lan Shepard was the brashest, cockiest, and most flamboyant of America’s original Mercury Seven, but he was also regarded as the best. Intense, colorful, and dramatic—the man who hit a golf ball on the moon—he was among the most private of America’s public figures and, until his death in 1998, he guarded the story of his life zealously.
Light This Candle, based on Neal Thompson’s exclusive access to private papers and interviews with Shepard’s family and closest friends—including John Glenn, Wally Schirra, and Gordon Cooper—offers a riveting, action-packed account of Shepard’s life. Among the first men to fly off aircraft carriers, he was one of the most fearless test pilots. He endured long separations from his devoted wife and three daughters to fly dangerous missions, working his way up the ranks despite clashes with authority over his brazen flying maneuvers and penchant for risky pranks. Hugely competitive, he beat out John Glenn for the first Mercury spaceflight and then overcame a rare illness to return to space again on Apollo 14.
He took every challenge head-on and seemed to win every time.
Long overdue, Light This Candle is a candid and inspiring account of a bold American life.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Religion eBook: Light This Candle|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Light This Candle|
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Light This Candle
Chapter One"Alan was really kind of a loner"
Alan Shepard confounded people. He angered, intimidated, and embarrassed them; insulted, taunted, or-worst of all-ignored them. Yet for all his maddening iciness, people were drawn to him, because just beneath his cold shell was an intelligent, curious man who could be charming, hilarious, warm, inviting, generous, and even sexy.
There was no way to anticipate which of Alan Shepard's personalities would emerge on a given day: aloof and remote one day, buying you drinks the next. Possibly the only consistent aspect of his character was its unpredictable duality. That and the obsessive drive to be, as one astronaut put it, "better than anyone else."
At every stage of his life, Shepard's effect on family, friends, and colleagues was that of a competitor in a hurry, constantly lurching forward, with no stomach for delays or incompetence. He was attracted to people with something to offer, those with skills, information, or money who could help him achieve his goals. But if you had nothing to offer, "you'd better get out of town," said one longtime friend.
"He was hard to get to know. But once he put his arm around you, you knew he was there," said astronaut Deke Slayton's wife, Bobbie. "If you were a friend of Al's and you needed something, you could call him and he'd break his neck trying to get it for you. If you were in, you were in. It was just tough to get in."
Shepard's frenetic, unreadable personality churned behind a pair of wide, wild eyes, his most prominent facial feature. Googly, buggy things. Heavy-lidded, they distended out from deep sockets. When he wasn't smiling-he could ign...