Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak by Kimberly C. Moore
Review by Scott Sacknoff
Published in Quest Vol. 27 #4 (2020)
In February 2007, US astronaut Lisa Nowak became front page news after driving 900 miles from Houston, Texas, to Orlando, Florida, to confront and attack a woman involved with an astronaut that Nowak was in love with.
Normally, a book documenting this sensationalized event wouldn’t be reviewed in Quest, however, this one has been published by the University Press of Florida—known for publishing academic quality space histories.
The author, Kimberly Moore, is an award-winning investigative news reporter who covered this story and read through thousands of pages of NASA reports, multiple legal filings, transcripts of her interrogation by the Orlando police, dozens of hours of TV news documentaries, and court videos in order to tell this story.
However, rather than simply recount the facts of the story, she also delves into Nowak’s childhood, the rigorous training to become an astronaut, and her mission to space. She includes details about her psychiatric diagnosis and provides details on the psychological health of astronauts, how they are cared for by NASA doctors, and what changes have been made over the years to deal with this high-pressure activity.
While the story was fodder for numerous late-night comedians, this book contains a lot of details people never knew. It is a compelling and tragic story. Though obviously meant to attract a mainstream audience interested in sensationalism, the book documents and analyzes the event that could prove valuable to historians.
I found it interesting that none of the five living astronauts on her flight, her ex-husband, nor the subject of her affections, astronaut William Oefelein, chose to be interviewed about this incident for the book. It’s obviously a story all hope would be forgotten.
About the Book
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Title: Star Crossed: The Story of Astronaut Lisa Nowak
Author: Kimberly C. Moore
Publisher: University Press of Florida
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