The Career of Neil Armstrong

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, our Review of the Week explores Neil Armstrong's life and legacy

Neil Armstrong : a life of flight

Barbree, Jay. Thomas Dunne Books, 2014
362p index, 9781250040718 $27.99, 9781466836341

Author, journalist, and pilot Barbree (NBC News) not only won an Emmy for his coverage of Neil Armstrong’s lunar walk but also was numbered among his friends. Beginning with Armstrong’s time as a pilot in the Korean War and ending two months before his death, A Life of Flight focuses nearly exclusively on his career. Particular attention is paid to the period surrounding the moon landing and the astronaut’s influence on the US space program. Barbree paints his subject as enigmatic, quiet, friendly, and a consummate professional. Those looking to learn more about the man himself may be somewhat disappointed in the relatively few pages devoted to Armstrong’s personal life. The pages that are included, however, do help flesh out a man who is nearly entirely identified with a historic event. Particularly interesting is the effect of the death of his three-year-old daughter and his relationships with other astronaut contemporaries, such as John Glenn. This is an enjoyable read written in a conversational tone. Though it reveals little negative or controversial, the book provides a fascinating look at an American hero and a thrilling career with great care and insight.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.
B. L. Brudner, Curry College
Subject: Science & Technology – Astronautics & Astronomy
Choice Issue: Jan 2015