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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, despite Linenger's ego...
I read this book after reading the superior 'Dragonfly' by Bryan Burrough, and I was hoping that Burrough's stories of Jerry Linenger's monumental ego were false. Sadly, this book confirms them all- Linenger even admits it (though he says he is not the worst of the astronauts). Some of the opening chapters grate somewhat because of this, as Linenger describes just what...
Published on Feb. 1 2000 by space-boy

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Questionable
I wonder what political office or career that Dr Linenger has in mind. I found his book to be very self serving with little credit given to others. Obviously not a team player. "Dragonfly" is the better read and strikes a better balance.
Published on March 2 2001 by Kate


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Questionable, March 2 2001
By 
Kate (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir (Paperback)
I wonder what political office or career that Dr Linenger has in mind. I found his book to be very self serving with little credit given to others. Obviously not a team player. "Dragonfly" is the better read and strikes a better balance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, despite Linenger's ego..., Feb. 1 2000
I read this book after reading the superior 'Dragonfly' by Bryan Burrough, and I was hoping that Burrough's stories of Jerry Linenger's monumental ego were false. Sadly, this book confirms them all- Linenger even admits it (though he says he is not the worst of the astronauts). Some of the opening chapters grate somewhat because of this, as Linenger describes just what an incredibly sucessful specimen of humanity he thinks he is. (For an example of this writing style, see the review he has posted on this page- how he says he is still amazed what a good book he has written every time he rereads it.)
Linenger's book does get really good, though, when he gets to MIR. The description of the onboard fire make the whole book worth reading- the bonechilling image Linenger gives is the best I have read, and Linenger's description of the extent and danger of the fire shows just how much it was played down elsewhere at the time. Linenger also gives a wonderful picture of the sheer hard work of life on MIR that Burrough and Colin Foale never quite get across in their books on the same theme.
So, in all, a great read. In some ways, though, I hope it sells badly. Linenger needs the wind knocked out of his sails a bit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ego trip, July 19 2001
By A Customer
The book has some interesting anecdotes about life on Mir, but Linengers ego and continuous whining about the Russian space program makes this quite a challenging read. Not recommended - get Dragonfly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How did his head fit into the helmut?, Feb. 17 2001
By 
Jim Clark (Indianapolis, IN USA) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir (Paperback)
It was all I could do to finish this book. I nearly stopped in the middle of the introduction because of the author's incessant egotistical blather. I have never read a more self aggrandizing biography in my life. I am sure that he is the only person interested in the number of doctoral degrees - honorary or otherwise - that he possesses or that he was good enough to win some medals and trophies in his age class in triathalons. Talk about an ugly American. In one breath he decries the abyssmal living conditions facing most Russian citizens and in the next he is complaining that the Russians had not completed his own "duplex" living quarters, palatial by comparison. It is no wonder he was not accepted by the Russians with open arms. Being an Astronaut, I always thought, was about accepting the enormous risks for the honor and thrill of it all and, as a by-product, making the world a better place. It certainly should not be to complain about the risks and then to try to line your own pockets. Obviously, astronauts need and do have healthy egos, but they should be inteligent enough to know how distasteful such an unmitigated display would appear in print. It is a wonder that they could find a helmet big enough to fit this guy
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gen-X in space, or, Jerry Linenger as Super Ego!, Jan. 17 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir (Paperback)
What is it with this guy? Perhaps the answer comes from Bryan Burrough's book, "Dragonfly"(a must-read, if only as an antidote), which yields a far more balanced view of this self-centered egomaniac. While in astronaut training, Linenger's colleagues dubbed him "Hollywood", a name he richly deserves.
No, seriously, I don't question that riding Mir for five months took some heavy stones -- but why no kiss-and-tell books from Linenger's unfortunate Mir-mates? One gets the feeling they wish he'd just go away.
Dangers in space? Well, duh!! Linenger wants it both ways - the "aw shucks, t'ain't nothin'" veneer of a Chuck Yeager, with the recognition of a rock star and our endless appreciation for his "daring". What on earth (pardon the pun) did he expect? An airbone Hilton like the movie 2001? Throughout his odyssey, Linenger adopts the attitude of "what's in it for me?" rather than trying to find ways to contribute to the success of the mission. Gen-x space.
During his five months in orbit, Linenger blew off his ground support crew, antagonized his colleagues, and managed to fully live up to the stereotype of "ugly American."
This book is an embarassment...it's no wonder NASA began distancing itself from Linenger the minute his shuttle flight home touched down. Arguably, other Mir visitors (Michael Foale, in particular) had even hairer moments -- but they've accepted it as part of a very risky job, and not used it as a springboard to stardom. Foale is still on flying status -- Linenger is not. 'Nuff said.
It's interesting to note that most of the truly heroic astronauts(John Young - first shuttle flight, two Apollo flights, Neil Armstrong - first moon walker, Story Musgrave - two Hubble missions, including the repair mission) have shunned the spotlight, while the hacks (Buzz Aldrin, the Ed McMahon of astronauts, and Linenger himself) have tried to trade starlight for limelight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Brave man, horrible author and book, Oct. 15 2000
By A Customer
What a wasted opportunity. If Dr. Linenger could only have put aside his "mildy" egocentric personallity, and let someone else write this book--I wonder if an editor was even allowed a glance. Yeager, by Chuck Yeager and Leo Janos is a far superior read for someone interested in space pioneers. Too bad the services of someone like Mr. Janos were not employed. I believe everything Dr. Linenger wrote and yet the book had a very defensive tone. He cares too much about what other people think of him as evidenced by his endless rambling-on about how wonderfull he is. Somehow this encredible story comes across as a boring book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, July 1 2000
By A Customer
Jerry Linenger belongs in space -- the earth is not big enough to fit his ego. The book is pretty boring and repetitive. How many times do we have to be reminded that the shuttle orbits at 17,500 mph ! Most of the good stuff, Mir breakdowns, ground control politics, etc, takes only a few pages to describe. A lot of the rest is constant reminders of how highly Linenger thinks of himself interspersed with tired space cliches. Don't waste your money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars at least he doesn't do everything perfectly, June 21 2000
By A Customer
Indeed, it is a great story, and I relish the fact that thebook is a kiss and tell of sorts: divulging the truths that neitherthe soviet space agency or NASA for that matter would care to be told. The entire narrative, however, is weakened by this "aw shucks, I'm just son of simple folks who just wants to do well for my country and family" sentiment. When I pick up a book about an astronaut I'm frankly interested in the psychology of an over-achiever like Dr. Linenger as much as I'm interested in stories of space travel. You just don't bump into people like Jerry everyday, who seem blessed in every aspect of their life. A good biographer would find a few nuggets to make this guy seem less like a ken doll and more three dimensional. His writing, unfortunately, is not great. Whereas J. Krakauer's Into Thin Air is superbly written, creating suspense in every chapter describing the escalating crisis with candor and lucidity, Linenger's account is poorly organized and littered with embarrasing phrasing "we are really rocking and rolling!" and platitudes. While, he can add a "published author", hat to the many already on his rack at home, this book could have been so much better if someone else had written it. At least he can't do everything perfectly. END
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars at least he doesn't do everything perfectly, June 21 2000
By A Customer
I read the letter the author wrote the amazon customers and was disappointed that he had not let a ghost writer do the writing. Indeed, it is a great story, and I relish the fact that the book is a kiss and tell of sorts: divulging the truths that neither the soviet space agency or NASA for that matter would care to be told. The entire narrative, however, is weakened by this "aw shucks, I'm just son of simple folks who just wants to do well for my country and family" sentiment. When I pick up a book about an astronaut I'm frankly interested in the psychology of an over-achiever like Dr. Linenger as much as I'm interested in stories of space travel. You just don't bump into people like Jerry everyday, who seem blessed in every aspect of their life. A good biographer would find a few nuggets to make this guy seem less like a ken doll and more three dimensional. His writing, unfortunately, is not great. Whereas J. Krakauer's Into Thin Air is superbly written, creating suspense in every chapter describing the escalating crisis with candor and lucidity, Linenger's account is poorly organized and littered with embarrasing phrasing "we are really rocking and rolling!" and platitudes. While, he can add a "published author" hat to the many already on his rack at home, this book could have been so much better if someone else had written it. At least he can't do everything perfectly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile despite being a total ego trip, Jan. 31 2002
By 
Kevin W. Parker (Greenbelt, MD) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Jerry Linenger gets rapped in Dragonfly as being a total egotist, and this book does nothing to dispell the notion. He makes sure to mention in great detail the number of advanced degrees he has, his skills as an athlete, the fact that he got a shuttle flight only two years after being chosen as an astronaut, and so on. (Dragonfly makes it clear that the only reason he got a flight was that the Russians forbade rookies aboard Mir, so he had to get a quick flight before reporting for Mir training. Linenger doesn't mention this, nor his mission commander's dissatisfaction with his performance on his one flight.) There's not a whole lot about anyone else in here, and even most of the photographs are of him and him alone. The quality of the writing also makes it clear that he wrote the book himself without the aid of a professional-not that it's bad, but that it could be better. Gene Kranz did the same, but in that case it seemed to work because one got the feeling that the words were coming straight from the heart.
That being said, this remains an interesting book. Linenger is one of only five American astronauts to spend time aboard Mir and the only one (so far) to write a book it. So hearing his thoughts on the preliminary training and the experience itself remain well worth reading, whatever his faults. The most gripping part is his account of the fire onboard Mir, which was far more dangerous than NASA was originally led to believe. He also provides something of the feel of that unique experience, spending five months in cramped and alien quarters with only intermittent contact with his family.
So, in short, Linenger is not someone I'd enjoy spending much time with, I don't think, but I did enjoy reading his book. Recommended for the space enthusiast or anyone interested in a first-person account of the space program.
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