This week’s other featured books, “Without Her,” by Rosalind Brackenbury and “Hope: A History of the Future,” by G.G. Kellner, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.
THE BOOK: Far Side of the Moon: Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and the Woman Who Gave Him Wings.
PUBLISHED IN: 2021
THE AUTHOR: Liisa Jorgensen
THE EDITOR: Jerome Pohlen
THE PUBLISHER: Chicago Review Press
SUMMARY: The decades-long love story of a NASA commander and the leader of the Astronaut Wives Club.
Far Side of the Moon is the untold, fully authorized story of the lives of Frank and Susan Borman. One was a famous astronaut—an instrumental part of the Apollo space program—but the other was just as much a warrior. This real-life love story is far from a fairy tale.
Life as a military wife was beyond demanding, but Susan always rose to the occasion. When Frank joined NASA and was selected to command the first mission to orbit the moon, that meant putting on a brave face for the world as her husband risked his life for the space race. The pressure and anxiety were overwhelming, and eventually Susan’s well-hidden depression and alcoholism finally came to light. Frank had to come to terms with how his “mission above all else” mentality contributed to his wife’s suffering. As Susan healed, she was able to begin helping others who suffered in silence from mental illness and addiction.
Discover how Frank and Susan’s love and commitment to each other is still overcoming life’s challenges, even beyond their years as an Apollo commander and the founder of the Astronaut Wives Club.
THE BACK STORY: I have worked as a story editor and production manager for an Emmy award winning film company for the last 20 years. We are always looking for unbelievable non-fiction stories, and I felt on a gut level that I found that when I came across Frank and Susan’s beautiful story. There have been many books written about the Apollo space program, but not through the eyes of the women and children that were experiencing it in a different way. I wanted to be the one to do that.
The process from idea to publication took 2 years. I had to get Frank and Susan’s support to begin with, and when I got the green light on that I dived into the research. Because of that relationship and the doors that it opened, I was able to interview and speak candidly with the astronaut wives that are still with us. It was a privilege to talk to these amazing women. The idea never changed. I knew the story I wanted to tell, and my publisher supported it.
WHY THIS TITLE?: When Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman first saw the far side of the moon it was like nothing on earth. Nothing was that desolate. Nothing was that alone. It was a harsh place with no color – just grey that went on forever. It was the only time during that historic voyage that all communication was cut off from NASA and everything that connected him to home.
We have those times in every life. Times when we have a “loss of signal” and can’t see anything but the void. For the crew of Apollo 8, that period of disconnection from the world they left behind in December of 1968 lasted about forty-seven minutes every time they made the revolution around the moon to its far side and were cut off from everything and everyone that they loved. All of the technology that got them there couldn’t reach them in that place.
For those of us that experience that disconnection in our own lives – the abyss can last for much longer. It might seem that the loss of signal is permanent. But it never is.
After we finally come around to the other side and see the light, we look back and realise how sometimes the desolation can be beautiful. We can see what it taught us. What we learned.
As we gaze ahead to the brilliant colors in front of us – beautiful earth – we appreciate it even more for having lost it for a while.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This is an unvarnished, never-before told story that chronicles the epic 8-decade love affair of Frank and Susan Borman that takes an honest look behind the celebrity of the Apollo space program. Since the Apollo program ended in 1972, no personal account of this type has been written. It covers everything from the high-stakes NASA environment to relationship, addiction recovery, mental illness, Alzheimer’s, American history, and faith.
“This is a true love story—it has it all: adventure, sacrifice, fear, perseverance, redemption and heartbreak.” — Dee O’Hara, nurse to the astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs
“This exceptional book presents the true perspective of those intense, high-energy, high-visibility years of Apollo, especially the challenging roles of the families. Susan and Frank Borman were leaders in the community, respected and admired by all—and this book will tell you why. As a husband, an astronaut, and a manager, Frank Borman was a true leader, the epitome of ‘Stand by Me.’ And Susan’s story is the most accurate description of the lives of the ‘astronaut wives’ I have ever read, from the glory of success to the grievance of loss. Enjoy this insightful book, and you will learn more about the human story of Apollo, especially about many of us who were fortunate to have participated.” — David Scott, astronaut on Gemini VIII, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15
“Countless books have been published about the Apollo era, but this one stands apart, highlighting the “ride” taken by an Apollo family. The author shares the ride in wonderful detail, bringing the reader along on the very personal voyage of Susan Borman, who gave Frank wings. This is Susan’s story, well told and well deserved.” —Michael Collins, astronaut on Gemini X, Apollo 11
AUTHOR PROFILE: LIISA JORGENSEN has worked as a writer and story editor on a diverse variety of film and television productions for Myth Merchant Films for over 20 years. She believes in the power of story and its ability to help audiences transform and become better humans. She is especially interested in ending the stigmas associated with mental illness and disorders, as well as highlighting those who serve a greater good and live for something other than themselves. Liisa is the author of the new book, Far Side of the Moon: Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman and the Woman Who Gave Him Wings. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: One of the reasons I was so passionate about writing Frank and Susan Borman’s story from Susan’s perspective is because I felt that she, along with all the other astronaut wives hadn’t been represented in the way I felt they should be. I related the most to Susan and couldn’t imagine how internally strong you have to be to hide your mental illness from everyone, because she truly had no choice. There was no one to talk to, and the shame that came with admitting something like that in the intense environment at NASA she lived with daily would eventually lead to her breakdown.
For more information, visit Far-Side-of-the-Moon.com.
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