The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.

Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.
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As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives-the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.

You’ve heard about the astronauts, but have you heard about the wives?

For these women, being a wife wasn’t the half of it. It wasn’t the hardest part, either. I’ve read the books about the astronauts. There’s an immeasurable amount of testosterone going on there. What else would one expect? They’re test pilots. But the wives. Now there’s something interesting that I hadn’t learned. The writing is crisp, but can be choppy at times, but the story is good.

Each woman is different and had her own set of challenges. If you don’t know the women, this is a great way to get to know them. I knew almost nothing about Michael Collins’ wife, nearly nothing about Louise Sheppard, Joan Aldrin…The only reason I remember Annie Glenn having a stutter was that John Glenn was our state senator forever and I remember seeing her on television. I respected each of the wives more and liked how they banded together. Marge Slayton become the mother of the group. Everyone rallied around the See, Basset, Chaffee, White and Grissom families. It’s touching, heartbreaking and interesting.

If you want a book about the unsung heroes behind the astronauts, then this is the one for you to check out. Read it.

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