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The Astronaut Wives Club

Lily Koppel

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Biography: general, Memoirs, Prose: non-fiction, History of the Americas

The true story of the wives behind the American Space Race, the challenges they faced in the '50s and '60s, and the forty-year friendship that bound them together.

As American astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from shy military spouses to American royalty: having tea with Jackie Kennedy, attending high society galas, and being featured on the cover of Life magazine. They quickly grew into fashion icons, donning sherbet-swirled Pucci dresses and lacquering their hair into extravagant rocket styles (to match their husbands' spaceships).

Annie Glenn was the envy of the other wives, with her many magazine features; platinum-blonde bombshell Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favourite; homely Betty Grissom worried her husband was having affairs; Louise Shepard just wanted to be left alone to her card games; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a dirty secret. Together they rallied to form the Astronaut Wives Club, which has now turned into over 40 years of enduring friendship.

Sexy and sophisticated, rich in melodrama, and set against the uniquely atmospheric backdrop of the Space Race, THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB tells the real story behind some of the biggest heroes in American history, chronicling their romantic, domestic, and public dramas during the Mad Men era.

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Lily Koppel

Lily Koppel is the author of THE READ LEATHER DIARY: RECLAIMING A LIFE THROUGH THE PAGES OF A LOST JOURNAL. She writes for the New York Times, and her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, the Huffington Post, and Glamour.

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