John Glenn

Easton Press John Glenn books

We Seven - Signed by John Glenn, Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper as part of the 6 volume Astronaut Library - 1997
John Glenn: A Memoir - Signed Limited Edition (3500 copies) - 1999


Astronaut John Glenn

John Herschel Glenn Jr., born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio, was an American astronaut, aviator, and politician who played a pivotal role in the early years of space exploration. His remarkable career spanned the fields of military service, spaceflight, and public service. Glenn's interest in aviation was sparked at an early age, and he became a decorated pilot during World War II and the Korean War. His exceptional flying skills and leadership qualities earned him numerous accolades, including the Distinguished Flying Cross on six occasions. After the Korean War, Glenn became a test pilot, setting the stage for his future endeavors in space exploration.

In 1959, John Glenn was selected as one of the original seven astronauts for NASA's Project Mercury, the United States' first human spaceflight program. On February 20, 1962, Glenn made history by becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. His spacecraft, Friendship 7, completed three orbits, and Glenn's composure and courage during the mission made him a national hero. After leaving NASA, Glenn pursued a career in politics. In 1974, he was elected as a Democratic U.S. Senator from Ohio, serving for four consecutive terms until 1999. Throughout his senatorial career, Glenn focused on various issues, including space exploration, defense, and veterans' affairs. His commitment to public service extended beyond the political arena, as he sought to use his influence to advance causes he believed in.

In 1998, at the age of 77, John Glenn made history once again by becoming the oldest person to fly in space. He flew aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of a mission designed to study the effects of space travel on the elderly. This achievement underscored Glenn's enduring passion for space exploration and his commitment to advancing scientific knowledge.

John Glenn's contributions to American space exploration and public service earned him numerous honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His legacy as a pioneering astronaut, dedicated public servant, and American icon is celebrated for inspiring future generations to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. John Glenn passed away on December 8, 2016, at the age of 95. His life story remains a testament to the spirit of exploration, courage, and service that defined a crucial era in American history.


John Glenn - A Memoir

He was the first astronaut to orbit the Earth. Nearly four decades later, as the world's oldest astronaut, his courage reveted a nation. But these two historical events only bracketed a life that covers the sweep of an extraordinary century.

John Glenn's autobiography spans the seminal events of the twentieth century. It is a story that begins with his childhood in Ohio where he learned the importance of family, community, and patriotism. He took these values with him as a marine fighter pilot during World War II and into the skies over Korea, for which he would be decorated. Always a gifted flier, it was during the war that he contemplated the unlimited possibilities of aviation and its frontiers.

We see the early days of NASA, where he first served as a backup pilot for astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom. In 1962 Glenn piloted the Mercury-Atlas 6 Friendship 7 spacecraft on the first manned orbital mission of the United States. Then came several years in international business, followed by a twenty-four year career as a U.S. Senator and in 1998 a return to space for his remarkable Discover mission at the age of seventy-seven.

At a time when overwritten biographies arguably provide too much information about their subjects, astronaut turned politician turned astronaut John Glenn's breezy memoir is welcome. His life story is simply told, not terribly reflective but enormously compelling: an Ohio boy grows up to become the first American to orbit the earth, takes a shot at the presidency but misses, and triumphantly returns to outer space as a senior citizen and national hero. Following a section on his youth, Glenn describes being a fighter pilot in the Second World War and Korea (where he lived in the same Quonset hut as baseball legend Ted Williams), as well as a test pilot. The highlight of the book is Project Mercury, the early NASA effort that hurled Glenn 150 miles above the planet in a tiny capsule "flying from one day into the next and back again." In less than five hours, Glenn observed three sunsets and sunrises. He also conducted a few basic experiments, such as "squeezing some applesauce from a toothpaste-like tube into my mouth to see if weightlessness interfered with swallowing. It didn't."
Upon his return to earth, Glenn made a few abortive runs for the Senate. He was finally elected in 1974 as a Democrat and served for 24 years. In 1984, he sought his party's presidential nomination, and it looked like he was the one candidate potentially capable of beating President Reagan. But he stumbled and had to quit. The final pages detail Glenn's 1998 mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery at the age of 77. Just as his journeys riveted the nation, Glenn's memoir will grip its readers. - John J. Miller


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