Chasing the Moon: The People, the Politics, and the Promise That Launched America Into the Space Age by Robert Stone and Alan Andres a non-fiction book looking back at the thinkers, dreamers, and futurists that help envision American’s space program. This book is a companion book to the PBS’ American Experience.
- 384 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1524798126
I have not seen PBS’ American Experience and did not realize this was a companion book until well into it. At first reading Chasing the Moon: The People, the Politics, and the Promise That Launched America Into the Space Age by Robert Stone and Alan Andres seemed somewhat strange because it wasn’t set up like the usual “space program” book, but it held my attention and I kept on reading.
The book follows the lives and careers of Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction writer and author of a scientific paper on communications satellites. Famous scientist and rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun, as well as the commander of Apollo 8, Frank Borman, who together with his crew of James Lovell and William Anders were the first humans to leave low Earth orbit and orbit the Moon. The last two personalities the book follows are those of mathematician Poppy Northcutt, the first woman to work in Mission Control and equal rights fighter, and Edward Dwight, the first African American candidate.
The book mainly fills in the blanks in the non-technical side of the moon landing, the political environment which fostered at the time, as well as how leaders at high levels encouraged or derailed the program based on their own goals and/or selfish reasons.
The authors, like many other books, drives in the point that the flight of Apollo 11 did not happen in a vacuum. There were many people, known and unknown that contributed to this public/private enterprise.
This book is just an overview, albeit a very good one, of the American space program, and hence a great introduction to it. Even though I read several books about the subject, I always learn something new, whether a tidbit or a better understanding of a complicated (to me) subject.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book from the local library.
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