The Astronaut Wives Club (A True Story) by Lily Koppel

The austronaut wives club, Lily Koppel, Book JOurney, audio

Thank you to my friend Gail for recommending this one to me!  ~Sheila

1959.  We have all heard of the astronauts that have graced our history books… the first man in space, the first on the moon, those who followed, those… who did not make it.

Starting with project Mercury behind each of these original 7 men were 7 women who suddenly found themselves the center of the world’s attention.  What did they eat for breakfast?  How did they raise their children?  What were their greatest fears?  Their greatest triumphs?  It was all a bit much to be under this constant magnifying glass by NASA as well as the public.  These wives were expected to be perfect, look perfect.  After all… they were representing America.

Some of them thrived in the lime light, other worked hard to keep the details of their marriage under wraps.  The world expected nothing but perfection.  This led to the women creating the Astronaut’s Wives Club.  Together the women supported one another as each man went into space.  They were their, first and foremost, when as it happened, that the husband did not come back.

The wives from Project Mercury, The Kennedy Years, Gemini Missions, and finally the Apollo program were women who didn’t sign up for this assignment but they received it any way.  Some eventually divorced, and one, can not handle the great price her husband paid.  All….

had a story to tell.

This audio book was amazing.  It was so interesting to learn about the women behind the names we know.  If you think it is hard to be shot into space… imagine being the wife left back here on earth trying to hold it together while cameras and reporters are everywhere (even in your house) can capture your every emotion.

I really enjoyed listening to this in audio format.  Narrator Orlagh Cassidy is a new narrator to me and perfect for this book.  In fact many times I checked the case to read her name trying to submit it to memory so I can look up what else she narrates.  (For the record, it looks like she narrates many David Baldachi books).  Her smooth voice flowed through this listen, never a flaw.

I highly recommend this book or audio to those who enjoy non fiction history.  The book is like reading a fiction novel, it is not a difficult read at all and I enjoy spending time with these amazing women.

Side note:  I just read that this became a series on ABC, Thursdays 8/7c starting on June 18th.   Might be interesting!

  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 46 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged


Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Unabridged edition (June 18, 2013)

27 thoughts on “The Astronaut Wives Club (A True Story) by Lily Koppel

  1. I haven’t read this or watched the show. I need to do both since I loved a similar book, The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit

  2. I watched about ten minutes of the premeire because I wanted to see how they addressed Annie Glenn’s “issues”. I loved the book “The Right Stuff”: it was very respectful. This show is a bad knockoff of MadMen meets Wisteria Lane…..

  3. I didn’t realize this was non-fiction, I thought it was a fictionalization. I just finished watching the first 2 episodes of the show and it was good. Love the clothes and sets, too!

  4. This was a book club read for me last fall. I enjoyed reading about the wives. And I am old enough to have been a young wife when this was all happening. I love Orlagh Cassidy’s narration. We have listened to lots of David Baldacci books that she reads in tandem with Ron McLarty. I haven’t started watching the show, I may not.

  5. I’ve been wanting to read this book. I just started watching the TV series (did you know they made it into a TV show?). It’s interesting so far. I never thought about the wives and families of the astronauts being in the spotlight.

    Great review!


  6. I haven’t read the book but it is on my list. I’m DVRing the show but haven’t had time to watch it yet! Ugh. I’m in the season of baseball with my kids but it’s almost over!

  7. I had no idea this was a book! I just saw the first episode a couple of days ago, and am hooked! I now have to read the book and compare how the show follows the storyline. Awesome review!!

  8. My book club really enjoyed this book and it was fascinating to read about life as the wife of the astronauts, especially those first ones. The tv show? Not so much. They are really playing up the salacious bits, not sticking so much to the facts, and the look of it doesn’t feel really true to the time.

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