One extraordinary journey can often lead to another: in this case, that is what happened.
After we met in Australia in 2000, Story Musgrave and I discovered a mutual passion for literature.
We've been sharing it and creating it together ever since. Much of that is reflected in the
biography - in terms of the focus on Story's creative side, his poetry, his journal entries,
his philosophies and his role as a visionary for the space program.
But the greatest gift for me has been the response from readers. The journey of Story's life,
of success in the face of adversity, has touched so many. It has helped them deal with their
own pain; helped them define their own goals; and it has motivated them and inspired them on
their own journeys. As one reviewer commented: "Don't let anyone say that they failed because
they were dealt a poor set of cards."
ANNE E. LENEHAN
Mid West Book Review
September 2004 issue of the online magazine "Small
Story: The Way Of Water by Australian author Anne Lenehan is the biography of Story Musgrave.
American hero, renaissance man, and arguably NASA's greatest spokesperson, Story Musgrave's
remarkable personality, determination, and talent shine through in this inspirational accounting
of his life and work. Told with detail, yet in a friendly, engrossing style of narration, Story:
The Way Of Water is as enjoyable to read as it is uplifting.
Review by Colin Burgess
Colin Burgess is a space historian and author of over a dozen books including Teacher in
Space: Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger Legacy, and Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who
Died Reaching for the Moon.
His early years were torn apart by paternal abuse, intolerance, alcoholism and a history of
family suicides. Yet, as a small boy who often fled his home at night in despair and confusion,
Story Musgrave found solace, protection and beauty in the world of nature.
Out of necessity, and forced to contend with issues he was far
too young to even comprehend, the future astronaut quickly developed his own defense mechanisms,
teaching himself the basic skills of survival while at the same time immersing himself in the
spectacle of the night sky, and the tranquility of the deep-scented forests that surrounded
his New England home. This childhood affinity with nature and the wonders of the universe would
one day set him on an inexorable course to the stars.Payload Specialist Paul Scully-Power once
told me that Story Musgrave was the most intensely focused and dedicated astronaut he had ever
known, and this is a view held by many contemporaries interviewed by the author of Story:
The Way of Water for this remarkable and inspiring new book. First-time author Anne Lenehan,
despite a commanding background in corporate writing, marketing, poetry and photography, could
hardly have chosen a more complex and impassioned subject for this bountifully successful attempt
at biography. This calm, sagacious man famously transcends the normal expectations; he is one
who has not only accomplished many of the most spectacular feats in spaceflight history, but
has done so with a legendary resolve and determination. Six shuttle missions, and the only person
ever to fly on all of NASA’s orbiters; the man with a history of achievement so prodigious
it is breathtaking. And yet this incredibly professional scientist, record-breaking pilot, engineer
and surgeon, who once trained himself to the point of almost losing his fingers to frostbite,
has the soul, voice and eloquence of a poet.
Story is an undoubted child of nature; he allows the reader to be easily
swept up in all that inspires him. We learn his views on the awesome power, unambiguous dangers
and incredible beauty of flying into space, and then we pause beside him as he rescues a tiny
tree from a crack in a city pavement and lovingly transplants it in his own home acreage,
to survive, grow and flourish. It is an appropriate metaphor for Story’s own life. We
discover that even today he still rides a gentle tide of compulsion, which invokes in him
a restless and relentless curiosity that can only be purged through constantly challenging
Be warned, however: this remarkable book is not your standard, chronological biography. The
author slowly and delicately unfurls Story Musgrave’s life for us at a carefully measured
pace, allowing us to experience and savor his innermost thoughts, his passions and his intense
love of nature. Nothing is held back as we travel the path with him; from a disturbed farm
boy who does poorly at school, to the Marines, to the acclaim of the astronaut corps –
and always seeking that next level of discovery and personal achievement. The Hubble Space
Telescope repair mission is undoubtedly Story’s tour de force, and he describes this
remarkable and intricate accomplishment with undiminished passion.The author has made impressive
use of her subject’s copious journal entries and vivid recollections during many hours
of interviews to relate the life and passions of this modern-day adventurer and philosopher,
and the result is both enchanting and highly readable. Story: The Way of Water is
an extraordinary odyssey through the experiences, accomplishments and legacy of a complex,
soulful person many still regard as probably the finest ambassador of humankind - and certainly
one of the most eloquent - ever hoisted into space.Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins once
wrote: “It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand. Exploration
is not a choice really – it’s an imperative.” In a philosophic sense, he
is certainly at one with the enigmatic subject of this delightfully compelling book.
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