Buzz Aldrin: Magnificent Desolation

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This book opens with a few chapters on how Buzz Aldrin and his two team members Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to visit the moon.  This section is obviously fascinating.  It provides small unknown features of the voyage that I wasn’t aware of and gives the reader an insight into how close the trip was to failing on so many occasions.  As someone who has seen brilliant documentaries such as In the Shadow of the Moon, much of this wasn’t new.  It is the remainder of the book that served to change my perception of the second man to walk on the moon.

For many people the story of Buzz ends with how he was the second man on the moon, naturally that is what he is most known for and most interesting because of.  We fail to consider the huge difficulties and challenges that must have come with this.  This autobiography reveals these challenges in an honest and humble way.

Buzz tells the reader how he struggled with alcoholism and the media spotlight.  He explains how he lost his wife and family through his addiction to alcohol.  He also speaks of the difficulty he had in finding purpose in his life.  How can you top walking on the moon?  The book shows the reader how he went through various jobs, but struggled to keep his life around him together  whilst dealing with his drinking habit.

Buzz never tries to defend his actions or hide what he did.  One part in particular where he tells of how he was cheating on his wife is a good example.  This is what makes the book so interesting and gripping.  It must have been hard for Buzz to talk about his issues and problems, but he exposes all in his autobiography.

I would recommend this book for people like myself, who know about the actual Apollo 11 mission, but want to know what happened to the people afterwards.  The book is quite long and some chapters are not very interesting, but it gives a whole new view of one of the most important voyagers of our time.

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