Such a book as WE SEVEN is a valuable archive of space history. A collection of the stories of the original seven Mercury astronauts, WE SEVEN reveals intimate insights into NASA's procedures and thinking in the formative years of manned space exploration. For example, Alan Shepard tells of being announced to the public as the first American in space on the day the mission was to be launched, "Within the hour NASA decided to break the news on who the man was who had suited up and almost gone (into space). I (Alan Shepard, Jr.) was relieved when thay made the announcement. It was getting to be a strain keeping the secret." This policy was altogether changed in ensuing months such that shuttle crews are sometimes announced nearly a year in advance of the mission.