Neil Armstrong by Jay Barbree

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight

I enjoyed Barbree’s “Moon Shot“, so I thought this would be a good biography of Neil Armstrong. With Barbree’s experience of covering the space program for NBC, and his friendship with Armstrong, I had high hopes for “A Life in Flight.” Unfortunately, this book is deeply disappointing. The writing was poor- a third grade level at best. It failed Armstrong as it mostly covered his work as a test pilot and astronaut, and even then didn’t cover much detail. It covers no new ground. The last section had little to do with Armstrong other than as an interest Armstrong championed. I get the feeling this book was rushed out to take advantage of Armstrong’s recent passing. (August 25, 2012)

384 pages

Excerpts From My Kindle

“Today, the dreams of the best sons of mankind have come true. The assault on space has begun.” – location 452-453

Neil Armstrong would never admit it to a living soul, but the gods were truly welcoming him to their beautiful home. – location 1676-1677

“This is off the record,” I told Neil. “As you know Deke and our man Harold Williams are fishing buddies, and he told Harold straight out he wanted you first, and if you had to abort he knew Conrad could handle the job on Apollo 12, or if not Conrad, Jim Lovell could get it done on 13.” Neil gave me a little smile that said maybe yes or maybe no, and I stood there admiring the raw fairness of this man. I told him sincerely, “Neil you are too good. You are the most considerate person I’ve ever met, and you may not think you’re special but everybody else does. And dammit,” I raised my voice, “if you ever need me to run interference for you just let me know.” Neil nodded and gave me the greatest compliment of my life. “I’d like you as my blocking back anytime,” he smiled. – location 2637-2643

Then, once the crew was settled for reentry, Jim Lovell was back. He told them, “This is your friendly backup commander. Have a good trip, and please remember to come in BEF.” BEF meant blunt-end-forward. – location 4151-4153

In the course of his fifty-six-year career with NBC News, Jay Barbree received an Emmy for his coverage of Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the moon, broke the news of the cause of the space shuttle Challenger accident, and continues to cover space for NBC TV and Barbree was also the lead writer for the New York Times bestseller Moon Shot with astronauts Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, and Neil Armstrong. – location 5623-5626

Neil Armstrong 

  • (1947-1955) Aviation Midshipman Program
  • (1950) flight training
  • (1951) Korean War pilot
  • (1955-1962) test pilot at Edwards
  • (1957) birth of first child
  • (1959) birth of second child
  • (1961-1962) applies to become astronaut
  • (1962) accepted as astronaut
  • (1963) birth of third child
  • (1964) house fire, children rescued
  • (1966) Gemini 8 mission
  • (1967) visits LBJ at White House, learns of Apollo 1 fire
  • (1969) on Apollo 11 flight
  • (1969) on the Eagle, landing
  • (1969) on the moon
  • (1969) return from the moon
  • (1971) retires, buys a farm, teaches aeronautics
  • (1986) on commission to investigate the Challenger accident
  • (1994) divorce from Janet
  • (1994) marries Carol Knight
  • (2012) death following heart bypass surgery

location 5117-5135


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