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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys
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Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  935 ratings  ·  80 reviews

The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events—technical and spiritual—of our lifetime.

In this remarkable book, Michael Collins conveys, in a very personal way, the

Hardcover, 478 pages
Published January 28th 1974 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1974)
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Jan 27, 2015 ^ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every school library in Britain ought to possess a copy of this book.
Recommended to ^ by: Paul Harris

Here is the book to convince every fourteen year old that a sound practical knowledge of the language of maths and engineering is both enormously exciting and career liberating. How very different our world would be today if we employed many more research engineers (in which I include test pilots turned astronauts) than self-obsessed bankers!

This is a book to read and re-read. This is a book I cherish.

This is not merely a book on how Man realised his dream of landing on our Moon. Instead
Collins notes early on in this book that he chose to eschew the services of a ghostwriter, apologizing that the prose will not be as polished as a result. It was a wise choice.

Collins' voice is friendly and straightforward, eminently likeable. He has little interest in delving into deep psychological analysis or talking much at all about his personal life, choosing instead to focus on his path, and NASA's, to the moon. Self-deprecating humor and a profound appreciation for the contributions of t
Out of the several NASA-related books I've read, this was my favorite. It was written in 1974, so the subject matter of space flight was a lot fresher on Collins's mind compared to a lot of NASA biographies that were written in the 2000s. I think that gives the book a more lively feel than other biographies, since the Apollo program had just wound down and he could still recall things vividly. And Collins wrote it without a ghostwriter, which is pretty impressive since his writing is very good. ...more
An educational, inspiring read.

Michael Collins never set out to be an Astronaut, or make history, but he did and he did it with determination, humor and a Rocket named Apollo XI.

This book was written when everything we know about Space today, wasn't known then. There was no ISS, there was no high tech laptops and colorful video cameras. Mobile phones today have more advancements than Space did in those times. Yet they managed to send Astronauts to the moon, more than once. Everything back then w
Scott Foshee
If You Read Just One Book By An Astronaut, Make It This One

I am a space buff and have read many good accounts of the space program, including Andrew Chaikin’s amazing “A Man on the Moon,” which should be required reading for everyone interested in these genera. As for books written by astronauts, “Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys” by Michael Collins is probably the best I have read along with Jim Lovell’s “Lost Moon,” aka “Apollo 13.” An important point to make right off the bat is tha
Paul Harris
Simply magnificent! As I've spent the last few days tearing through this engrossing book, I've been mindful of how I might be able to review it once I'd reached its end. Now that I have done so I find that I don't really know quite how to express what it is about Michael Collins' writing that moved me so much - except that I know this is most definitely one of the best memoirs I've ever read. It is truly a one-off, as the events it describes are so unique (most obviously the historic Apollo 11 m ...more
Duncan Cameron
Compelling account of the heady cold war space race days. Michael Collins is one of the superdudes among amazing top test pilots.
"The third man" of the first lunar landing, and Gemini veteran.
We're talking about a living legend.

An astronaut's journey is exactly that. A journey from almost the start of space exploration to the ultimate beginning of Moon exploration and on.

What a story, and how well told, this has to be in the top 5 astrotales ever.

The only reason I never gave it 5 stars was his p
I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did. I read the dust jacket at Half Price Books and thought I'd give it a try. Like most people of my generation, I know little about the space program of the 60s. Collins' style (and especially his wonderful sense of humor) kept me hooked from the first page to the last. The fact that we even got into space, let alone traveled to the moon. landed on it, and walked around, is simply amazing after having read what was required to accomplish this ...more
This book brought back so many memories of growing up as a teenager in the 1960's and vicariously experiencing the adventures of the astronauts on TV. It brought back the excitement of watching the lift-off of huge rockets with little capsules on top, with the astronauts riding off into space and the fire and explosion beneath them. And it brought back that special summer evening when the family sat glued to the TV to see Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon and hear his now famous first wor ...more
Michael Collins is the best writer of all the astronauts. His memoir is full of delicious anecdotes about the process of becoming an astronaut and about the office politics and weird public relations efforts involved. His description of what it's like to be alone behind the Moon, isolated from not only the Sun but from all humankind including the LM crew who were necessarily on the front side, is thoughtful and inspiring. Carrying the Fire has made a contribution to vicarious human experience th ...more
This is among my favorite space program biographies to date. Michael Collins, often thought of as the "third" astonaut on Apollo 11, recounts his experiences as a test pilot, a Gemnini astronaut and as the Command Module Pilot on Apollo 11. His observations shed light on the inner-worings of NASA during the 1960's, and he shares uncensored thoughts about his astronaut colleagues. While this book might make the average reader's head hurt, it's a great piece for a space buff who already knows a li ...more
Andrew Smith
This is such a fantastic book. Not only does Collins tell it like it is (or rather was), he writes beautifully and is such a personable narrator that I wished the thing could be twice as long as it is.
Bill Hayes
Great book from one of the astronauts who went to the moon. Enough technical detail to give a good understanding of the science and enough human interest to keep it moving along.
Michael Collins has a fantastic story to tell. He is a fine writer - first class, actually - and a wise and insightful human being. Enough said.
Matt Jarvis
I can't rate this book highly enough, it's wonderful. :)
Dec 30, 2014 Mkfs rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: space buffs, problem solvers, and the solitary
Of the three crewmen for Apollo 11, which is likely to have the most interesting story? The mission commander, first man to set foot on the moon and subsequently a household name? The co-pilot of the lunar module, cheated of glory by being only the second man to walk on the moon? Or the command module pilot, alone in orbit around the moon while the landing progressed, never setting foot on its surface?

Charles Lindbergh believes the latter, and I am inclined to agree with him.

Carrying the Fire is
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Throw away those trashy celebrity 'memoirs' of nobodies who were famous for being 'celebrities'. Great autobiography from Michael Collins - a must read for those interested in the early space exploration era or who want to know what it takes to achieve the truly remarkable and worthwhile.

The right stuff: astronaut autobiographies from Glenn to Hadfield

An enduring image of an ‘astronaut’ was created for the public by NASA, Time magazine, and Tom Woolf’s The Right Stuff. These caricatures of the
Nothing could be better than a first-person account. Collins' prose makes it seem almost like a conversation. I found the early chapters to be slow, but the book is better with them than without.

I started the book over six months ago, but completed the final two thirds of it in just a few weeks.


" This elevator ride, this first vertical nudge, has marked the beginning of Apollo 11, for we cannot touch the earth any longer. I am treated to one more view, however, one last bit of schizoph
I have been fortunate enough to have friends that do or have done some interesting things. We get together occasionally and share stories over food and drink, crack jokes, wonder about the future and remember the past. Reading Carrying the Fire is a similar experience. I feel as though I know Michael Collins the person complete with his gripes as well as his delights. Through this book I get to see the space program and the astronauts from an insider's frank yet polite point of view. Mr. Collins ...more
Peter Kobryn
A thorough and illuminating book written by one of the astronauts who piloted the first manned landing on the Moon – Apollo 11 in July 1969.

Collins is often viewed as the third man of the trio as it was his responsibility to remain in orbit around the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the surface and stepped out. This book does a very good job of proving just how much effort and sacrifice Collins put into his career as an astronaut to even get near the moon landings.

This book is self w
This took me a long while to read, and I'm a little ashamed of that because it's a great book. And yet, taking so long (seven months!) to read it was a wise choice. It's heavy on the technical space stuff—which, frankly, I loved, being the space buff that I am— so taking a break every once in a while was useful. It's also the kind of book that tells such a fantastical story, that stopping to savor and digest it made it better. When I wasn't reading, I was mulling over the story, dreaming about i ...more
Steve Van Slyke
Mar 06, 2010 Steve Van Slyke rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the Apollo Era
Shelves: space
This is the 18th book that I've read about space exploration and the 5th astronaut biography or autobiography. What I like about this one is Collins' honesty and openness. For example he talks about getting sick or nearly so on the Zero-G KC135 aircraft, AKA the “Vomit Comet.” And in another instance he shares his nearly debilitating (at times) claustrophobia while sealed in his Apollo pressure suit. (He did not apparently have the same problem in his Gemini suit.)

I also enjoyed the occasions wh
Possibly the ultimate astronaut autobiography. Michael Collins goes into an insane amount of detail about his two space missions, Gemini 10 and Apollo 11, and everything in-between - it feels like nothing is left out, and yet it's all perfectly readable, without getting bogged down in technical jargon. Collins also has a great writing voice that makes his character really come through. Anyone with the slightest interest in space travel must read this book.
This is a great book. If your attention wanders during the first fifty pages, do not give up. Collins went to the moon, okay? He knows what's up. So stick with him.

His account of the Gemini 10 flight is some of the most exciting writing I've ever read. Apollo 11 was also awesome, but lacked some of the sparkling wonder of Gemini.

Again, a great book. Loved it. Really. Read it!
My friend recommended this book to me and it delivered.
Collins starts off slow, describing his work and life leading up to NASA. But the book builds from there, getting more and more interesting with each turn of the page. It climaxes with the Apollo 11 trip to the moon, then wraps things up nicely.
Collins proved to be an excellent story teller. This book comes through as very sincere, in part because it was all written by Collins himself. He made it feel as if I were there with him and John You
Carol Bartold
This astronaut is a decent writer and he knows how to spin a good story, even when immersed in technical topics. Michael Collins is often referred to as "the forgotten astronaut" of the Apollo 11 mission because he piloted the command module in orbit around the moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon's surface. Spoiler alert - it's a misconception to think of Collins as "forgotten."

Anyone who grew up in the 1960s and witnessed the Mercury, Gemini and A
One of the better books I've read by an astronaut. Honest. Open. Not hiding too much. And makes the technical details of spaceflight accessible. Tons of interesting anecdotes and philosophies as well.
Lenka Minarikova
One of the best books about the Apollo era. Mike has a perfect sense of humour combined with deep thoughts and marvellously understandable explanations of how things work in the outer space.
Peter Jana
The bad thing about preparing for a project is setting aside a lot of things that you want to read. The good thing about it is reading interesting things that you would never otherwise think of reading. This book definitely falls in the latter category. For students: Consider the forward by Charles Lindburg and the last chapter where Collins ruminates about what happened after the moon landing. Question: What do you do after the frontier has been explored? What happens to the frontier and what h ...more
For what this book is ("An Astronaut's Journeys") I thought it was fantastic. It was published the year I was born and five years after his trip to the moon. Having grown up my entire life with man-on-the-moon as fact, as a basic tenent of my reality, I found this book fascinating. Reaching the moon was far from an entitlement of the human race, it was loads of hard work (some of that tedious and boring to even those doing it), dedication, guts, and well, miracle. Michael Collins did a great job ...more
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Michael Collins is a former American astronaut and test pilot. Selected as part of the third group of fourteen astronauts in 1963, he flew in space twice. His first spaceflight was Gemini 10, in which he and command pilot John Young performed two rendezvous with
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