Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s courageous, candid memoir of his return to Earth after the historic moon landing and his personal struggle with fame and depression.
“We landed with all the grace of a freight elevator,” Buzz Aldrin relates in the opening passages of Return to Earth, remembering Command Module Columbia’s abrupt descent into the gravity of the blue planet. With that splash, Aldrin takes readers on a journey through the human side of the space program, as one of the first two men to land on the moon learns to cope with the pressures of his new public persona.
In honest and compelling prose, Aldrin reveals a side of instant fame for which West Point and NASA could never have prepared him. One day a fighter pilot and engineer, the next a cultural hero burdened with the adoration of thousands, Aldrin gives a poignant account of the affair that threatened his marriage, as well as his descent into alcoholism and depression that resulted from trying to be too many things to too many people.
He didn’t realize that when he landed on his home planet his odyssey had just begun. As Aldrin puts it, “I traveled to the moon, but the most significant voyage of my life began when I returned from where no man had been before.”
Return to Earth is a powerful and moving memoir that exposes the stresses suffered by those in the Apollo program and the price Buzz Aldrin paid when he became an American icon.