Burgess, Colin 1947-
Burgess, Colin 1947-
Born 1947, in Australia.
Writer. Former flight service director with Qantas Airways, Australia.
More Laughter in the Air: Further Tales from the Qantas Era, DJE Marketing (Oyster Bay, New South Wales, Australia), 1992.
(With Hugh V. Clarke) Barbed Wire and Bamboo: Australian POWs in Europe, North Africa, Singapore, Thailand and Japan, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 1992.
Freedom or Death: Australia's Greatest Escape Stories from Two World Wars, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 1994.
Destination Buchenwald, Kangaroo Press (Kenthurst, New South Wales, Australia), 1995.
Oceans to Orbit: The Story of Australia's First Man in Space: Dr. Paul Scully-Power, Playright (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1995.
(With Jack Champ) The Diggers of Colditz: The Classic Australian POW Escape Story Now Completely Revised and Expanded, Kangaroo Press (Kenthurst, New South Wales, Australia), 1997.
Australia's Astronauts: Three Men and a Spaceflight Dream, Kangaroo Press (East Roseville, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.
Teacher in Space: Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger Legacy, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2000.
(With Kate Doolan and Bert Vis) Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2003.
Australia's Dambusters: The Men and Missions of 617 Squadron, Australian Military History Publications (Loftus, New South Wales, Australia), 2003.
(With Carolyn Baker) How Wickie Saved the World (for children), Little Red Apple Publishing (Haymarket, New South Wales, Australia), 2006.
(With Francis French) Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.
(With Francis French) In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.
"Bush" Parker: An Australian Battle of Britain Pilot in Colditz, Australian Military History Publications (Loftus, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.
Colin Burgess is an Australian writer who is known for his authoritative works on the history of space exploration and the Australian military. His enthusiasm for space flight was first fueled by the early NASA program. As Burgess told a contributor for Today in Space History: "It was [the] Mercury flight back in 1962 that first ignited my childhood interest in astronauts and space flight. Growing up in Australia I never dared to dream that I would ever get to meet any of my Mercury astronaut heroes, and yet in latter years I not only got to meet four of them, but became friends with two. And that's something I will always treasure." Burgess has written books on the lives of astronauts and cosmonauts both on his own and in collaboration with other writers and the explorers themselves. His Teacher in Space: Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger Legacy looks at the life and legacy of McAuliffe, the teacher who died in the 1986 explosion of the spacecraft Challenger. Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon, written with Kate Doolan and Bert Vis, profiles earlier astronauts who died in the service of the mission to reach the moon, which the United States finally accomplished with the Apollo landing of 1969. Burgess examines sixteen different space pioneers, eight American astronauts and eight Soviet cosmonauts, who lost their lives in the process. Among these were the Russian Colonel Yuri Gagarin, the first human to orbit the earth, who died in an aircraft crash (as did numerous Americans), and the crew of the Apollo 1, Virgil Grissom, Edward White II, and Roger Chaffee, who died in 1967 when their capsule caught fire. Other deaths that Burgess details were less glamorous: one disgraced cosmonaut was run over by a train. Rick W. Sturdevant, writing in Air Power History, found the series of miniature biographies comprising the book "emotionally moving, factually detailed portraits." Sturdevant also felt that the authors used their research materials, including interviews and archival sources, to "capture each individual's personality in a touching, balanced way." Similar praise came from Air & Space Power Journal contributor Michael P. Kleiman, who concluded: "Fallen Astronauts brilliantly chronicles the lives and deaths of men who had a calling to serve their nations in space. Don't let the melancholy title fool you. This book is a joy to read!"
Working with Francis French, Burgess has also written two books chronicling the early days of space exploration and the space race. With Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965, the writers look at the inception of the space program. Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor observed of this title that it is "longer on biography than on technology, this account of the first space farers will appeal to spaceflight buffs." Here the authors focus on the Mercury program in the United States, which involved the first brief manned space flights. Astronauts and cosmonauts profiled include Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard. Writing in the Journal of College Science Teaching, Rita Hoots felt that Into That Silent Sea "recaptures the excitement and awe of our pioneering launches into space," and Jeff Faust, reviewing the same title in Space Review, termed it a "well-written account about the Americans and Russians who were the first to fly into space."
With In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969, the authors look at the Gemini missions, the lesser known of programs like Mercury and Apollo. In the Gemini program, astronauts were trained to endure in space for longer and longer periods of time, to navigate and steer a spaceship traveling 20,000 miles an hour, and importantly, to return safely home. The book also covers the Apollo program, as well as the Soviet Union's corresponding attempts to reach the moon. In the Shadow of the Moon received generally positive critical reviews. A Publishers Weekly contributor found it "a readable introduction to the first years of America's leap into space," while Faust, writing in Space Review, noted, "There's a wealth of information and insights about the people and missions in each chapter, at least for those who haven't immersed themselves in space history."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air & Space Power Journal, summer, 2005, Michael P. Kleiman, review of Fallen Astronauts: Heroes Who Died Reaching for the Moon.
Air Power History, spring, 2005, Rick W. Sturdevant, review of Fallen Astronauts, p. 66.
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Gilbert Taylor, review of Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965, p. 12.
Choice, March, 2004, J.Z. Kiss, review of Fallen Astronauts, p. 1318.
Journal of American Culture, December, 2007, Matthew H. Hersch, review of Into That Silent Sea, p. 455.
Journal of College Science Teaching, September 1, 2007, Rita Hoots, review of Into That Silent Sea, p. 65.
Publishers Weekly, July 16, 2007, review of In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969, p. 157.
SciTech Book News, December 2001, review of Teacher in Space: Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger Legacy, p. 166.
Space Review,http://thespacereview.com/ (June 25, 2007), Jeff Faust, review of Into That Silent Sea; (September 24, 2007), Jeff Faust, review of In the Shadow of the Moon.
Today in Space History,http://todayinspacehistory.wordpress.com/ (December 10, 2007), interview with Colin Burgess and Francis French.