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An incredible, true-life adventure set on the most dangerous frontier of all—outer spaceIn the nearly forty years since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, space travel has come to be seen as a routine enterprise—at least until the shuttle Columbia disintegrated like the Challenger before it, reminding us, once again, that the dangers are all too real.Too Far from Home viviAn incredible, true-life adventure set on the most dangerous frontier of all—outer spaceIn the nearly forty years since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, space travel has come to be seen as a routine enterprise—at least until the shuttle Columbia disintegrated like the Challenger before it, reminding us, once again, that the dangers are all too real.Too Far from Home vividly captures the hazardous realities of space travel. Every time an astronaut makes the trip into space, he faces the possibility of death from the slightest mechanical error or instance of bad luck: a cracked O-ring, an errant piece of space junk, an oxygen leak . . . There are a myriad of frighteningly probable events that would result in an astronaut’s death. In fact, twenty-one people who have attempted the journey have been killed.Yet for a special breed of individual, the call of space is worth the risk. Men such as U.S. astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox, and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin, who in November 2002 left on what was to be a routine fourteen-week mission maintaining the International Space Station.But then, on February 1, 2003, the Columbia exploded beneath them. Despite the numerous news reports examining the tragedy, the public remained largely unaware that three men remained orbiting the earth. With the launch program suspended indefinitely, these astronauts had suddenly lost their ride home.Too Far from Home chronicles the efforts of the beleaguered Mission Controls in Houston and Moscow as they work frantically against the clock to bring their men safely back to Earth, ultimately settling on a plan that felt, at best, like a long shot.Latched to the side of the space station was a Russian-built Soyuz TMA-1 capsule, whose technology dated from the late 1960s (in 1971 a malfunction in the Soyuz 11 capsule left three Russian astronauts dead.) Despite the inherent danger, the Soyuz became the only hope to return Bowersox, Budarin, and Pettit home. Chris Jones writes beautifully of the majesty and mystique of space travel, while reminding us all how perilous it is to soar beyond the sky....

Title : Too Far From Home
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780887842054
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Too Far From Home Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-03-19 17:14

    It's a very entertaining book for such a harrowing story. The astronauts Donald Pettit, Kenneth Bowersox and the cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin were on a 14 week mission on the International Space Station when the Columbia shuttle blew up, killing all seven people on board and leaving the men on the ISS with no way of getting home. They lived a day to day existence, making the food last and hoping that NASA would come through in time. They did, the three of them squashed into a little capsule and shooting, superheated, through the atmosphere, crash-landed into remotest Kazakhstan where they were found some hours later and returned to civilization as heroes.Meanwhile back at the ranch....1. This is really funny to imagine. The tools on the ISS are kept in a bar fridge-size box. When it is opened all the tools are tethered with difference lengths of string. They all float out on their own trajectorie, bobbing and weaving and enterwining as the astronauts try and herd them all together and attempt to untangle them before they all knot up. Everyone apparently dreads opening it.2. Funny one. The Americans on discovering that pens don't work in space because there is no gravity to pull down the ink, spent millions and years on developing a new ink delivery system and pen. The Russians - they gave their cosmonauts pencils!3. Patronising one. The author keeps writing about the difficulty of the astronauts' wives. Like they are not autonomous human beings with lives but just adjuncts to their husbands (view spoiler)[yes I know there are various religious groups that would utterly agree with that (hide spoiler)] and they sit and wait and have difficulty getting on with their lives without them. 4. Naughty one. On Sundays the astronauts and their families from the US and a military background went to church. Chris Hadfield (Canadian) and the Israeli, Spanish and others all recuperated from very wild Saturday nights. They all felt that life could end in a tin can up above the earth. The Church goers were no doubt praying for a successful trip and hopes of a good afterlife and the non-church goers were packing in as much partying as they could do. 5. The difference between Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts. Apparently the Americans are wimps and the Russians stalwart. When it comes to the shuttle and take off Americans wear nappies but the Russians would rather restrict their fluid and food intake for a few days and have an ice cold enema before take-off than wear a diaper on their hairy botties. Good stuff!I enjoyed this book. It isn't written with the sparkle and flair of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth but covers the same ground plus much more, almost the entire back story of the exploration of space with astronauts in the US and Russia. That makes it very interesting.

  • Karen
    2019-03-22 16:41

    Like the JFK assassination, Challenger explosion and 9/11, space shuttle Columbia's tragic end is one of those "where were you when" events that was so shocking that it made an indelible mark on Americans' collective memory. While "Too Far From Home" retraces some aspects of our history in space, this historic story (whose details were new to me) in many ways starts upon the demise of space shuttle Columbia. Perhaps it was well known at the time, but I hadn't realized the seriousness of the dilemma NASA faced when the space shuttle was grounded post-Columbia, stranding three astronauts (U.S. astronauts Donald Pettit and Kenneth Bowersox, and Russian flight engineer Nikolai Budarin) on the International Space Station (ISS) without a ride home. I found these three astronauts' story to be very suspenseful and compelling. While some books about space travel are more technical and explain every scientific nuance, "Too Far From Home" focuses on the human stories in the aftermath of Columbia. That focus on the human experience is what makes this audiobook so intensely compelling: The grief the three astronauts on ISS experienced upon learning about their colleagues on the Columbia, the challenges they overcame in rationing food, water and other resources while awaiting a ride home, the loss of control experienced by NASA officials when the best solution was to use an untested new Russian spacecraft to retrieve the stranded astronauts, and the very real risks these three astronauts faced during their journey home. Between the true story authored by Chris Jones and Erik Davies' excellent narration, this was one of the most suspenseful audiobooks I've ever listened to... I highly recommend it to those interested in space history or human drama.

  • Grumpus
    2019-03-24 17:43

    This is based upon the audio download from [http://www.Audible.com]Narrated by: Erik DaviesImagine being stranded in the International Space Station not knowing when the next shuttle is coming to take you home. This is story of two U.S. astronauts and one cosmonaut after the shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon re-entry in the earth's atmosphere and NASA's efforts to bring them home.

  • Deedee
    2019-02-23 20:38

    3.5 starsI was surprised when I first started reading this book. I had expected it to be more technical. Instead, alot of the book was "how does it feel", and I wondered, how does Chris Jones know how it feels? Reading the acknowledgements, I found out -- the astronauts involved were thanked for being "particularly generous with their time".The frame of the book was this: After Columbia burnt up in the atmosphere on February 1, 2003, the American shuttle fleet was grounded until the cause of the disaster could be determined (and corrected). The International Space Station had 3 astronauts on board (2 Americans and 1 Russian). The astronauts had expected to use an American shuttle to return home; now that was not going to happen; how do they get home?Most of the text was involved in telling the "back story" -- brief biographies of the astronauts; anecdotes from the American space program; and a brief history of the Soviet space program. The author additionally goes into detail about life aboard the International Space Station, including "how does it feel" to see the stars from the space station, unclouded by atmosphere (and ... how does he know this? ah, that's right, the astronauts were "particularly generous with their time".)The last chapter was a play-by-play description of the 3 astronauts flight from the International Space Station on board a Russian Soyuz capsule until they were home safe and sound.Parts of the book dragged for me, and just when I was about to put it down, Mr. Jones would insert a rather interesting space program anecdote, and I would keep reading.

  • Lisa Kren
    2019-02-24 14:33

    I actually worked with Don Pettit, one of the American astronauts at NASA. He's an amazing guy and the book hardly does the entire experience justice. Hearing the encounter from him, the man who was ACTAULLY on board, makes the book pale in comparison. This is something that should not soon be forgotten. A very, VERY scary mission; a very close call. My best to you & your family, Don:)

  • Bree
    2019-03-21 14:37

    Oh, that all nonfiction were this well written.

  • Katie
    2019-03-05 15:28

    This was less technical and more beautiful than I expected. Which is not to say it wasn't informative. I learned more about the American and Russian space programs than I thought I wanted to know. And I confirmed that I never, ever, ever want to go into space. But I'm glad others do, and I'm glad Chris Jones wrote about them.

  • Christopher
    2019-02-28 20:25

    When the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over the central United States in February 2003, the accident stranded the three crewmembers of the International Space Station without their intended ride home to earth. The Expedition 6 crew--Nikolai Budarin, Ken Bowersox and Don Pettit--was originally supposed to return to earth in March 2003 aboard space shuttle Atlantis. But, the Columbia accident grounded the space shuttle fleet (for more than two years), and Expedition 6 was forced to return in a Soyuz backup module two months after their original return date. This book covers that story. It is an expanded version of an Esquire magazine article written by Canadian writer Chris Jones.I bought this trade paperback, Out of Orbit, rather recently in a local used bookstore. It didn't dawn on me until sometime later that this version was renamed from the original hardcover printing, which was titled Too Far from Home, which I had had on my Goodreads want list. I wondered why the title had been changed between printings, and little alarm bells went off in my head signaling the potential for other surprises. And as I was to find out, those little alarm bells did not fail me.The only thing really going for this book is the basic subject itself. It is an interesting, dramatic story, and it's worth covering. Perhaps it made for an engaging magazine article . . . but as a book-length piece, this suffers from a litany of problems. At the very least, the manuscript should have had considerable additional development, as well as a competent editor to fact-check Jones' frequent errors and clumsiness.The book opens nonsensically with a general overview of Apollo 11 as a prologue. Apollo 11 shares nothing at all in common with the book's subject, other than the fact that the two are space missions. That's it. That's where the similarities end, full stop. This made me immediately skeptical, as it told me Jones was already searching for ways to fill up the manuscript. This is not a good way to begin a book.For the next several chapters, Jones takes us back and forth from coverage of the Expedition 6 mission interspersed with stories from space history past. Jones' knowledge of space history is tenuous at best, failing to show a depth of knowledge of just about any topic he touches upon, whether it be the space shuttle or Apollo 13 or even Soyuz 1. He even misunderstands Tom Wolfe, which is really remarkable (he thinks modern astronauts have the right stuff--pilots are one thing, but do try to explain why a mission specialist has the right stuff). Jones demonstrates the misunderstanding of someone who has skimmed his sources and then tries to encapsulate what he has learned, not realizing he knows very little.His narrative gets a little better near the end, when the Soyuz TMA-1 capsule reenters in a short, ballistic trajectory and the crew's fate isn't known for over an hour. That is probably the best part of an otherwise decidedly mediocre book.Jones is at his best when he relates moments of human interest, away from the jargon and the stuff of astronauts. I think he's probably a good writer at heart, at least when he sticks to non-technical subjects and actually knows something of what he's writing about. But the fact is, he's just seriously out of his depth with this book.Needless to say, this book is not recommended. Chris Jones has no business writing about space, any more than I would have any business writing about a subject I have little knowledge of, like dog shows or cooking.

  • Kirk Battle
    2019-03-03 14:16

    This is a frank discussion about the perils of space travel and life on the international space station. It's framed around the Columbia disaster and the subsequent grounding of the American shuttle fleet, which left the three residents stranded for a period of months until the Russians could send up replacements. Since there's not much drama to the frame, just a tragic accident and growing anxiety, the book's highlights tend to be the elaborate stories and chronicling of past experiences in the station. The incredible near-death stories on Muir. The realities of people going insane when living in space for prolonged periods. The kind of psychological profiling and health screening needed. All of these are recounted in great detail while occasional bouncing back to the story of three men sitting around in a space station for months on end.It's told well, with a clinical love of detail that somehow evokes the deep dread more skillfully than a more exotic telling. I felt genuine terror as Jones recounted a fire in the space station that almost left the entire crew dead. A good, focused examination of the modern space program's challenges and the people overcoming them.

  • Amy
    2019-03-24 13:27

    When the Columbia made her final descent into fire on February 1, 2003, the seven who died aboard weren't the only astronauts affected by it. Aboard the International Space Station, the crew of Expedition Six--Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin, and Science Officer Don Pettit--suddenly found themselves stuck without a ride home, at least for the time being. This book is their story, as well as the story of the Columbia, and of the mission controllers in Houston and Moscow who worked to get the three men home. (They made it, all right--aboard the Soyuz TMA-1 capsule--but that was an adventure in itself.) Chris Jones tells the story in a dramatic yet factual manner, creating an "Apollo 13" for the 21st century. I've been a longtime space buff, and this mission was of particular interest to me (note the commander's name); I found out about this book reading an Esquire magazine in a doctor's waiting room, and immediately knew I HAD to have this book. And I was right.

  • Ryan
    2019-03-25 16:32

    Really interesting ride. It's a history of the two astronauts and one cosmonaut who were stuck on the International Space Station after the space shuttle Columbia burned up on re-entry in 2003. Because all shuttles were grounded for a couple years, their ride home had to be jury-rigged (via Russian space capsule) a few months longer than they'd planned. If the premise doesn't seem interesting, the way that Jones writes about space, being in space, and what it means should make you pick up the book - hearing the details of day-to-day life "on station" makes you want to try it out (but not for too long). He also gives it a sense of scope that often gets lost in more clinical/historical versions. He also slips in bits of space travel history without making it seem overt. It lost the fifth star because his tactic of telling and the re-telling portions of the story of the station's travails got confusing, especially with the frequent trips to more distant space history. Overall, I'd highly recommend.

  • Marsha
    2019-03-10 14:42

    Chris Jones writes about astronauts Donald Pettit, Kenneth Bowersox and Nikolai Budarin, who “lost their ride home” from the International Space Station when the Columbia shuttle heading back to earth was accidentally destructed on its descent with seven astronauts aboard in 2003.Like a mystery, Jones keeps the reader in suspense as to how and when these men might be returned to earth.This book is an in-depth look at how dangerous space travel is and the challenges needed to try and keep astronauts conditionally safe and psychology sound when they are in space.He explains that often the general public seems unexposed and perhaps for the most part uninterested in space travel until a tragedy such as what happened with the Columbia occurs.This is a very well written detailed book which shows how dangerous, yet important, space travel is.

  • Martin
    2019-03-10 15:15

    How come I never knew about this story? Why didn't the press cover it at all? Probably because a deft hand like the author's wasn't available to tell it. The narrative is almost dreamlike, from a complete trance-induced point of view, which makes it a worthy way of relaying this incredible story, plucked from the galaxy of incredible stories that comprise the amazing space program that awestruck me in my youth. I learned things about the program I never knew, and the author really gets into the heart of the technical details and the human emotions of success and failure. Never wavering, all tangents lead back to the story at hand. A marvelous storytelling achievement.

  • April
    2019-03-22 16:25

    Really, this book should have just been about Don Pettit. He's awesome. I think if there wasn't so much about him and his wife in here it wouldn't have been as good of a read. He carried the story. Read it if you're really into astronauts and their sort of day to day stuff, because it wasn't a gripping suspense.THIS MAY BE SPOILERY IF YOU'RE VERY SENSITIVE AND DON'T GOOGLE COOL PEOPLE MID-BOOK.This book lost a star for not being whatever suspenseful crazy story it's advertised. The bit about losing their ride and having to take a Soyuz back (uh, spoilers? We all know they made it..) was the very end. I still thought it was interesting, but it sort of kills the suspense.

  • Christopher
    2019-03-22 19:40

    I don't give out one-star reviews very often, but when I do, they are earned. This one is especially earned. My copy is still simmering from my enraged marginalia.I bought this trade paperback, Out of Orbit, rather recently in a local used bookstore. It didn't dawn on me until sometime later that this version was renamed from the original hardcover printing, which was titled Too Far from Home--a book which I had had on my Goodreads want list. I wondered why the title had been changed between printings, and little alarm bells went off in my head signaling the potential for other surprises. As I was to find out, those little alarm bells did not fail me.When the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over the central United States in February 2003, the accident stranded the three crewmembers of the International Space Station without their intended ride home to earth. The Expedition 6 crew--Nikolai Budarin, Ken Bowersox and Don Pettit--was originally supposed to return to earth a month later aboard space shuttle Atlantis. However, the Columbia accident grounded the space shuttle fleet (for more than two years), and Expedition 6 spent weeks not knowing how they would get back home. Eventually, they had to return in an untested Soyuz backup module two months after their original return date.This book covers that story. It is an expanded version of an Esquire magazine article written by Canadian writer Chris Jones.The only thing really going for this book is the basic subject itself--astronauts stranded in orbit following a fatal accident. It is an interesting, dramatic story, and it's worth covering. Perhaps it made for an engaging magazine article, I'm not sure . . . but as a book-length piece, it suffers from a litany of problems. At the very least, the manuscript should have had considerable additional development, as well as a competent editor to fact-check Jones' frequent errors and clumsiness.The book opens--nonsensically--with a general overview of Apollo 11 as a prologue. And I think I know why Jones did it--Apollo 11 remains the greatest spaceflight of all time, and Jones probably thought it allowed him a chance to build some instant rapport with the reader. But Apollo 11 shares nothing at all in common with the book's subject, other than the fact that the two are space missions. That's it--that's where the similarities end. So instead of laying a groundwork, it made me immediately skeptical, as it told me Jones was already searching for ways to fill up the manuscript. This is not a good way to begin a book.For the next several chapters, Jones takes us back and forth from coverage of the Expedition 6 mission interspersed with unrelated stories from space history past. Jones' knowledge of space history is tenuous at best, failing to show a depth of knowledge of just about any topic he touches on, whether it be the space shuttle or Apollo 13 or even Soyuz 1.I was frequently irritated by Jones' glib descriptions and his desire to funnel things down to slick little phrases that a junior sportswriter would use. Jones appears incapable of writing seriously about a serious subject. As it turns out, my hunch about a sportswriter's style was right on the money--I learned later that Jones wrote about boxing in a prior phase of his career. But this is different stuff. When you're writing about a subject this technical, you don't get to cut corners and let your creative whims take hold--you have to be precise.I'll give you one specific example of a technical error which is then embellished by Jones' laziness. He describes one of the Expedition 6 astronauts feeling space shuttle Endeavour sway in its moorings about 20 seconds from launch, with the main engines moving on their gimbals "to test their directional thrust." There are two errors here. First, the timing of this is incorrect--the space shuttle's main engines do not ignite until T-6 seconds, so the shuttle doesn't sway in its moorings until the last five seconds before launch. Second, the phrase "to test their directional thrust" is misleading and lazy. It is not a test of thrust--it is an automatic check of the main engines' directional capability while under power (and technically speaking, 'thrust' is a loosely applied term here, because thrust implies motion!). It's an important difference. Jones fumbles the description in his desire to simplify the language.And there are many other examples of errors and lazy writing, like the above, strewn throughout the book. Jones has merely skimmed his sources and tried to summarize what he has learned, not realizing he knows very little.He even misunderstands Tom Wolfe, which is really remarkable. Jones thinks modern astronauts have the 'right stuff'--let's remember that Wolfe's thesis in The Right Stuff was specifically about test pilots, and test pilots who become astronauts. So do try to explain to me why a mission specialist would have the 'right stuff.'Jones' narrative gets a little better right near the end, when the Soyuz TMA-1 capsule reenters in a short, ballistic trajectory and the Expedition 6 crew's fate isn't known for over an hour. That is easily the best part of an otherwise decidedly mediocre book.Jones writes reasonably well when he relates moments of human interest, away from the jargon and the stuff of astronauts. I'll be exceedingly generous and say I think he's probably a good writer at heart, at least when he sticks to non-technical subjects and actually knows something of what he's writing about. But the fact is, Chris Jones is seriously out of his depth with this book.This book is not recommended, and I would specifically warn away casual readers who won't be able to spot his errors. Chris Jones has no business writing about space, any more than I would have any business writing about a subject I have little knowledge of, like dog shows or cooking.

  • Sherri
    2019-03-22 19:29

    This got on my radar because Mary Roach mentions it in Packing for Mars. And I was pleasantly surprised. It was a lot more interesting than I was expecting it to be considering the author wasn't actually there for any of these events. There's a really great mix of background information and forward motion. At first I really wasn't sure about all the extra information we were given, but I realized when I finished that I really dug it. This was a solid read.

  • Corbett Buchly
    2019-03-24 17:15

    I enjoyed learning about the details of life in space. My only negative would be the book jacket which seemed to oversell the suspense factor in this story. I didn't need the suspense; it was a well written tale about stranded astronauts.

  • Richard
    2019-02-23 21:28

    This was an interesting story, but the book was simply too long. I imagine some readers enjoyed the extensive profiles of various individuals; however, for me, they simply went into too much detail, and there were too many of them. Ultimately, I jumped through some of these sections, so I could complete the book.What I enjoyed the most were the various descriptions of the Soviet (and then Russian) space program. The author covered a good deal of the programs history as well as it present state, and I thoroughly enjoyed this. I have seen very little written about the Russian space program, and I think this book showed it is worthy of study by all space enthusiasts.

  • rabbitprincess
    2019-03-04 14:34

    Note: This review is of the book as presented on the CBC podcast "Between the Covers", starting the week of May 18, 2010.A highly informative look at the story of Expedition 6, a three-man mission to the International Space Station that was stranded temporarily in space when their ride home, the space shuttle Columbia, suffered the tragic accident in 2003. This book was a departure from the Between the Covers podcast's usual fare (Canadian novels, generally contemporary), but it was an excellent read all the same.I learned a lot about the space program and astronauts' day-to-day lives from this book. For example, a space suit weighs 86 pounds BEFORE the helmet, and food tastes blander in space than it does on Earth, because astronauts' faces and sinuses get swollen (probably from the lack of gravity). One of the astronauts in the book sprinkled green chilies on everything he ate, and the sinus thing is probably why. Actually, the parts about the effects of space on the human body were very interesting in a gross kind of way. The author's description of the astronauts' insides floating around was rather nausea-inducing, and the thought that 8 Gs will almost pinch your lungs shut is terrifying. Vivid details like these really capture the reader's interest. The book was also amusing in places, with quotes such as "weightlessness makes for some terrific air guitar", and the astronaut's prayer of sorts: "God help you if you screw up." (That one was more funny in an only-half-joking kind of way.)William B. Davis, aka "The Smoking Man" from The X-Files, narrates the 15-minute episodes very well, speaking at a natural pace and adding some emotion where warranted, especially when the book uses direct speech. He also got me all choked up when the book discussed the history of manned space missions and in particular the Challenger disaster. That was a terrible tragedy, as was Columbia. Space travel is a very dangerous job!Overall I would definitely recommend this book to people interested in Columbia and the space shuttle program in general. The part where the author discusses the history of manned space missions kind of lags, but the rest of the book is very interesting and may inspire you to do further research on the subject.

  • Matthew Ciarvella
    2019-02-27 21:40

    While the surprisingly light focus on the science of life in space might be discouraging for fans of this topic, for me the focus on how it actually feels to live and work on the International Space Station was a breath of fresh air. Jones relates the story of two astronauts and one cosmonaut in a way that is deeply personal and filled with the details and care that could only come from long hours of personal interviews. Jones relates their story with careful attention to detail; little things like "the blue shorts incident" really make the story of Expedition 6 come alive off the page.For me, space travel represents the next wilderness and it's great to hear some of the stories from the men who've traveled that wilderness and returned. Other books might be more technical, more focused on the hard facts, the engineering, the physics . . . but few books can relate the lives of astronauts (and one cosmonaut) in a fashion that is so deeply human.The book also earns a nod of recognition for its depiction of the dangers of EVA (extra-vehicular activity) in Jones' description of "how an astronaut dies." Not since Shadow Divers has the description of how one might die made me squirm so much and given that Shadow Divers is one of my favorite books of all time, that is no mean feat.

  • Neil Cake
    2019-03-24 21:30

    I don't have too much to add to what other reviewers have revealed about this. It seems to me that it could have been improved by being a history of space stations. Instead it purports to be about one particular mission, but gets there by way of a history of space travel and various specific missions along the way. Other reviewers have pointed out that there clearly wasn't enough content in the main story, so it needed to be padded out. Why bother padding it out when you could just make it about the whole subject and not pretend otherwise? Presumably a publisher asked Chris Jones for this, so a more detailed tome entitled "Station" was out of the question.Overall though, there were lots of interesting details and a lot of stories I didn't know anything about until now. There was also a bit too much astronaut hero-worship and, despite this being quite short in terms of pages, it just seemed to go on and on. It was also confusing at times and the structure often irrational. It starts giving introductory information about Bowersox and Pettit nearly halfway through the story, for instance.

  • Kathleen Hagen
    2019-03-08 13:31

    Too Far From Home: a Story of Life and Death in Space, by Chris Jones; Narrated by erik Davies, produced by Random House Audio, downloaded from audible.com.This is the story of the three men who left for the international space station in November, 2002, and expected to be home in 14 weeks. The crew consisted of two Americans and a Russian. Then, in January, 2003, the Columbia space shuttle exploded just sixteen minutes from landing, killing all aboard and destroying the shuttle. The difficulty now was that there was no shuttle waiting in the wings to go back and get the three left on the space station. This is the story of their adventure, as well as the dangers they faced everyday on the station if just one little thing went wrong. They had only themselves to fix it. Houston and Moscow were very worried about getting them home, and of course their families were worried. Ultimately, they had to depend upon Russian rockets, more like the initial ones used by Mercury, to take replacement people up to the station and bring the three home.

  • Chris
    2019-03-09 13:16

    The book documents the lives of the three men aboard the International Space Station around the time of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. It is a fascinating and chilling account of what it is like to live in space - 'the best part of lonely'. To live in complete seclusion with mother earth as a backdrop; no traffic to get stuck in, no rain to soak you, no hustle and bustle; to be away from all that is familiar and taken for granted: family, friends, weather, gravity, running water, sipping coffee from a cup, the contact of a mattress, a head on a pillow, to soak in a hot bath. To discover what it is like to be truly alone with one's thoughts: to see the world as very few fortunate souls see it, and adapt to it's environment - sleeping afloat in a bag, eating liquid, swallowing tooth paste, permanent sinuses blockage, a contracted spine, a toilet from hell - until it becomes first nature; only to then leave that life behind.

  • Victor T.
    2019-03-14 20:36

    The book is not easy to review. Too much detail in some sections, too "florid" (as said by another reviewer) in others, but at the same time a really useful, comprehensive history of efforts to learn the survivability of space in long-term missions. Interesting in contrasting the fatalism of the Russian space programme to the blind optimism of the American, where the Challenger and Columbia disasters threatened the public support of the programme. Un-put-downable for about the last third of the book. What we learn, to paraphrase the words of Q, from Star Trek TNG, is that "it's not safe out there". The author also raises the nice question of how will spacemen be able to survive on other worlds as close as Mars, if a six-month mission leaves them so deconditioned that after they land back on Earth they mostly stay flat on their backs on the ground awaiting recovery. No match for little green men.

  • Shannon
    2019-03-08 18:37

    I was a little disappointed in this book. I really wanted to like it, and was excited to read it after having read the initial article in Esquire magazine (which can be found online here). The book started out strong, and I liked the historical information about the American and Russian space programs, but I felt there was too much inferences drawn from the personal lives of the three men. It was strange to read of their thoughts and feelings when the book was written by a third party; it just didn't feel sincere and a lot of it seemed to be filler. Particularly annoying to me was the emphasis on the drama of relying on the Russian Soyuz vehicles, when these days that's all NASA has (for the moment). It's not a bad book, but the Esquire article was excellent; I'd recommend the article to everyone and the book just to those who are really interested in low-earth orbit exploration.

  • Margaret
    2019-03-13 20:13

    DNF. After 100 pages I just had to throw in the towel on this one. I am very interested in learning more about the story of the three astronauts who were on the space station when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated, but this book just is not very good. There is a lot of unnecessary filler and just over the top descriptive passages that sometimes just don't make any sense. There are also some just preposterous statements that are stated as unquestionable facts--like 'city kids don't have the room nor any need to dream'. Really? Who in their right mind would say that? At any rate, I just got fed up with how much muck there was to wade through to get to the real story.Apparently the book is an elaboration of an article Chris Jones wrote for Esquire magazine. It may be worth searching this out to see if it is more succinct

  • Earlwalkinkle
    2019-03-02 14:34

    A story about life and death in space, if you've ever wondered what it's like to be an astronaut, to live at Station for a day, this is one of the most in-depth books I've ever read about day-to-day life for an astronaut, what it's like to float in their moon boots, both physically and mentally. This book completely changed the way I thought about the space program, I have nothing but respect for NASA and their endeavors into space!I strongly recommend listening to these songs while reading:(Launch. Arrival. Station.) MUSE - Sing For Absolution(EVA.) MUSE - Fury(Mental Breakdown. Station.) MUSE - The Gallery(Explosion. Death.) MUSE - Space Dementia(Lonliness. Longing. Depression.) MUSE - Hyper Chondriac Music(Space Dementia. Agoraphobia.) MUSE - Forced In (Re-Entry.) MUSE - Sing For Absolution(Crash Landing) MUSE - Shrinking Universe

  • Abby Johnson
    2019-02-25 19:15

    I didn't know how interested in space I was until I read this book! Chris Jones breezes over the history of the space race in this book, but he concentrates on a 2003 mission that sent three astronauts to live in space for several months. These three astronauts were supposed to come home on the Columbia. But on February 1, 2003, Columbia was destroyed upon reentering the earth's atmosphere, killing the seven astronauts on board. The three men aboard the Interational Space Station were left stranded with no telling when they would be able to come home.Usually with books like this I end up skipping big chunks of the more factual historical stuff. Jones does a good job of keeping it all interesting, though. He breaks up the sections and, though it sometimes felt like he was skipping around a lot, it makes the facts a lot easier to read. I'm pegging this for an Alex award!

  • Tyler
    2019-03-24 21:37

    Synopsis: When the Columbia space shuttle disintegrated on its return to earth there were three astronauts orbiting the earth in the International Space Station. Once the disaster struck nobody knew for a long time how or when these men would get home. This book focuses on the lives, careers and time spent in space of the Americans Don Petit and Ken Bowersox and the Russian Nikolai Budarin. At the time, the International Space Station was fairly new, as was spending long amounts of time in space. It was supposed to be a routine 14 week mission, which turned out to be much longer.My Review: It took me a while to really get into this book, and it took me longer than I would have liked to finish it, but I did enjoy it. It's not really a thriller, but it is centered around events that most of us probably remember.

  • Joe
    2019-03-16 21:38

    This is a fascinating story of the incredible experience of the three astronauts who were faced with an extended stay on the International Space Station after the last shuttle disaster. The story of their preparation, journey to and from, experiences in the station, and their dramatic return to earth are presented very well in this book. The only thing missing is a little more input from the astronauts themselves into the story, but otherwise it is easy and fascinating to read, it doesn't get dry or overly engrossed in technical details, although some are provided. There are frightening, heartbreaking, inspiring, and humorous moments that the author does a tremendous job of telling the story.