Light This Candle: The Life and Times of Alan Shepard, America's First Spaceman
Neal Thompson. New York: Crown, 2004. 464 pp. Photos. Bib. Index. $27.50.
Reviewed by David Hartman
It is hard to believe, with our celebrity-saturated media, a biography of the first U.S. astronaut in space has not hit the bookstores until now. More than 40 years after Alan Shepard blasted into space for a 15-minute historic flight, that book finally is here. There is no need for anyone else to write another one soon, because Neal Thompson's is so good.
Light This Candle is really a "twofer." It is storytelling at its best, about a larger-than-life naval aviator, test pilot, astronaut, and husband and father. It also is a riveting reminder, in emotional detail, of some 40 years of significant events of the U.S. military in combat, aviation history, and the space race with the Soviet Union.