etc. as speakers and one year Buzz Aldrin was there. About 2,000 people turned up for his talk and he was very interesting!

  3. Hi Ilona. You would love the space centre in Leicester. It is amazing and all the astronauts are mentioned and how they lived in space. There are replicas of space ships too. It's £11 for concessions but that let's you in for a whole year.
    My cat used to be sick sometimes in the house. Not a pretty sight. Still a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do!!!


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