A stunning investigation of the roots of the first moon landing forty years ago.This illuminating story of the dawn of the space age reaches back to the reactionary modernism of the Third Reich, using the life of “rocket scientist” Wernher von Braun as its narrative path through the crumbling of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Nazi regime. Von Braun, a blinkered opportunist who could apply only tunnel vision to his meteoric career, stands as an archetype of myriad twentieth century technologists who thrived under regimes of military secrecy and unlimited money. His seamless transformation from developer of the deadly V-2 ballistic missile for Hitler to an American celebrity as the supposed genius behind the golden years of the U.S. space program in the 1950s and 1960s raises haunting questions about the culture of the Cold War, the shared values of technology in totalitarian and democratic societies, and the imperatives of material progress.
Outstanding Academic Title, 1991, Choice Magazine
Although building a space station has been an extraordinary challenge for America's scientists and engineers, the securing and sustaining of presidential approval, congressional support, and long-term funding for the project was an enormous task for bureaucrats. The Space Station Decision examines the history of this controversial initiative and illustrates how bureaucracy shapes public policy. Using primary documents and interviews, Howard E. McCurdy describes the events that led up to the 1984 decision to build a permanently occupied, international space station in low Earth orbit.
As he follows the trail of the space station proposal through the labyrinth of White House policy review, McCurdy explains the evolution of the presidential budget review process, the breakup of the cabinet system, the proliferation of subcabinets and Executive Office interagency, the involvement of White House staff in framing issues for presidential review, and the role of bureaucracy in advancing administration legislation on Capitol Hill. Comparing the space station decision to earlier decisions to go to the moon and to build the space shuttle, McCurdy shows how public officials responsible for long-term science and technology policy maneuvered in a political system that demanded short-term flexibility.
"Celebrates a bold era when voyaging beyond the Earth was deemed crucial to national security and pride."
-The Wall Street Journal
Restoring the drama, majesty, and sheer improbability of an American triumph, this is award-winning historian Craig Nelson's definitive and thrilling story of man's first trip to the moon. At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 rocket launched in the presence of more than a million spectators who had gathered to witness a truly historic event. Through interviews, 23,000 pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA documents on the space race, Rocket Men presents a vivid narrative of the moon mission, taking readers on the journey to one of the last frontiers of the human imagination.
As astronaut Donald K. Slayton notes in his Foreword, this chronicle emphasizes the cooperation of "humans on space and on the ground. It realistically balances the role of the highly visible astronaut with the mammoth supporting team." An official NASA publication, Suddenly, Tomorrow Came is profusely illustrated with forty-four figures and tables, plus sixty-three photographs. Historian Paul Dickson brings the narrative up to date with an informative new Introduction.
Before 1955, the concept of an artificial satellite had been demonstrated only on paper. The first nation to transform theory into practice would gain advantages in science, the Cold War propaganda contest, and the military balance of power. Visionaries such as America’s Wernher von Braun and Russia’s Sergey Korolev knew these fields of endeavor would be affected by the launch of a satellite. Moved by patriotism, inquisitiveness, and pride, people on both sides of the Iron Curtain put forth heroic efforts to make that first satellite possible.
Some aspects of this story, like the Navy’s NOTSNIK satellite project, are almost unknown. Even some details of well-known programs, such as the appearance of America’s pioneering Explorer 1 satellite and the contributions made by its rival, Project Vanguard, are generally misremembered. In this book, authors Matt Bille and Erika Lishock tell the whole story of the first space race. They trace the tale from the origins of spaceflight theory and through the military and political events that engendered the all-out efforts needed to turn dreams into reality and thus shape the modern world.
The authors recreate in vivid detail the "parallel universes" of the two space exploration programs, with visionaries Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev and political leaders John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev at the epicenters. The conflict between countries, and the tense drama of their independent progress, unfolds in vivid prose. Approaching its subject from a uniquely balanced perspective, this important new narrative chronicles the epic race to the moon and back as it has never been told before—and captures the interest of casual browsers and science, space, and history enthusiasts alike.