Synopses & Reviews
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life
magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.
Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the Moon.
As their celebrity rose — and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives — they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. The Astronaut Wives Club tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.
"The men catapulted into space in the 20th century were interesting, sort of. The women they left back on earth were fascinating....A lively account of how the wives coped with fame, fear, [and] loneliness." People
"This is one of those light, tasty summer reads you'll guzzle down like a milk shake." Entertainment Weekly
"Breezy and entertaining...[Koppel] deserves credit for recognizing the richness of the subject matter. More than 50 years after its inception, many of us now take the space program for granted, but Koppel reminds readers just how bold and innovative it felt in the Sputnik era, and how mysterious the wilderness of space remains....Koppel is chronicling a cultural moment more than any particular person, and in this she excels. The details are superb, from the ham loaves the women cooked to the Virginia Slims they chain-smoked, the fur hot pants and the Pucci dresses they wore, the luaus and shrimp-boil parties they threw, and the Mercury-capsule-shaped community swimming pool they shared." Curtis Sittenfeld, Washington Post
"A remarkable story of perseverance and friendship in a time when women had few rights." The Daily Beast
"A fair and accomplished reporter....Lily Koppel offers a grounded, irresistible and sociable social history....Koppel's book deftly delivers The Wife Stuff....Koppel does an excellent job of capturing a group portrait with enough highlights, low points, sunny spots and shadows for individual features to emerge....The Astronaut Wives Club is wholly and consistently in Koppel's voice: smart, evocative, informed and warm — an electric fireside chat with the women who put men on the moon." Chicago Tribune
"[A] true (juicy) story. Gotta love non-fiction that feels like a beach read: Lily Koppel's The Astronaut Wives Club chronicles the wives of 1960s astronauts....Put down that mystery and pick up some history!" Redbook
"[A] fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the women married to the astronauts....Impressive." The Dallas Morning News
"[An] entertaining and quirky throwback....This is truly a great snapshot of the times." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Engaging....[Koppel] hits the mark, crafting an exceptional story that seriously examines the imperfection and humanity of America's heroic astronauts, their wives, and their families. This work will hold vast appeal for armchair historians, and those interested in feminism, women's history, and 20th-century history." Library Journal (starred review)
"Insightful social history with a light touch." Kirkus
"Mad Men fans and history buffs alike won't want to miss a new book about...the lives of the astronauts' wives....We meet the Mercury Seven women in the first chapter of The Astronaut Wives Club, and author Lily Koppel does a nice job of staying close to their stories. By the time you see the women's faces in the pictures, you'll feel like you're a member of the gang....It's hard to believe no one has already written their story, and this reader is glad Koppel finally did." BookPage
Discover the true story of the women who stood beside some of the greatest heroes of American space travel in this New York Times bestseller that delivers "a truly great snapshot of the times" (Publishers Weekly)--now a limited TV series on ABC
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons.
Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; JFK made it clear that platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was his favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived with a secret that needed to stay hidden from NASA. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, providing one another with support and friendship, coffee and cocktails.
As their celebrity rose--and as divorce and tragedy began to touch their lives--the wives continued to rally together, forming bonds that would withstand the test of time, and they have stayed friends for over half a century.
*Includes reading group guide*
About the Author
Lily Koppel is the bestselling author of The Red Leather Diary. She has written for the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Huffington Post, and Glamour.