Cover Image: Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars

Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars

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Member Reviews

I am such a huge fan of astronaut memoirs and biographies, and this one did not disappoint!

This is the autobiography of Eileen Collins, the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and command a mission for NASA.

Collins is such an amazing pioneer. One of the first female pilots for the US Air Force, she worked so hard to get to her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, even when it seemed impossible.

She is honest & frank, talking about the difficulties of her childhood and what she regrets, like not taking advantage of the opportunities of high school. And she is really up front with the mistakes she’s made in her career. But she also sounds like a lot of fun, talking about the pranks she would help pull.

Thanks to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for this ARC!
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"Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars" is an awe-inspiring memoir that takes you on a journey through the life of Eileen M. Collins, a true pioneer in aviation and space exploration. From breaking barriers as the first woman to command a US space mission and piloting the space shuttle to overcoming personal challenges, her story is a testament to the power of determination and resilience. With captivating storytelling and valuable life lessons, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and a glimpse into the world of a remarkable astronaut and leader.
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I like to read about astronomy and it's heroes. An absolutely wonderful memoir about an incredible female trailblazer! From early adulthood, Eileen Collins was a pioneer. She was one of the Air Force’s first female pilots and eventually became the first female instructor pilot at Vance Air Force Base. One of the most exciting and monumental firsts includes her role as first woman to command an American space mission pilot.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this amazing human being and her groundbreaking NASA career that paved the way for so many women in STEM.
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A great motivational book for young girls interested in STEM careers. A wonderful walk through the days of the shuttle program and the height of childhood astronaut dreams.
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This was such an inspiring read that I want all of my students to read it too! I think that the life lessons will resonate with a lot of people.
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An absolutely wonderful memoir about an incredible female trailblazer! From early adulthood, Eileen Collins was a pioneer. She was one of the Air Force’s first female pilots and eventually became the first female instructor pilot at Vance Air Force Base. One of the most exciting and monumental firsts includes her role as first woman to command an American space mission pilot.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this amazing human being and her groundbreaking NASA career that paved the way for so many women in STEM.
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Subtitled, The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission, I can see this memoir becoming a best seller and a classic point of reference. As one of the Air Force’s first female pilots, the young Eileen Collins broke plenty of ground, but she is the first to admit that she built upon the work of women before her day. THROUGH THE GLASS CEILING TO THE STARS shows us just how far a woman – from any background, she states – can travel.

Eileen grew up with no privilege; she was unfortunate to have a father suffering from alcoholism, so that the family would run smoothly for a time and then have no money for food. Eileen’s mother threw out the gambling drinker and went to work, but the girl doesn’t seem to realise how much this family situation affected her performance in high school. Today, the much-decorated colonel and astronaut advises readers not to waste any early years but to get as good a grounding as they possibly can.

Eileen considered joining the Air Force at basic rank, but fate decreed otherwise, and she enrolled in further education paid for by part-time jobs. A few years later with an excellent community college result to her name, she applied for pilot officer training. We learn about her enthusiasm and dedication, and mistakes as well as successes. One aspect that came across very clearly to me, was that Eileen decided not to have boyfriends. She needed to log a thousand air miles before she would be considered for a further stage of her career, as an instructor, and this would not fit with partying or relationships.  Women were strictly banned from combat aircraft or fields of combat, but the brave pilot still took part in bringing supplies to a conflict zone at Grenada and evacuating medical students.  

The first chapter references Eileen’s Space Shuttle career with a launch, but years passed before the pilot became an astronaut. She co-piloted two Shuttle missions before being allowed to be Commander and pilot of the Shuttle. Her first mission to space was flown at the age of thirty-eight, her last at forty-eight, due to the many safety delays, groundings and two devastating losses relating to the fleet of Space Shuttles. The astronaut candidate programme involved the most incredible range and depth of work, from becoming proficient at Scuba diving to advanced aeronautics and simulator runs.

Eileen did meet and marry a pilot, who was hugely supportive, and she explains the difficult decisions facing women astronauts – do you have children, knowing a launch window is coming up in six months? How long can you wait? When you have children, who looks after them? And how do you tell the child you are getting into a rocket to do something fraught with danger at every stage?

Jonathan H. Ward has helped to prepare the memoir for publication, during the lockdown months. Women around the world can take inspiration; and anyone in a leadership role will learn many useful lessons about making decisions, doing the prep work, supporting the whole team, and asking to hear the bad news as well as the good.

I believe THROUGH THE GLASS CEILING TO THE STARS would be a splendid present for anyone interested in NASA, Mir, the ISS, the Air Force, planes generally, space, and the female experience during the second half of the twentieth century.
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This story of the first woman to command a space voyage is an easy  and interesting read. Ms. Collins shares in a straightforward manner what was involved in her having the opportunity to command a space voyage. It's an interesting glimpse into an earlier time and younger readers will be surprised how much has changed. The book's intro was so compelling and energetic and I was a bit surprised that the rest felt more like a reporting of the story rather than a heartfelt memoir. Still I was compelled to keep returning to the book and I recommend it to other readers.
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Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission by Eileen M. Collins and Jonathan H. Ward is a biography of this pioneer pilot and astronaut. Col. Collins is one of the more famous pioneers in aviation, this is her first book.

I heard of Col. Collins previously, and was anxious to read her long awaited memoir. Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission by Eileen M. Collins and Jonathan H. Ward undoubtedly did not disappoint.

Without a doubt, Col. Collins lived an amazing life, and still does. She had a career which, undoubtedly, many of us can only dream of, but a pioneer who will be forever in the history books as well.

The author tells of her childhood in Elmira, NY, her military career in the US Air Force, being a test pilot, and of course her time in NASA too. I furthermore enjoyed all the little anecdotes which are memorable in anyone’s life.

Her time as a pilot, test pilot, as well as astronaut (pilot and commander) are the majority of the book. The author doesn’t dwell on the nuances of her roles, important but not as exciting, in between missions. She makes sure to concentrate on the valuable lessons she has learned, as well as the excellent advice she is qualified to give.

The book is certainly easy to read, without much technical jargon, a la First Man. I enjoyed reading further about Col Collins’ journey to become an astronaut. It took time, planning, patience, and resilience. While there are many lessons in this book, this is the one that I think will stick with me.

It is obvious that the book is written with leadership lessons in mind. Most likely for Col Collins to reinvent herself as a public speaker on this subject. Altogether, I think that’s fantastic, we need persons like her to reach out to the community to share their experiences and what they learned.
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Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars: The Story of the First American Woman to Command a Space Mission by Eileen Collins starts slowly but soon becomes a page-turner. Of particular interest to young women who want to follow in Col. Collins' pioneering footsteps.
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As a woman in STEM who once dreamed of working for NASA, I loved learning more about Col. Collins' path to becoming the first American woman to command a space mission. There were a lot of technical details that I didn't think were necessary and the book could have used more editing to make it flow more smoothly, but I still found it interesting.
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I thank netgalley  and Skyhorse Publishing for providing me with the complementary copy of this book

Through The Glass Ceiling describes the life of Eileen, her childhood, hardships and the command of a space shuttle. She is an inspiration for thousands of girls and sends a message that hardwork and determination can take you where you want to be. Eileen's resilience earned her to command the space shuttle, she was the first female pilot and first female commander of the Space Shuttle.

The book is about her transformation from a shy modest background girl who had average grades to being able to command a team, which she has told in her own words
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Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars is a memoir   of the first woman to command the American Space Mission, along with other achievements - Eileen Collins.

The story talks about her journey from her young years to achieving her dreams and being an inspiration for Women. Eileen's story is remarkable and interesting, crushing the barriers and paving way for the future generations.

The book is a good read, however I did find it to have information on Aircrafts that I could not relate to. I wish there were pictures of the Aircrafts or Eileen in those days to help readers connect.

If you like Aircrafts, and are interested in knowing the story of Eileen, then do give Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars a try.

Thanks you Netgalley, publishers - Skyhorse Publishing, Arcade and authors Eileen M. Collins and Jonathan H. Ward for the ARC.
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Eileen Collins is, to be blunt, a total badass. She was not only in the first class of women to get their wings at Vance Air Force Base; She was not only their first female instructor pilot. This amazing woman earned command of a shuttle mission. Here's where her story is even harder. This wasn't just any shuttle mission- this was the first after the Columbia disaster that grounded shuttle spaceflight for two years.  Collins tells her story in this fantastic memoir, discussing a difficult childhood, her determination, and her time leading a mission to  space. 

Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars is the type of book I wish we had more of. Eileen Collin's did not have an easy life, but her determination and hard work is a serious inspiration.
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Interesting facts, but a little too many technical details and information about planes for my taste. Also, everything was delivered in a rather disjointed writing&package - I strongly believe this could use more editing, as the author jumps chaotically from idea to idea and is a little too telegraphic.

Having said that, I feel the need to mention that the 3 stars rating is only for the book and has nothing to do with Eileen M. Collins's life and accomplishments. I greatly admire how much she worked to achieve her dreams and what she accomplished, and that she is trying to inspire others to dream big.
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4.5 stars
This is a well-written, interesting autobiography of an extraordinary woman. I really enjoyed the more technical descriptions of the space shuttle missions and the Air Force planes. I also found the chapter on the organizational culture at NASA to be incredibly relevant to my own life, and I got a lot out of her thoughts on that topic (since they mostly mirror my own!).
I highly recommend this book, although I will say I think it may be a little too science-y for some people.

Thank you to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for the ARC!
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An excellent, necessary addition to astronaut memoir. A recommended purchase for collections where space titles are popular.
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This story is a wonderful memoir of Eileen Collins and her obsession with flying. Collins holds herself to an exceptionally high standard in every area of her life, from training with the men in the air force to joining the NASA space program as a shuttle pilot. Through the Glass ceiling is a well written and enjoyable memoir of a true pioneer in aviation. Would recommend for older teens and adults interested in space or aviation, or anyone who wants to be inspired to push themselves to the next level.
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Definitely 5 stars!  Inspirational!  Don't miss this book!  Publication date is Oct 19, 2021.  Also consider for best non-fiction/memoir category for 2021.

I use Siri and my iphone (via text to speech) to read most books to me.  I thought I misheard when I came across "I promised myself not to date anyone during the year of training.  I didn't want to be distracted by anything. Period. I would be "married" to my airplane!"  What?  Married to my airplane?  Did I mishear?  Nope.  Wow.  So dedicated!  And Eileen Collins really did come across as being married to her airplane.  

Key acronyms and skills are designed to prepare you for the real world so that you can react quickly under pressure.  
Certain steps apply both to life and life in flight.  For example "Maintain aircraft control" steps needed to be learned so that they are/were instinctive.  Maintain control of self, keep a level head, calm down others around you. "Analyze the situation and take proper action" meant that you needed to identify the problem as opposed to reacting to symptoms. "Land as soon as conditions permit"; when the situation is under control, get back to a safe and stable place to catch your breath and regroup.

Love some of the practical jokes mentioned in the book; and in addition the “no permanent damage” clause. (~34%) So very creative.  (How cool is it when you can be "in on" a practical joke that involves Fabio!)  The book is nicely balanced with loving life as well is being extremely focused on goals.  (Just might want to give yourself some breathing room for flat tires.)

I wonder what here children are doing now.  Especially since she read instruction manuals to them when they were infants.  Eileen Collins put her career first and waited before having children; but once she did have children, it was really important to her to have a balance between work and home.  At least that was my impression.  I hope that is also what her children (who are probably now adults) remember.

This book was really inspirational.  The authors father was an alcoholic and she didn't really apply herself in middle school or high school; but then once she realized that her dreams were within her grasp, she figured out a plan to obtain them and went for them "full steam ahead".  You go girl!  She is about 10 years older than I am and I remember getting an astronaut helmet/boots for Christmas with my brother when we were about 7 or 8 years old.  But I don't remember ever really thinking that I had any chance of being an astronaut (especially as a female).  I really hope that this book is found in high school libraries and that young women realize that if they apply themselves, the stars are the limit.

To Eileen Collins - I'm so sorry for the loss of your friends and colleagues from the Challenger accent of Jan 28, 1986.  My heart still goes out to you and the families of these colleagues.  

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an opportunity to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review.
In closing by the author.  "Remember that you too can go farther, faster and higher, just as I have.  The world needs more people - women and men - to break through the glass ceiling.  The size of the universe is infinite, so you better get moving!"
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Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars was a fantastic read. Overall, the book is inspiring and motivational. I truly loved how, along with her personal story, Colonel Collins included the tools she used to make her dreams come true. Not only was it her memoir, with incredible stories from her time with the Air Force and NASA, it gave amazing advice for the younger generation of qualities to have to succeed in any and all endeavors they should choose to pursue. 
For some readers, the book may be very technical, to the point it could be hard to follow, but it is so worth reading, learning, and bare minimum pushing through for the pure gold in the pages. 
I’m thrilled Colonel Collins is finally publishing her memoir, this was such a fascinating read!
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