The Last American Hero: The Remarkable Life of John Glenn

Chicago Review. Nov. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781641602136. $30. SCI
Along with Neil Armstrong, long revered as the first man on the moon, John H. Glenn, Jr. (1921–2016) is arguably one of the most famous and beloved astronauts. Historian George (The Assassination of John F. Kennedy) explores the fascinating life of Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. From his Norman Rockwell childhood in Ohio, to his daring escapades as a marine fighter pilot during World War II, to his storied career as an astronaut, and to his four-term service as a U.S. senator, the stalwart and amiable husband and father proved time and again that he had the mettle and experience to take on a variety of challenges throughout his life. When he was chosen as part of the first group of astronauts—the Mercury 7—he captured the media spotlight and the public’s imagination with his caring manner and his record-breaking space flight, hallmarks of his heroism.
VERDICT While Glenn and Nick Taylor’s biography John Glenn: A Memoir and Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff offer more details about NASA and Glenn’s role in the Space Race, George provides interesting insights into the mark he left on American culture.
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