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The Astronaut Wives Club

3.32  ·  Rating details ·  26,854 ratings  ·  3,883 reviews
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.

Annie Glenn, with her picture-pe
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Grand Central Publishing
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Kirsten Once you get older, it's not degrading :-)) Well, it depends on who says it. My friends and I love being called "girls," use "Girl's Night Out" a lot.…moreOnce you get older, it's not degrading :-)) Well, it depends on who says it. My friends and I love being called "girls," use "Girl's Night Out" a lot. If a man said it in a condescending or mean way, that's another story! :-)(less)

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 ·  26,854 ratings  ·  3,883 reviews

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Nick Stewart
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
And then this happened. And then this other thing happened. Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you about the time this happened. I should've had this book over for a cup of coffee and a chat. ...more
Sep 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is among the most artlessly written books I have read in ages, and easily ranks as the worst book I've read in 2013. It is glib and confusing and makes no effort to actually tell a story. It just recounts and recounts and recounts, but because there is an endless cast of characters and Koppel makes no effort to help you get to know at least a select few of the wives, it is almost impossible to care about any of the wives, even when their husbands die in enormous fiery explosions. Indeed, ha ...more
Lisa of Hopewell
Jun 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Gave up on this mess of a book--didn't finish it.
Chapter 1 reads like she watched the movie the "Right Stuff" and that's about it. It is written in that trendy, annoying new, "sassy"/hip/disrespectful tone that is starting to ruin non-fiction reading. Like aging Valley Girl does Master's thesis. Hope it gets better. The women themselves ARE interesting, just the style of writing that grates. Astro-everything is really wearing me down. The story itself IS interesting. But it's like Jr. High Schoo
Dana Stabenow
There is a great story to be told about the wives of our first astronauts. This isn't it.

This was my book's club's selection for this month, and we are as one in wondering where Koppel got her citations, because there are no foot- or endnotes, nor is there any bibliography. It reads like the Life magazine stories cribbed together with a few original quotations from the wives themselves, most of which are unattributed by name or source. The writing is exhaustingly repetitive and painfully ungramm
Jul 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
After seeing the episode of Tom Hanks' "From the Earth to the Moon" devoted to the astronaut's wives, I was very anxious to read this book. What a screaming disaster! It reads like it was written by a high school girl working on a book report. No character development, random anecdotes relating to nothing, no continuity and worst of all, made the wives sound like a bunch of mannequins. None of these women exist outside of their husbands and all are written as 1950s stereotypes - sexist to say th ...more
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it

The original Mercury 7 astronauts

When the U.S. space program went into high gear in 1959 the original Mercury 7 astronauts were a sensation. People wanted to know about them and their families - and their lives were avidly followed by the public. Life Magazine paid for exclusive access to the 'astrofamilies' and articles and photos were published to accompany each space flight.

In time, the wives formed the 'Astronauts Wives Club' - for friendship, advice, help, and support during stressful time
How to write a book about the space program that's far less compelling than the one Tom Wolfe wrote on the same subject, in five easy steps.

1) First, make sure to eliminate everything that's interesting about space, and the politics involved in exploring it. The space race was an insane endeavor. Astronauts faced death when they got in those capsules; some of them actually died. Americans became obsessed with nationalist astro-gazing, but in the background buzzed the constant (and not unsubstant
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I admit I knew basically nothing about the wives of the astronauts from the 1960s and early 1970s, so this book was educational. It's also an easy, pleasant enough read. The main problem with this book is the lack of, no pun intended, gravity. Stories are recited in quick succession with little or no insight in the social or physiological causes. It just doesn't seem very intelligent. There are certainly no words that a fifth grader wouldn't know and the sentence structures are very basic and re ...more
Penny McGill
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is either a poorly written book or a poorly edited book. Maybe both? I was very keen to read this book and was thrilled to think of the interview she must have been granted. Couldn't believe how fun it would be to learn about those years because I have always thought it must have been a wonderful time to live through. All of those amazing scientific discoveries and developments and constant excitement on news shows and in the newspaper, you can see how someone like Chris Hadfield would have ...more
Jan 11, 2022 rated it really liked it
Interesting (though perhaps a little long) story of what it was like to be married to an astronaut in the 1960's and '70. Painted as perfect families in the current press, especially Life magazine, Koppel takes us further inside these marriages, most of which eventually collapsed from the stress. Many of the astronauts maintained families in the Houston area while serially seeing other women during their long sessions of training on the Florida coast. Koppel does a great job of exposing the enor ...more
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I have longed for someone to write a book about the wives of the first astronauts. While Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer have told rich, descriptive tales of the space program, this book, by comparison, is a disappointing and shallow treatment of the wives' experiences -- told in an uneven and disjointed way.

The good news is that it's a fast read because there is no substantive depth to any of the stories, and you can feed on some trivia munchies along the way. (I didn't know that John Glenn had th
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
The minute I heard Lily Koppel give an interview about this book on NPR I added my name to the queue for it at the library. I don't even think the book had actually been released yet; that's how excited I was to get my hands on this book. Despite the fact that the idea of space travel terrifies me beyond all reason, I'm fascinated by astronauts and the entire cultural milieu surrounding the space race of the 1960s. Plus I'm all for any "rah-rah feminism, let's tell the unheard story of the women ...more
JanB(on vacation till October)
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This was a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the space program of the 60’s, told from the perspective of the “astrowives”, the women behind the men. I was a child in the 60’s, too young to realize the astronauts were such rock stars. The celebrity status of the Mercury Seven included the wives, and their every move was recorded by the ever-present media. They were invited to the White House, featured on the cover of Life magazine, numerous articles were written about them, and they were give ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
About time and then some that this story was written! As one of the wives put it, "If you think going to the moon is tough, try staying home". The book includes the stories of the 8 astonauts who died during the space race. A very good read. ...more
Katy Compton
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
I was disappointed with this book, what could have been an awesome story about courageous women was merely eh. The author reports what happened, but never goes further. Even when talking about large missions she really just scratches the surface of the stories. At some points it's like she's just dumping info onto the page. There were paragraphs with random sentences that had nothing to do with the paragraph - kind of an 'oh, by the way...' Then not touched on again. It became frustrating that s ...more
The Astronaut Wives Club is a fast and entertaining look at the lives of the wives of the first American astronauts.

The Mercury Seven who included the wife of John Glenn the first man to orbit Earth.
The Gemini Nine that included the wife of Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the Moon.
The Apollo Fourteen which included the wife of Buzz Aldrin the second man on the Moon.

Its crazy to read about how famous these families were in the 1960's. These astronauts were treated like rock stars and th
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was growing up during the time of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flights. It was a time of women in shirtwaist dresses, pearls, hats and gloves. A small box called a television with a picture in black and white -- we thought we'd hit the big time when "color" came in. Women stayed home and took care of the kids and the men went out to work. In this case -- the men went to the stars and back. The first astronauts were all military. The wives were used to their husbands being away from home for ...more
The Library Lady
Sep 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-biography
Here we go again with another great story turned into superficial, badly written fluff that insults its subjects. There were points where the writing was SO bad I was ready to put the book down,but kept on hoping for better things that never materialized.

One of the astronaut's wives talks about Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, saying she threw it across the room because she was so irked by it. I am not sure WHAT in it bugged her, because Tom Wolfe may have made the wives secondary characters, but th
Clif Hostetler
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
This book provides a history of the early days of the American manned space program told from the perspective of the wives of the astronauts. This is a span of time beginning with Project Mercury in 1959, through Project Gemini, and ending in 1972 with the closing of the Apollo program. This era occurred during my younger years spanning between my high school years to my early professional work career. I found it interesting to recall my memory of that era with the retelling of it in this book t ...more
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I remember: Spring 1961, my senior year of high school, never before had a radio broadcast been piped into every classroom of Champaign High School, our entire English class listened attentively as Alan Shepard was catapulted into space and arced back to earth. The 15-minute suborbital flight made Shepard America's first Astronaut hero.

Through the 1960s and '70s NASA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs grabbed the attention of the public. We held our breathe for the fate of Gus Grissom when t
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: space, biography
This book will disappoint most readers. We have been raised to expect a book to be organized, either in chronology or by subject. The book jumps around, crosses the objective gates, and follows few rules of logic.

Astronaut Wives Club starts off in an introductory manner, letting the reader know about the original Mercury astronauts. The reader would then expect to meet the wives as their husbands' careers evolve. Such is not the case.

Initially the author builds up to reveal the "founding" of the
Crystal Starr Light
The little girl who dreamed of going into space squees.

Bullet Review:


What I hated: how short it was and how much it skipped over. I realize that this is probably from interviews done many years after the events, but I felt many missions (such as the infamous Apollo 13) were glosses over.

What I loved: everything else! It's all about these incredible diverse women trying to pretend to be the perfect 50's housewife under the scrutiny of the media. Real Housewives? Eat your heart
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Astronaut Wives Club

I decided to read this book because of the television series that is going to be starting soon and I wanted to see what it might be about. This was an okay book and it was a good story but it seemed to jump around alot. It was hard to keep up with all the wives as it jumped from one to another. I did like it though.
Rose Ann
What a disappointing mess. I so looked forward to this book because I love love love the Space Program. But I have to say I agree with other reviewers here at Goodreads who also rated it one-star. Poorly written, poorly done. And full of ludicrous inaccuracies that should have been caught and corrected. Doesn't Hachette have copy editors anymore?

For instance, on page 20 she refers to Senator (sic) Richard Nixon and the Kitchen Debate with Krushchev. Excuse me? Nixon was at the time serving his 2
Jun 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Although the author says that she spoke to some of the Astronauts Wives Club, I never got that impression from reading this book. I felt the extent of her research was reading Life magazines and watching Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, and Charlie Wilson's War. I was never engaged with any of the wives. At. Any. Time. I never cared or felt anything for any of them (other than the one that committed suicide - I don't remember her name though so you can take it for what it's worth).

The book organizati
Miriam Murcutt
Aug 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
This book is not so much rocket as dud squib. Not surprisingly, therefore, it never really takes off. Koppel has some interesting material to work with: a group of ordinary women propelled from obscurity to super stardom on the backs of their often-testy astronaut husbands. The book tries to include something from the lives of the wives of all of the astronauts from the Mercury Seven Program, which started in 1958, through the Gemini and Apollo Programs, wh
Aug 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Being a retired military spouse, I could very much relate to some of the situations these ladies found themselves in...moving, spouse being deployed, being a married, but "single" parent most of the time, sending your spouse into harms way (for me, a war), worrying about how those issues will impact your kids, and forming strong, bonded relationships with the other spouses living that life with you.
Even in this day and age, we are told to help our spouse focus on the mission & keep things runnin
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
When I first heard of this book and saw all of the pre-publication hype it was getting, I dismissed it as fluffy chick-lit (not that there's anything wrong with that; it's just not my thing.) But then I read a blurb by Douglas Brinkley - a well-respected serious author of historical non-fiction so I gave it a shot. How I wanted to love this book. I'm a big space nerd and have read lots about the astronauts. So this seemed like a natural fit: the familiar story but told from the other side. And t ...more
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Interesting overview but very poorly written (as another reviewer wrote, "reads like a 10th grade book report"). The author should have also stuck to the original Mercury 7 wives taking their lives into the present and truly do them justice. The others could have been covered in subsequent books. Instead the author clearly bit off more then she could chew (and put in under 300 pages)and did no one justice.

I also have serious doubts about it's accuracy after reading about "SENATOR" Richard Nixon
Nicholas Sparks
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Out in paperback for the summer, it spotlights the lives of the first American astronauts and their families as told from the perspective of the wives themselves.
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Lily Koppel is the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of The Astronaut Wives Club (Now an ABC Television Series Premiering June 18th at 8|7c) and The Red Leather Diary. "[An] entertaining and quirky throwback...This is truly a great snapshot of the times," says Publisher's Weekly of The Astronaut Wives Club. She has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, ...more

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“Royal Young’s memoir is about a dreamer, set in the post- apocalyptic celebrity world of today, and Young, who grew up in New York — like Holden Caulfield if he wanted to be famous — is looking for adventure and action and becomes entangled in all sorts of romantic and sordid relationships. He points out the perplexing tragedy (and good fortune, I think) of what it means to be talented and rebellious, but not a celebrity.” 4 likes
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