On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became a national star. That morning at Cape Canaveral, a small-town boy from Ohio took his place atop a rocket and soared into orbit to score a victory in the heavily contested Cold War. The television images were blurry black-and-white phantoms. The cameras shook as the rocket moved, but by the end of the day, one thing was clear: a new hero rode that rocket and became the center of the world’s attention for the four hours and fifty-five minutes of his flight. From that day forward, Glenn restively wore the hero label. Refusing to let that dramatic day define his life, he went on to become a four-term US senator—and returned to space at the age of seventy-seven. He was a creation of the media, in some ways, but he was also a product of the Cold War. At a time when increasingly cynical Americans need heroes, his aura burns brightly in American memory.
About the Author
Alice L. George is a historian and served as a senior editor at the Charlotte (NC) News, the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, the Detroit Free Press, and the Philadelphia Daily News. She has authored or coauthored seven books, including The Cuban Missile Crisis and The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. She lives in Philadelphia.
“Alice George’s superbly written biography provides a fair, accurate, and insightful account of all John Glenn’s careers—as Marine pilot, astronaut, politician, and American hero.” —Michael J. Neufeld, curator at the National Air and Space Museum and author of Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War
“John H. Glenn Jr.—United States Marine, combat pilot, Mercury and shuttle astronaut, US senator from Ohio—a ‘Greatest Generation’ American and hero.” —Rudy deLeon, former Deputy Secretary of Defense
"Today, it seems, we cherish our cinema superheroes, forgetting that people like John Glenn used to walk among us—and probably still do." —Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist American Museum of Natural History, Author of Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
“Alice George has the ‘Right Stuff’ to tell the amazing tale of this extraordinary fighter pilot, astronaut, and US senator.” —Ron Grimes, John Glenn’s Senate Legislative Director
"A well-informed biography that presents its subject in a golden light." —Kirkus Reviews
"Time’s “Colonel Wonderful” receives a new biographical treatment in The Last American Hero, which positions him as an adventurer, a statesman, and a role model." —Foreword Reviews
"George (Awaiting Armageddon, 2006) scrupulously details Glenn’s transformation from his Ohio farm upbringing." —Booklist