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Monday, January 02, 2017

Now Reading...The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

And thoroughly enjoying so far! 

When you do the whole "sensawunda" thing about the early space program, you think about the magnificent men in their flying machines zooming off into space. You don't think immediately about the women who had already spent years as the wives of test pilots, more or less bringing up the kids alone, wondering every day if their men would ever come home. The women who often worked at low-paying jobs to help their husbands finish their degrees while giving up their own education. 

And suddenly they were in the spotlight, with journalists and photographers camping out in their gardens or out in the street, and there was a deal with Life Magazine, so you had to be available for family shots and interviews. It wasn't all bad, of course. The pay was a lot better. They could afford stuff they hadn't been able to afford before, maybe even go out for a night on the town and to pay a babysitter! 

What I hadn't realised was that they were important to NASA too. The astronauts were not just chosen for themselves. This was going to be huge publicity. They had to be married - happily married. The wives had to be respectable - and patriotic. A man's chance of getting the astronaut gig actually depended on his wife. In one case, that of Gordo Cooper of the Mercury Seven, his wife had left him, taking the kids, and he had to go after her and beg her to return. Trudy Cooper was a strong woman, herself a qualified pilot who flew a lot. She was persuaded to return.The whole space thing was irresistible. 

I haven't read far, but I think this is going to be a fascinating book! 

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