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Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  324 ratings  ·  40 reviews
He walked on the Moon. He flew six space missions in three different programs—more than any other human. He served with NASA for more than four decades. His peers called him the “astronaut’s astronaut.”
          Enthusiasts of space exploration have long waited for John Young to tell the story of his two Gemini flights, his two Apollo missions, the first-ever Space Shuttle
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 16th 2012 by University Press of Florida
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Gary Schroeder
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
So this is the one we've all been waiting for. Of all of the astronaut autobiographies, John Young's has been one of the most eagerly anticipated. John Young, the astronaut's astronaut. He's seen more and done more than any other astronaut in American history. No other astronaut can (or will ever be able to) lay claim to his achievements: flew on the first manned Gemini mission with the legendary Gus Grissom, commanded a later Gemini flight, flew to the moon on Apollo 10, the dress rehearsal for ...more
Heather Domin
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've been waiting for this one for a long time now, and it was worth the wait. It's very comprehensive, covering a lot more than "I was born here, I went to school here", etc -- the heaviest focus is on the Shuttle era, including a lot of testimony and technical info from the Challenger and Columbia disasters. If you're not interested in that, you may find the second half of the book slow, or even padded; it's more of a space history book than an autobiography. For me, though, it filled in knowl ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was fun to read about the most accomplished astronaut in the history of manned space flight. It becomes very obvious early on that John Young is probably one of the smartest men alive, and probably the most earnest, devout supporter of the space program, in addition to being seriously concerned about the future of humanity. All throughout the book, as he's telling you about the amazing things he's experienced and accomplished, there are sentences and paragraphs explaining how he has new ideas ...more
Jon Cotton
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Young walked on the moon. He drove the grand prix with the rover. Amazing stuff. Yet, and this surprises me, I enjoyed the detail into the shuttle program the most. It's hard to comprehend how any organization could design and implement a space program when nothing of the sort has been done before. Hard to imagine the logistics of coordinating hundreds of thousands of people. Yet NASA nailed it with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. The Shuttle program lost the momentum and struggled.

I'm a worker
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
John Young was undoubtedly the most experienced astronaut of NASA’s early era, active from the days of Gemini, through Apollo and the Space Shuttle. He walked on the Moon, commanded the first test flight of the Space Shuttle and didn’t retire from NASA until he was seventy-four. He was legendary for his soft-spoken demeanour, coolness under pressure and later in his career, for not being afraid to speak truth to power on issues of mission risk.

His memoir is laid out in a straightforward chronolo
Lee W
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having flown the first Gemini mission, walked on the moon (and travelled there twice) and flown the first Space Shuttle mission, John Young is quite rightly regarded as the most experienced of all the astronaut pioneers. This book clearly reflects that.

What is even more impressive, however, is what a deeply thoughtful, insightful and intelligent man he was.
This is a very entertaining, informative and well written account of those three very different space adventures, and much more.

I was particu
Kathy Piselli
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, science
Soon as I read Young's obituary I knew I wanted to read his book for his account of his growing up. The space stuff was good, to be sure - scary EVAs, Apollo 13, the Russian laser aimed at Challenger, and most importantly his caution about safety standards when pieces of NASA's work is privatized. But even better was his encapsulated story of growing up in depression-era Cartersville, Ga., and other points south - Orlando and Signal Mt, TN - up to his entry into that North Avenue Trade School in ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable read from one of the early astronauts. A great perspective on Young's career in spaceflight, and afterwards, when he wrote a *LOT* of memos about crew safety and other items during the Shuttle era. That section could be a little dry, but it gave a good perspective on what the issues were that plagued NASA during those years.

I would have liked a bit more personal reflection on what it all meant to Young, how these experiences changed him, or didn't. But that can be an issue wit
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
After Hansen's Armstrong biography I might have set my expectations too high regarding Forever Young.

As far as I know, the creation process of this book was rather difficult one- and it shows. There's some (quite minor, but still) points where the book could have benefited from fact-checking and sometimes it was too technical. We don't really learn anything new about Young as a person - but at the same time, the book tells quite lot about him.
Matt Murray
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detailed, as you would expect

Detailed and 100% Young’s perspective. Aside from the depth of detail and plethora of information I haven’t got in any other title it is very insightful in to Young’s state of mind and how he approached everything. A bit of a slog to get through but well worth it.
Donald McEntee
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Gemini. Apollo. Space Shuttle. Lots of detail. Very readable. A peek into the sausage factory; some of it is Not Pretty. Written by a major participant. The last few chapters require a willingness to tough it out.
Ray Greenall
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book

I have read many books on the Apollo program, written by both the Astronauts and the people who worked on the program. This book will not let you down.
Karla Winick-Ford
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This man had an amazing career, and was both talented and kind- the kind of man you'd like to meet and know. Thank you for contributing to the literature- sharing your inspirational story was a gift. Thank you. ...more
Larry Smith
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: air-space
Very dry and well below expectations, considering the subject.
Steve Meyer
Book is very informative, but way to much detail.
Ethan Symon
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A pretty good read if your really into space. It is not a very personal memoir and quite technical especially the last quarter of the book.
Nov 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Excellent book about the life of a great man who led an extraordinary life. Low ratings for lots of technical/detailed parts that I had to skim...
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook, biography
Astronauts have to be ego maniacs or it just doesn't work. Young has an ego, but he also has quite the experience to back it up. This book is very much about his knowledge expertise and understanding of tasks the reader can only think of as sifi. ...more
Alan Livingston
Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-space
If you don’t know who John Young is, you should. There are not enough schools named after him, not enough statues or other tributes. Truly, he is worthy of being noted as one of the great explorers in human history, and he happens to have done it in the late 20th century, during many of our lifetimes. Like mine.

Too much? Christopher Columbus wasn’t “the first”, he went someplace he didn’t mean to anyway, he got there by accident, and he’s got his own holiday? Plenty of statues, too.

John Young wa
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Disappointing. Had a wonderful story to tell, but this is quite boring. Most disappointing, his first wife gets ONE sentence!
Mary Drover
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space, nonfiction
Ha, I started this in March, but I literally only read the Foreword (by Mike Collins, whom I also love!), and then who the heck knows what happened, but I didn’t pick it up again until I was having this massive and sudden longing for space. John Young flew on Gemini X, which saw astronauts in Earth’s orbit as they prepared for a bigger and bolder mission; on Apollo 10, which orbited the moon and had the lunar module descend (but not land) to make sure that everything was functional; and commande ...more
Sattik Deb
This book is written with inelegance to the point of distraction, which is surprising since James Hansen, the book's coauthor, normally puts forth highly enjoyable reading. It seems that every third sentence either ends with an unnecessary exclamation point or with the phrase, "let me tell you." The book largely struggles to find its voice. The first half, when discussing the Apollo missions, is a bit uneven and assumes the reader has knowledge about Apollo history as well as technical details o ...more
A very thorough accounting of being at NASA and working on the space program from the 60's through the 80's. What it lacks is a personal touch -- Young's life, his feelings, insights and impressions. A lot of the big events feel glossed over because the account is so impersonal.

I'm glad this book exists. It's important to document these times and events while the people who lived them are still there. But I guess I should accept that we only get one book like Carrying the Fire, and stop holding
A Hero's Career

John Young is probably not an astronaut you've heard of. However, it would be difficult to argue that a single person has contributed more to America's storied space program.

Engineer, test pilot, astronaut, and multiple other program positions over 42 years of NASA. The book tells John's beginnings in the Navy (on ships, not planes) and then his dream coming true becoming selected for flight school. Joining NASA as one of the Gemini 9, he was the first into space on a Gemini caps
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: into-the-void
One of the more interesting astronauts biographies. John Young flew the first manned Gemini mission (Gemini III with Gus Grissom)and the first Shuttle mission on Columbia; in between he flew Gemini X, Apollo 10 and Apollo 15, and flying Columbia again for his sixth and final flight. His unique 40 year NASA career also saw him as head of the Astronaut Office and as a consummate Engineer gives critical insights into the Challenger and Columbia disasters. We don't see much of the private man, but a ...more
Alan Bickerstaff
John Young was famous for his "Youngrams"", technical memos which he wrote in copious quantities over the years. It shows in this book as the content is very detailed and precise. It's a serious book with probably a little too much detail for anyone not seriously interested in the subject. It's taken me about two months to read this, mostly due to lack of time on my part, and partly due to the time needed to properly absorb the detail. The book has been a long time coming as JY has a very big st ...more
Steve Walker
In 1962 John W. Young, a Naval Aviator, was selected to the second group of NASA astronauts. Young's career at NASA is one of the most storied and he talks about it in 'Forever Young'. This is an excellent book with interesting details about the challenges NASA faced flying to the moon and the atmosphere of competition for crew selection among the astronauts. Anyone interested in the space program needs to read this book. ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoy space related books and this one was good, but at times, it did drag for me. I really was interested in all of his experiences during the Shuttle era. He does a good job explaining the bureaucracy that NASA had become during the Space Shuttle era. This was the first book I have read on the Shuttle era and I shared the frustration that the author felt when his ideas weren't adopted by management. ...more
Paul Kratochwill
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall, this was a well written autobiography. John Young is the only astronaut to have flow four for of the five spacecraft built by the United States (Gemini, Apollo Command Module, Apollo Lunar Module and the Space Shuttle), but he is not well known outside of space geeks. His insights into NASA management are worth the price of this book.
Stefan Poth
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reading this book is like listening to a rambling story told by an 80+ year old man. Oh wait, that's exactly what it is. However, this does not detract from learning about the astronaut and the US space program from its infancy through today, ...more
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