HIGH CALLING: The Courageous Life and Faith of Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband

Evelyn Husband, Author, Donna VanLiere, With with Donna VanLiere. Thomas Nelson $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7852-6195-7

In this memoir, Evelyn Husband describes how her husband, Rick, commander of the ill-fated space shuttle Columbia , grew up longing to be an astronaut; how his dream came true; and how it ended with his death in Columbia's explosion in February 2003. At its best, this account (co-written with popular novelist VanLiere, of The Christmas Shoes ) puts a human a face on the space program, particularly the sacrifice required to become an astronaut. Details about NASA, quotes from Rick's journal, and interviews with those who knew him add depth. But this is at its heart a story of Christian faith; as Rick's career developed, he grew from a nominal believer into one who would write, in the last day of his journal, "Lord—I want to do Your will and I want to be a godly man." Evelyn details Rick's virtues, but does not sufficiently explain his faults; for example, she reveals that he told her something about himself fairly early in their marriage that shook her up badly, but she doesn't even hint at what it is. It's tough for readers to appreciate his redemption without knowing his sin. A Columbia teamwork-building exercise weighs the story down; the final chapters also need trimming. But scenes of Evelyn and her children (ages 12 and 7) learning of Rick's death, and relying on God help them cope with it, radiate honesty and power. This kind of specificity helps the memoir rise above the level of hagiography. (Jan. 13)

Forecast: This book will receive major media attention, with confirmed appearances and articles planned for The Today Show, People, Guideposts, Focus on the Family (radio and magazine), Decision magazine, Today's Christian Woman and others. Evelyn Husband will also be a featured speaker for the 2004 Women of Faith tour.

Reviewed on: 12/22/2003
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58926-611-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-58926-613-1
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4185-1567-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-62188-203-9
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-7852-6068-4
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