The All-American Boys

  • by Walter Cunningham
  • Narrated by Walter Cunningham
  • 21 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The All-American Boys is a no-holds-barred candid memoir by a former Marine jet jockey and physicist who became NASA's second civilian astronaut. Walter Cunningham presents the astronauts in all their strengths and their weaknesses in this dramatically revised and totally updated edition of a book that was considered an instant classic in its first edition over two decades ago. From its insider's view of the pervasive "astropolitics" that guided the functioning of the astronaut corps to its thoughtful discussion of the Columbia tragedy, The All-American Boys resonates with Cunningham's passion for humanity's destiny in space which endures today.
This is not just a "tell-all" book. It is also a story of the triumph of American heroes. Cunningham brings us into the NASA training program and reveals what it takes physically and mentally to be an astronaut. He poignantly relates the story of the devastating Apollo 1 fire that took the lives of astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee and his own later successful flight on Apollo 7--the longest, most ambitious, and most successful first test flight any new machine - ever.
This new edition includes an update of the manned space program and his "tell it like it is" observation of NASA's successes and failures. It also includes commentary on the Shuttle disasters Of Challenger and Columbia and his views on what NASA should be doing to get back on track and to regain public support.


What the Critics Say

"The most realistic look yet at astronaut life." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"The best of all the astronaut books..." (Los Angeles Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Walt Speaks the Truth

If you could sum up The All-American Boys in three words, what would they be?

Honest, Interesting, Opinionated

What other book might you compare The All-American Boys to and why?

Riding Rockets, Carrying the Fire

What does Walter Cunningham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Hearing Walt tell his own story, with his little inflections and snickers, along with hearing a very serious voice at times, allows you to really understand his feelings

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

How the early astronauts were thrust into the world of celebrity while making government pay and realizing that they could die at any time without having the benefit of anyone offering them life insurance

Any additional comments?

Walt at his opinionated best. When this book first was published in the 1970's, it was the first book to feature the astronauts as they really were. His perspective on the space program after he left where we have given so much technology to the Russians is shot from the hip and to the point. I highly recommend the audio book as well as the printed version

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- Tracy T. Kornfeld

WARNING: Loooooong diatribe

This book is about 27 hours long, written and read by the author without the help of a ghostwriter. I love space, and learning about it, and have listened to a lot of space-related audibles. You can definitely learn something, and it's interesting in the beginning when he's still in the program. But still, his personal biases and opinions are way to prevalent. Nothing wrong with opinions, but the problem is, he flew to space once, wasn't allowed to fly again, and spends the rest of the book either complaining about the politics of the one flight, or playing Monday morning quarterback to NASA long after he quit the agency. It just got intolerable and I had to hang it up, but I really tried to keep listening. But the bottom line, the book is about: longing for the glory day, complaining about politics, and playing Monday morning quarterback. Either listen to only the first 10 hours or so, or find yourself another book about this era, there are plenty, even by other astronauts.
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- Sean D. Mcclinton "Health Guru"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-24-2012
  • Publisher: Open Book Audio