The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story
By Lily Koppel
Grand Central Publishing, 2014. 320 pgs. Nonfiction
Lily Koppel’s New York Times bestselling book is about the wives of the first American astronauts. The story begins with Louise Shepard -- whose husband was the first American in space -- Betty Grissom, Rene Carpenter, Jo Schirra, Marge Slayton, Annie Glenn, and Trudy Cooper who were the wives of the Mercury seven astronauts. These women were the first members of the Astronaut Wives Club, as well as the the first women to discover the ups and downs of being married to an American hero. Kopple’s story then expands to include the wives of the Gemini and Apollo Astronauts who pioneered everything from two-man space flights to moon landings. Koppel uses articles from Life Magazine as well as journal entries and letters to show what life was like for these fascinating women both while they were on the national stage and when they were behind closed doors.
Kopple’s book was a fun read. I enjoyed the overall look at American culture in the 1960s and 70s almost as much as the interesting little peeks into the lives of each individual woman. However, Kopple did have quite a bit of material to cover in so few pages and readers can tell. Although Kopple’s book is at times too much fact without enough story, it was still worth reading. I would especially suggest this book to readers interested in space, women in history, 1960s American culture, and of course any fans of the recently adapted television show.