Apollo Pilot

  • by Donn Eisele
  • Narrated by Kevin Pierce
  • 5 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In October 1968 Donn Eisele flew with fellow astronauts Walt Cunningham and Wally Schirra into Earth orbit in Apollo 7. The first manned mission in the Apollo program and the first manned flight after a fire during a launch pad test killed three astronauts in early 1967, Apollo 7 helped restart NASA's manned-spaceflight program.
Known to many as a goofy, lighthearted prankster, Eisele worked his way from the US Naval Academy to test pilot school and then into the select ranks of America's prestigious astronaut corps. He was originally on the crew of Apollo 1 before being replaced due to injury. After that crew died in a horrific fire, Eisele was on the crew selected to return Americans to space. Despite the success of Apollo 7, Eisele never flew in space again, as divorce and a testy crew commander led to the three astronauts being labeled as troublemakers.
Unbeknownst to everyone, after his retirement as a technical assistant for manned spaceflight at NASA's Langley Research Center in 1972, Eisele wrote in detail about his years in the Air Force and his time in the Apollo program. Long after his death, Francis French discovered Eisele's unpublished memoir. Listeners can now experience an Apollo story they assumed would never be written as well as the story behind its discovery.

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What the Critics Say

"A posthumous memoir gives an unsung astronaut his due." (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

First hand account of space

Apollo 7 was the first manned Apollo mission into space, and did a significant amount of testing and prep work ahead of the famous Apollo 11 moon landing. Without this flight the more famous later flight would not have happened. And this is the first hand account of that flight.

Compiled from several incomplete attempts at writing a memoir, "Apollo Pilot" is a posthumous account of Donn Eisele's 1968 space flight in Apollo 7. The majority of the book (about 2/3rds of the already short book) covers the preparation, takeoff, flight in space and return, but covers little of Eisele's life after the flight. It also includes a post script by Eisele's second wife providing details about how and when he wrote the memoir, as well as details on his treatment by NASA (and her treatment as the first of the "second wives" by the Astronaut Wives Club). It also includes a historical section, written by Francis French, regarding the history of the space race and Apollo 7's importance within the whole story.

The book is short but doesn't fell like it is missing anything significant. It provides more than enough detail get an understanding of the flight and Eisele's impressions of the Apollo rocket, NASA etc. It's engaging and interesting throughout. A quick, interesting read.

Narration by Kevin Pierce is good. Well paced, engaging and easy to listen to. I have listening to a fair few books by Pierce and have enjoyed some more than others. This is one of his I really enjoyed, as I often find him much better on non-fiction books.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
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- Kingsley

A Hero I Knew Little About

Where does Apollo Pilot rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In Biographical audio books, within the Top Five.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Apollo Pilot?

In a general sense, a fresh look at the early days of manned space flight.


Have you listened to any of Kevin Pierce’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Oh yes. Kevin consistently adds so much to the titles he chooses to work on. His voice is like a combination of a comfortable easy chair and favorite sweater. Listeners can feel confident that his storytelling will be first rate.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was actually able to do just that. I recall the space race vividly from my youth.


Any additional comments?

An interesting perspective, a fresh one for anyone interested in the subject. The pioneers in space were true heroes. Donn Eisele's story gives the human side of that group's public adulation and their All American personas.


Thanks for the opportunity to review it!

This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost. Which I can only assume was voluntary on their part. I am happy to give my honest review of it. I think I'm suppose to mention how reviewing this was voluntary on my part too.

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- in1ear (John Row)

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-04-2017
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks