Publish Date: November 2018
It’s 1962, one year after Alan B. Shepherd became the first American in outer space. This year, John Glenn orbits the earth three times; the first communications satellite, Telstar, is launched; and sea turtles once again come ashore as they have for millennia to lay their eggs on wild Florida beaches just miles from Cape Canaveral.
In the spirit of the go-go time and place, 1962 is also the year that eleven-year-old Linda Buckmaster becomes one of the first children to successfully undergo open-heart surgery using the recently perfected heart-lung machine and induced hypothermia.
As the daughter of a rocket engineer, Linda weaves into her story the juxtaposition of cutting-edge technology and the natural world on the empty barrier island that came to be called the Space Coast. That contrast is written on her own small body as surgeons work to correct a congenital heart defect using materials developed for space flight.
Alternately lyrical and narrative, the book is a hybrid literary treatment of the early days of the space industry and personal story.
“Along the center of the Florida coastline, a long, soft barrier island stretches like a slender, sleeping body. From its middle, a cape swells like a breast into the Atlantic—Cabo Cañaveral, place of canes.”
~ From “Barrier Island”
“Linda has the ability to document a time and a place of great science and exploration with a sorrowful song, one she sings beautifully. Her book is a wonderful juxtaposition of science and sentiment.”
~ Beth Laura O’Leary, Space Archaeologist. Coeditor of Handbook of Space Engineering, Archaeology, and Heritage.
“Space Heart. A Memoir in Stages is a gorgeously written story—plainspoken, personal, poetic and precise in scientific and technical detail. I was delighted throughout by the angles of perspective as a child — size of palmettos, shallows of tidepools, scale of dwellings; taken by the scientific links between open heart surgery and space exploration; and caught by the ever-present complexities of families. Yes, it’s a flexible, mobile and leaping story arc.”
~ Joel Lipman, Emeritus Professor, University of Toledo