This is a very engaging, inspirational and detailed memoir from astronaut Tim Peake, who was the first British person recruited by the European Space Agency. He lived on board the International Space Station for six months. But how did it all happen? The book includes everything you’d want to know about what it’s like to train as an astronaut and go into space, but the focus is on his life before this. I’d say that the majority of the book is about his Army career, which mostly seemed to consist of lots of training (he eventually became a qualified helicopter instructor) and elaborate pranks. His time in the military was excellent preparation for being an astronaut, although unlike some, going into space wasn’t an early ambition.
The writing style of this book is clear and infused with gritty humour. It’s very readable. If you have a phobia of helicopters, you probably shouldn’t read it. Tim is very enthusiastic about a lot of things but especially helicopters. There is so much about them that if I was given a helicopter to pilot right now, I’m sure I could do it. How hard could it be?
For me, the book was a little too long. However, there are many mentions of family, friends and colleagues, so I’m picturing them all reading about themselves. Maybe it had to be that long, to fit everyone in. It’s a very honest book, in which he admits his own mistakes and what he learned from them. This is the second astronaut memoir I’ve read, after Buzz Aldrin’s book. The two are very different, as Tim’s is about his life leading up to his peak (Peake?) moment – being in space – while Buzz’s is about what happened after his career highlight.
First published in 2020.