What happens to a man once the event that establishes him as a hero has past? US Astronauts have been placed on high pedestals, adored, honored, elected to high government offices, or gone on to manage large companies. Buzz Aldrin, the second man ever to walk on the man, experienced a far different life.
This book starts with going to the moon. I found it interesting to hear details of how this was achieved from someone actually involved in the event. Once they returned to Earth, the astronauts became instant celebrities, and spent the next several years flying everywhere to tell their story. But how does a military man deal with the clamor, adulation, speeches, and constantly being “on display”? Being a spokesman for NASA requires a far different skill set than piloting a fighter jet or spacecraft. Buzz Aldrin found it difficult to deal with, and his life descended into depression and alcoholism. He went through two divorces and a decade of losing ground to his afflictions. Finally, he turned his life around, found a phenomenal wife, and became a vocal advocate for space exploration and development.
This book is interesting on several levels. The first-person account of going to the moon is fascinating. Publically sharing one’s flaws and short-comings after being acclaimed a hero takes a courage that few others display. This book raises more questions for me: How should our heroes be treated? Should the US expand its space exploration activities or continue to let them atrophy? Can the human race progress without the growth and challenge represented by going to space?
This is a thought-provoking book worth reading.