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The astronaut wives club : a true story / Lily Koppel.

By: Koppel, Lily.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookNew York : Grand Central Publishing, 2013Edition: First edition.Description: xvi, 272 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781455503254.Subject(s): Astronauts -- United States -- Biography | Women -- Texas -- Houston -- Social life and customs -- 20th century | Astronautics -- United States -- HistoryDDC classification: 629.450092/655097641411
Contents:
Introducing the wives -- Think pink -- The cookies -- Jackie -- Primly stable -- Squaresville -- Space City, U.S.A. -- The galaxy ball -- Togethersville -- The astro-pageant -- The lemon -- Women's lib -- Susie -- The dark side of the Moon -- The giant leap -- Everywoman.
Summary: "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; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history"-- Provided by publisher.Summary: "Bestselling author Lily Koppel reveals for the first time the stories and secrets of America's unsung heroes-the wives of our original astronauts"-- Provided by publisher.Summary: "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; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history"--Summary: "Bestselling author Lily Koppel reveals for the first time the stories and secrets of America's unsung heroes-the wives of our original astronauts"--
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Discover the true story of the women who stood beside some of the greatest heroes of American space travel in this New York Times bestseller that delivers "a truly great snapshot of the times" ( Publishers Weekly ) that inspired a limited TV series on ABC!

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.

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.

Introducing the wives -- Think pink -- The cookies -- Jackie -- Primly stable -- Squaresville -- Space City, U.S.A. -- The galaxy ball -- Togethersville -- The astro-pageant -- The lemon -- Women's lib -- Susie -- The dark side of the Moon -- The giant leap -- Everywoman.

"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; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history"-- Provided by publisher.

"Bestselling author Lily Koppel reveals for the first time the stories and secrets of America's unsung heroes-the wives of our original astronauts"-- Provided by publisher.

"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; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night. As their celebrity rose-and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives-they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history"--

"Bestselling author Lily Koppel reveals for the first time the stories and secrets of America's unsung heroes-the wives of our original astronauts"--

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Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • The Astronaut Wives (p. ix)
  • Authors Note (p. xiii)
  • 1 Introducing the Wives (p. 1)
  • 2 Think Pink (p. 21)
  • 3 The Cookies (p. 39)
  • 4 Jackie (p. 58)
  • 5 Primly Stable (p. 71)
  • 6 Squaresville (p. 80)
  • 7 Space City, U.S.A. (p. 88)
  • 8 The Galaxy Ball (p. 110)
  • 9 Togethersville (p. 123)
  • 10 The Astro-Pageant (p. 137)
  • 11 The Lemon (p. 153)
  • 12 Women's Lib (p. 171)
  • 13 Susie (p. 188)
  • 14 The Dark Side of the Moon (p. 201)
  • 15 The Giant Leap (p. 221)
  • 16 Everywoman (p. 239)
  • Epilogue: The Reunion (p. 257)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 267)
  • Photo Credits (p. 271)
  • About the Author (p. 272)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In her newest work, Koppel (The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal) takes up the story of the wives of astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects (with references to wives of astronauts from Space Shuttle missions as well). Her engaging narrative provides an in-depth look at military wives who became instant celebrities when their husbands were chosen for the space program. Along with the fame came intense media scrutiny; the wives felt pressured to compete for Stepford-wife-like perfection. The inability to publicly admit to concerns or problems made them turn to each other for support. Through death, infidelity, and scandalous divorce, these women have formed a network of strength and friendship. Koppel interviewed many of these women and attended one of their regular reunions. -VERDICT The author's aim was to uncover the real lives behind the "perfect" astronaut wives, and she hits the mark, crafting an exceptional story that seriously examines the imperfection and humanity of America's heroic astronauts, their wives, and their families. This work will hold vast appeal for armchair historians, and those interested in feminism, women's history, and 20th-century history.-Crystal Goldman, San Jose State Univ. Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In this entertaining and quirky throwback, journalist Koppel (The Red Leather Diary) revisits the ladies who cheered and bolstered their men to victory in the U.S. space program from the late '50s through early 1970s, revealing public triumph and rarely private agony. Koppel looks at the history of the race to space, starting with the Mercury Seven of April 1959, and focusing on the wives: e.g., Louise Shepard (wife of Alan), Betty Grissom (Gus) and Annie Glenn (John), young women who wore teased hair, bright lipstick, and cat-eye sunglasses, and towed numerous small children. The wives had to be gracious to the Life magazine reporters who invaded their homes, concealing unpleasant domestic details, such as marital discord, philandering husbands, and unseemly competition with other wives. The wives were invited to live at or near the Langley, Va., Air Force base, where the astronauts trained before relocating to Houston (aka Space City, USA) in 1962; the women socialized with each other, toured the White House with Jackie Kennedy, and watched their husbands' launches on TV together over champagne and cigarettes. Some missions ended in tragedy, such as when a failed test flight in 1967 resulted in the deaths of Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee. The Gemini and the Apollo missions followed, compelling the wives of legendary astronauts Collins, Aldrin, and Armstrong, among others, to endure seeing their husbands go on dangerous moon missions. This is truly a great snapshot of the times. Agent: Larry Weissman. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Koppel offers a revealing glimpse into the lives of the women behind the spacemen from Project Mercury, of the Kennedy years, to the two-man Gemini missions and finally the Apollo program. Beginning with the announcement in 1959 of the seven Mercury astronauts, Koppel paints chatty, personal portraits of each woman as she adjusts to dramatic changes: one day she's living the life of an ordinary military wife; the next she's married to a major celebrity. The wives were closely monitored by NASA and expected to be perfect, right down to what they wore and what food they served their husbands. They needed a support group, so the Astronaut Wives Club came into being in 1966. Over the years, they worked together in myriad ways, from helping the wives whose husbands died in crashes or Apollo I's disastrous launch-pad fire to sleeping in the Lovell's living room while Jim Lovell was orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve 1968. The U.S. moon program ended in 1972 but many of these unique women still remain connected, friends now for more than 50 years.--Donovan, Deborah Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Koppel (The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life through the Pages of a Lost Journal, 2008, etc.) explores the cohesiveness of a group of wives who formed an unofficial support group and their individual development during the early years of the Cold War. With the announcement on April 9, 1959, of the "nation's first astronauts," the women's lives changed, as they became instant celebrities along with their husbands. From Project Mercury to the Apollo program and the moon landings, the author traces how the lives of the wives of the original astronauts were transformed by these developments. Ubiquitous reporters, anxious to cover their most intimate moments, and their new status as American icons, intruded into every aspect of their daily lives. Being impeccably groomed became yet another challenge to their existence as de facto single mothers; their husbands were away training for their missions into space. Although they were familiar with the typical stresses facing the wives of career military officers--their husbands' long absences (sometimes on dangerous missions), poor pay, dismal living quarters, frequent moves and more--this public exposure was a first. They had their own part to play in a less obvious aspect of winning the Cold War: the public-relations offensive. The wives were guests at the White House and joined their husbands on international goodwill tours, showcasing the much-envied American lifestyle. Not only were astronauts judged by their own performance, but their wives and children were also rated. Koppel describes their appearance on the pages of Life magazine, looking like "scoops of ice cream" in their "pressed pastel shirtwaists." The glamor of Jackie Kennedy was a welcome change, and they enjoyed the perks that came with celebrity, including a lucrative contract with Life. Insightful social history with a light touch.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.