Look, I get that things were different in 1978 (things = women in the workplace, and the men who harassed them). And they weren’t greatly improved by 2006 (when Mullane wrote this book) or even now. But this is a 400 page book about going into freaking space, and 75% of it is either Mullane and his cronies acting sexist, OR Mullane pointing out sexism in others (while totally making sexist cracks of his own). When you point one finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back to you, Mike.
“We were like the Mount Everest climbers stepping over frozen corpses from prior climbing disasters in our quest for the summit. Like those climbers, we were motivated by a fear far greater than death—the fear of not reaching the top.”
In 1978, Mullane and 34 others (known as TFNGs, or The Fucking New Guys) became the first class of space shuttle astronauts. 29 men, 6 women — including Sally Ride. 4 of these astronauts would end up dying on The Challenger, including Mullane’s close friend Judy Resnik (my favorite part of the book — she sounds like a bad ass. he spends a lot of time talking about how pretty she was).
Mullane takes us through his personal history, the astronaut selection process, the experiences of his failed launches and real successes. A lot of it is interesting, and he occasionally comes off as charming, but he definitely has this air of asshole-ness that just permeates the book. He talks a lot about how the male astronauts have serious cases of Arrested Development, but he wears it like a badge of honor. He has an interesting story to tell, but I hated the way he told it.