When the United States decided to send men into space part of the mission was to show that anything Communists could do, we could do better. Part of the plan was to show the world that our astronauts were the best of the best that America had to offer and that included having perfect families on display.
Everyone knew that if there was trouble at home, then the astronaut’s chances of being picked for a mission decreased. The original Mercury Seven astronauts were held up as model citizens with their dutiful wives at their sides. Behind the scenes though, all was not peaceful. Several of the men were cheating on their wives and one marriage had already broken up but was pulled back together for NASA and the cameras.
I’m a huge fan of The Right Stuff so I thought it would be interesting to see this story from the perspective of the wives. It is a good story but it isn’t told very well here. It is very superficial. It doesn’t get deep into the minds of the women involved. It seemed like these women have spent 50 years performing for the press and this author wasn’t able to get them to let go.
The book also tries to do too much. After the seven Mercury families there were nine in Gemini and then more in later missions. Names and stories run together, especially with lesser known astronauts. This would have been better if it stuck with one group.