Magnificent Desolation

  • by Buzz Aldrin, Ken Abraham
  • 14 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Forty years ago, Buzz Aldrin became the second human, minutes after Neil Armstrong, to set foot on a celestial body other than the Earth. The event remains one of mankind's greatest achievements and was witnessed by the largest worldwide television audience in history. In the years since, millions more have had their Earth-centric perspective unalterably changed by the iconic photograph of Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon, the blackness of space behind him and his fellow explorer and the Eagle reflected in his visor. Describing the alien world he was walking upon, he uttered the words "magnificent desolation." And as the astronauts later sat in the Eagle, waiting to begin their journey back home, knowing that they were doomed unless every system and part on board worked flawlessly, it was Aldrin who responded to Mission Control's clearance to take off with the quip, "Roger. Understand. We're number one on the runway."The flight of Apollo 11 made Aldrin one of the most famous persons on our planet, yet few people know the rest of this true American hero's story. In Magnificent Desolation, Aldrin not only gives us a harrowing first-person account of the lunar landing that came within seconds of failure and the ultimate insider's view of life as one of the superstars of America's space program, he also opens up with remarkable candor about his more personal trials - and eventual triumphs - back on Earth.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An AA Memoir

Four decades ago we "older guys" saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon. It was one of the most exciting days of our lives and will never be fogotten. The first 20% of Magnificent Desolation tells that story and what a story it is. The middle of the book tells of Aldrin's battle with depression and alcohol. The last pages relate his ideas about the future of NASA and space flight.

This book is not worthy of a man with a PhD from MIT and the military rank he attained. There were no new insights in the voyage to the moon. The story about his depression and alcohol addiction came off as self serving and the sections on how NASA might enhance the space program read like sour grapes. The ability and thoughtfulness of this great American should have shown much brighter. He deserves a better legacy.

Otherwise,for readers who just want to "get to know" this great man, his candor and honesty alone will reward them. It isn't a bad book, it just could have been far more instructive and insightful.

The reading is very good.
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- Roy


This book must be really well written, and is well read, given that it was gripping in parts, and overall enjoyable. Why only 2 stars?
Start with the fact that the first part of the book is great...then you find out that has already been the subject of another book. That has to do with the trip to the moon and his difficulties with depression afterwards.
The middle is long. There is a20-30 minute section on his wife's past. What does that have to do with anything? Do we reallyneed to hear about all the moon references in his engagement and wedding? The man clearly is so full of himself and his trip to the moon, in some respects it is no wonder he had trouble when he got back.
The end is one long rambling dialogue about his vision for space travel. Again, 10-15 minute rehash of his testimony to congress. If i want that, i can probably go into the congressional record and read it myself.
Overall, Buzz comes off as a man who (in his own words) is all about Buzz. Everything is I this and I that. The man made a huge killing off the fact that he happened to be in the right place at the right time. I am a space nut and love all things about Apollo etc, but these guys did not change history based on their actions or decisions like a Roosevelt, Churchhill, or Eisenhower. They were pilots who go to go on the ride of a lifetime. It's no wonder his fellow astraunauts were criticial of him for using his fame.
This isnot as bad as it sounds, as I actually enjoyed the book and found parts gripping, but by the end, i just felt like saying, get a grip buzz, there are more important things then hotels in space.

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- Thomas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-23-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio