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Hardcover Countdown: An Autobiography Book

ISBN: 0688079296

ISBN13: 9780688079291

Countdown: An Autobiography

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

By Frank Borman with Robert J. Serling. An Autobiography. ISBN 0-688-07929-6. From the back flap: "With the help of Robert J. Serling, Frank Borman (American astronaut) has written a full-blown,... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Interesting Story By a Great Leader

An interesting tale from beginning to end. This is a frank account of Mr. Borman's life in and out of the astronaut business and beyond. About half of the book is Borman's life before and during his tenure in the space program, the rest is his experience with Eastern Airlines which is very interesting. The tale of how the unions destroyed one of the largest U.S. air carriers is sad but perhaps the perspective of Borman is a little bit skewed. This book however is still a good read.

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Borman's "Countdown" tells the riveting tale of his boyhood, his Air Force days, his immense contributions to the space program, and his airline career. His participation in the Apollo 1 fire investigation and subsequent Senate testimony were instrumental in getting the moon program back on track, for to everyone concerned - astronauts, Congressmen, and the press - Borman's integrity was unquestionable. This comes across immediately to the reader through Borman's narrative, but not through self-serving "Boy Do I Love Me" puffery. Indeed, Borman's sincere modesty immediately reassures the reader that this is a man who lives the motto "To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth".Some of the ugly, goofball politics of the time come up as Borman and his crew are humiliated by Cornell students egged on by none other than Carl Sagan. I never really thought much of Sagan before reading Borman's book, and I think far less of him now; though in the interest of fairness I will say that Sagan's motivations were more selfish than political (he always objected to the expense of manned spaceflight, and instead advocated unmanned exploration as the best way to obtain the hard science he insisted on - this came up in a lecture Sagan gave in Seattle shortly before his death while undergoing cancer treatment), he comes across as the petty, self-serving geek he really was, not the "Mr. Friendly Scientist" he portrayed himself as in his works. Borman and his men deserved far better.The wanton destruction of Eastern Airlines by the active sabotage of the Machinists Union is also well documented. Borman's no-nonsense, high-speed, low-drag leadership style was lost on the proto-human union bosses. It's really too bad Eastern went under, but having read what was truly going on, I now know that it wasn't Borman's fault. It speaks volumes for Borman's character that despite some bitterness and finger-pointing on his part (though his points were well-made), he accepts responsibility for his mistakes and shortcomings in the loss of Eastern, displaying the same integrity with which he has led all of his life. It's a really good book by a fine man. As another reviewer said, we desperately need more men like him. Sadly, in this politically correct, touchy-feely age, Borman's kind are a vanishing breed, and his book answers the question that titles this review. The battle to save Eastern was foretold decades ago by Ayn Rand. Borman didn't want to shrug, but was forced to. I hope the Machinists are happy now.

America needs more people like Frank Borman

No nonsense Frank Borman has written a fantastic book on his two lives as an astronaut and President of Eastern Airlines. In this book, Mr. Borman goes into great depth explaining his Gemini 7 and the Apollo 8 mission which many regard as the greatest flight of Apollo. Those two flights would be accomplishments that would satisfy most people, but it was only the beginning for Frank Borman. Mr. Borman reveals the same intensity and tenacity at Eastern Airlines that endeared him with NASA officials such as Bob Gilruth, Deke Slayton and Chris Kraft. Frank Borman has lived a life of achievment that most people can only dream about. The book reveals Mr. Borman to be a man of solid character and true dedication to his family and country. Afterall, Mr. Borman could have been the first to walk on the moon, but retired from NASA after Apollo 8 to spend more time with a family that had become secondary to his astronaut duties. By the time the book is finished, the reader wishes that America had more people like Frank Borman. Frank Borman has been accused of being a tightly wound and no nonsense individual. If the book is any indicator, Mr. Borman is a man with a great sense of humor. Like the other reviewers, I loved this book. It is out of print now, but if you can get your hands on it, read it. It is a prized book in my library that I have read many times over. If anyone has an interest in Apollo or Gemini, this is a book that you will need. Thank you Mr. Borman. I don't know you and probably never will, but I really admire you for what you have done. A great book!

A Wonderful Book!

In my opinion Apollo 8 was an even more important flight than the moon landing. 8 was the first flight ever by humans to another world. True they didn't land but that doesn't detract form the drama. COUNTDOWN is an absolutely wonderful book written by Frank Borman the man who commanded that flight.But the book is much more than just Apollo 8. It's also a very interesting look at late 20th century history. Borman was privileged to travel to some fascinating (and now nonexistent) places such as the Soviet Union and I found his observations of the people he met to be most intriguing.If the book has any fault at all it might be that at times Borman seems to use it as a vehicle to settle some old scores. In the case of Carl Sagan Borman's criticism serves a purpose. Those of us who are interested in science should have some idea what Sagan was like. But Charlie Bryan? Come on Frank you're Frank Borman! You duh Man! They'll be reading your book a thousand years from now. Charlie Bryan is nobody.

A multi-faceted book about a multi-faceted man

If you know anything about Frank Borman's reputation as an astronaut, you'd get the idea he is a stern military man, who doesn't go for kidding around. He was known in the astronaut corps as a relentless worker with a meticulous eye for detail. I expected his book to cure any insomnia. Was I wrong! He has a dry, but funny, sense of humor that crops up often, and I agree that the best part of this book is about his struggle to save Eastern Airlines. I cried along with him the night he lost that struggle. An excellent book
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