Wonders All Around

The Incredible True Story of Astronaut Bruce McCandless II and the First Untethered Flight in Space

Non-Fiction - Biography
284 Pages
Reviewed on 05/08/2021
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Author Biography

Bruce McCandless III grew up in the shadow of Houston’s Johnson Space Center during the Apollo and Skylab eras. He graduated from the Plan II Honors Program of the University of Texas in 1983 and went on to earn degrees from the University of Reading in England and the University of Texas School of Law. After teaching at Saint David’s School in New York City, he returned to Austin to practice law and retired as general counsel of Superior HealthPlan in 2019. He is the author of Sour Lake (2011), Beatrice and the Basilisk (2014), and, with his daughter Carson, Carson Clare’s Trail Guide to Avoiding Death (And Other Unpleasant Consequences) (2017). Bruce serves on the board of directors of the Worthy Garden Club, an Oregon-based environmental organization, and the Austin Public Library Foundation. He and his wife, Pati Fuller McCandless, live in Austin.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

In 1984, Space Shuttle Challenger launched into space. Among the astronauts on board was Bruce McCandless II, a brilliant engineer and aviator. At the time of the flight, McCandless was forty-six years old. He became the first person to complete an untethered spacewalk. Authored by his son, Bruce McCandless III, Wonders All Around is his extensive biography that details his life beyond his career and outstanding achievements. Bruce McCandless II was born in Boston in 1937. He earned many academic achievements and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958. From thousands of applications, NASA selected McCandless for the fifth astronaut selection in 1966. At the age of twenty-eight, he was the youngest member of the group. After his spacewalk in 1984, he was part of the crew onboard Space Shuttle Discovery that was tasked with the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment in 1990.

In Wonders All Around, Bruce McCandless III covers his father’s life. Bruce includes his role as a father, husband, and how he related with his workmates. His troubled relationship with his father during his coming-of-age years paints McCandless Snr as fastidious and dedicated. He approached his responsibilities with vigor and had high expectations of his children. McCandless’s sense of duty and commitment is inspiring. He waited for almost two decades to get his chance to travel into space. Even after retiring from NASA, he took up a role similar to his past work, which reveals his passion for engineering and space exploration. The biography is extensive and contains significant information about space travel. It notes specific events in American history and how some affected space exploration at the time. Bits of humor are also inserted that enliven the work. Wonders All Around by Bruce McCandless III is an inspiring biography about an extraordinary man whose impact on space exploration continues to live on.