The Inside Story of the Soviet and American Space Race
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Epic Rivalry by Von Hardesty
Book DescriptionWhen Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969, they personified an almost unimaginable feat-the incredibly complex task of sending humans safely to another celestial body. This extraordinary odyssey, which grew from the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, was galvanized by the Sputnik launch in 1957. Written by Smithsonian curator Von Hardesty and researcher Gene Eisman, Epic Rivalry tells the story from both the American and the Russian points of view, and shows how each space-faring nation played a vital role in stimulating the work of the other. Scores of rare, unpublished, and powerful photographs recall the urgency and technical creativity of both nations' efforts. 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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9781426201196
(235mm x 171mm x 30mm)
Imprint: National Geographic Society
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publish Date: 18-Sep-2007
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Von Hardesty
Flight, Hardback (November 2011)
Originally published: Dorking, Surrey: Templar, 2008.
Epic Rivalry, Paperback (September 2008)
National Geographic recaptures this gripping moment in the human experience with a lively and compelling new account.
Dictatorship of the Air, Hardback (July 2006)
Focusing on one of the last untold chapters in the history of human flight, this book explains the true story behind twentieth-century Russia's quest for aviation prominence.
Russian Aviation and Air Power in the Twentieth Century, Hardback (October 1998)» View all books by Von Hardesty
In the light of new archival material the editors take a fresh look at Russian aviation in the twentieth century.
US Kirkus Review » From the Soviet Union's Sputnik to the United States' Apollo 11, the exciting competition between Cold War superpowers to dominate space.In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union plundered Germany's Peenemunde rocket research center for the technical equipment, documentation and, crucially, the scientists responsible for the development of the V-2, Hitler's vengeance weapon that had terrorized London. This battle for military advantage unwittingly began the space race, with America taking the early lead as "our Germans" proved smarter than theirs. As popular-culture dreams of space travel merged with scientific advances and the exigencies of the Cold War, the Soviets early on recognized the propaganda advantages of space conquest and pulled ahead in 1957 with their Sputnik satellites and a later series of lunar probes that startled the world and caused no end of political breast-beating in the United States. After some early fumbles, America soon caught up, only to see the Soviets regain supremacy with a number of remarkable manned-flight achievements - first in space and to orbit (Gagarin), first woman (Tereshkova), first to walk (Leonov) - against which the suborbital flights of Shepard and Grissom seemed puny. But Eisenhower's creation of NASA and Kennedy's commitment to a lunar landing galvanized the American effort. Where Michael D'Antonio's recent A Ball, A Dog, and A Monkey: 1957 - The Space Race Begins (2007) deals breezily with only the earliest days of the fierce contest from a mostly American perspective, Hardesty (Air Force One: The Aircraft That Shaped the Modern Presidency, 2003, etc.) and Eisen's sober account makes use of recently opened Soviet archives to tell the story from both sides, revealing some remarkable parallels between the space portals at Baikonur and Cape Canaveral, the political pressures on Khrushchev and Kennedy, the lust for space exploration by Chief Designer Korolev and America's von Braun and the training and in-flight disasters that befell cosmonauts and astronauts. As the race unfolded, first-to-the-moon appeared to be close, but eventually the highly secretive, hide-bound Soviet system itself critically hobbled their space program. A balanced, reader-friendly re-creation of the origins, progress, thrills and perils attending a prestigious race, desperately important at the time, only dimly remembered today. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Von Hardesty
Von Hardesty is a curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Gene Eisman is an independent historian.
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