The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel gives us a fascinating insight into the world of some of the most famous women of the fifties, sixties and seventies.
The wives of the first set of men chosen to leave the planet in the 1950s were in for a shock as they went from wives of financially struggling, military men to wives of the most admired men in the United States of America. Having to up sticks and move their families was only the start for these women and that was something most of them were used to. What they weren’t prepared for was being stalked by the press, hounded at the supermarket, suddenly having political clout and meeting the likes of Kings and Presidents.
Soon a contract was signed with Life Magazine, giving them exclusive access to the wives and supplying them with money they could only have dreamt of. For the first time in their lives they could afford to spend money but soon they found wherever they went they were given dresses, home accessories and even houses. Life Magazine protected the women but also portrayed the image that NASA felt suitable. Behind every closed door, the women still felt the watchful eyes of NASA, knowing that any stresses at home would reflect badly on their husbands and therefore their chances of being chosen for a mission. While women’s liberation spread across the land, the astronaut’s wives were encouraged to smile, not cause their husbands any stress, ignore their cheating and play happy families no matter what.
Only after the first death in their community did the wives realise how much they needed each other. How only they could support each other and that their unique situation was something they could embrace. From then on, lifelong relationships were forged.
Written with tenderness and obvious care for the women, this biography of the astronaut wives is fascinating and uplifting. Although you feel their repression as their lives first change they all look back on the era with fond memories, as one of the best periods in their life. As time passed and America got used to the novelty of space travel, some of the women managed to make a name for themselves, in careers they had only dreamt of before. Although many at the time may have seen them as old-fashioned they took their positions as wives seriously and you cannot help but admire their strength. These women were thrown into fame and had a world watching their every move, especially on the most stressful days of the lives as their men went into space. This book not only helps you to imagine their situation but exposes them as the incredible group of women they were.
Buy The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel