Format:
Book
Author:
Title:
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher, Date:
New York : Harper, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2019]
Description:
xxv, 548 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), portraits (some color) ; 24 cm
Summary:
"On the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing, acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley takes a fresh look at the American space program, President John F. Kennedy's inspiring challenge, and the race to the moon. Just months after being elected President of the United States, John F. Kennedy made an astonishing announcement to the nation: we would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing epic of contemporary history, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to re-create one of humankind's most exciting and ambitious achievements. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects, which catapulted the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Drawing on new primary source material and recent scholarship, Brinkley brings to life this fascinating history as no one has before. American Moonshot is a portrait of the brilliant men and women who made this giant leap possible, the technology that enabled them to propel men beyond Earth's orbit to the moon and return them safely, and the geopolitical tensions that ignited Kennedy's audacious dream. At the center of this story is Kennedy himself. As Brinkley shows, the president's call to action was more than just soaring oratory--Kennedy was intimately involved in the creation of the space program, and he made it a top priority of his New Frontier agenda, fighting the tough political battles to make his vision a reality. Featuring a cast of iconic and sometimes controversial figures, such as rocketeer Wernher von Braun, astronaut John Glenn, and space booster Lyndon Johnson, American Moonshot is a vivid, enthralling chronicle of one of the nation's most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras. This is living history at its finest--but also an homage to scientific ingenuity, engineering genius, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit."--Dust jacket.
Subjects:
Notes:
Includes bibliographic references (pages 515-526) and index.
Contents:
Preface: Kennedy's new ocean -- Rockets. Dr. Robert Goddard meets Buck Rogers ; Kennedy, von Braun, and the crucible of World War II ; Surviving a savage war ; Who's afraid of the V-2? -- Generation Sputnik. Spooked into the space race ; Sputnik revolution ; Missile gaps and the creation of NASA ; Mercury Seven to the rescue ; Kennedy for President -- Moonbound. Skyward with James Webb ; Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard ; ""Going to the moon": Washington, DC, May 25, 1961 ; Searching for moonlight in Tulsa and Vienna ; Moon momentum with television and Gus Grissom ; Godspeed, John Glenn ; Scott Carpenter, Telstar, and presidential space touring -- Projects Gemini and Apollo. "We choose to go to the moon": Rice University, September 12, 1962 ; Gemini Nine and Wally Schirra ; State of space exploration ; "The space effort must go on" ; Cape Kennedy -- Epilogue: The triumph of Apollo 11.
ISBN:
9780062655066
System Availability:
1
Current Holds:
0
Control Number:
210233
Call Number:
629.4 Bri
Course Reserves:
0
# System items in:
1
Availability
Author Notes
Douglas Brinkley was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 14, 1960. He received a B.A. from Ohio State University in 1982 and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in 1989. He was a professor at Tulane University, Princeton University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Hofstra University, and the University of New Orleans. In 2007, he became a professor at Rice University and the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. He is a commentator for CBS News and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair. <p> His first book, Jean Monnet: The Path to European Unity, was published in 1992. His other works include Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House, Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress, The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion, The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, Cronkite, and Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America. He also wrote three books with historian Stephen E. Ambrose: The Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938, Witness to History, and The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: From the Louisiana Purchase to Today. He has won several awards including the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize for Driven Patriot and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this promise kept, CNN's presidential historian Brinkley (history, Rice Univ.; Rightful Heritage) presents a sweeping narrative of the U.S.-Soviet space race, culminating in Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong's lunar walk on July 20, 1969. Much of the book delves deeply into Apollo's historical roots, beginning with Robert Goddard's pioneering rocketry experiments in the 1920s; continuing with Nazi party member and SS officer Werner von Braun's development of the V1 and V2 rockets that slaughtered thousands of English citizens but which did not prevent him from becoming Kennedy's space science expert; and concluding with the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects (1958--72). Brinkley is at his best when sharing stories about astronauts such as John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, and Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The author concludes that, regrettably, only Kennedy's assassination in 1963 guaranteed full funding for the costly Apollo project: the cornerstone of Kennedy's New Frontier era. VERDICT Enlightening and absorbing, this account will fascinate historians, history buffs, and popular science enthusiasts. See also James Donovan's Shoot the Moon.--Karl Helicher, formerly with Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA

  Publishers Weekly Review

Brinkley (The Great Deluge) frames the life and career of President John F. Kennedy through the Cold War-tinged lens of the Space Race in this inspiring history. The book opens with the parallels between the WWII experiences of PT boat commander Kennedy and Nazi rocketeer Wernher von Braun, whose lives intersected after the war with the launch of Kennedy's political career and von Braun's newfound role as the United States' top rocket scientist. In Brinkley's telling, Kennedy's impassioned response to Soviet advances in space technology, which contrasted sharply the Eisenhower administration's, led him to victory in the 1960 presidential election. His declaration before Congress that Americans would put men on the moon by the end of the decade and his public embrace of John Glenn and the other Mercury Seven astronauts were, Brinkley argues, political gestures also motivated by personal passion. The author argues that it was Kennedy's appeal to a sense of American greatness, evident in his famous "We choose to go to the moon" speech at Rice University in September 1962, that made the U.S.'s space achievements possible. By highlighting the visionary, charismatic political leader's role, Brinkley offers a new perspective on one of the greatest accomplishments in human history. Photos. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Booklist Review

To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, presidential historian Brinkley tells the backstory of that monumental achievement, placing John F. Kennedy in a starring role. During his childhood and adolescence, Kennedy had a passionate interest in science and practical know-how, absorbing the tales of Jules Verne and mastering sailing off the coast of his family's Massachusetts estate. Given his zeal and temperament, his now epochal 1961 pronouncement about putting a man on the moon within the decade was an almost inevitable outgrowth of his temperament. Along with tracking the influences which inspired Kennedy's pledge, Brinkley profiles other major players in the ensuing space race, from rocket buff Robert Goddard to ex-Nazi engineer Wernher von Braun, and shines a spotlight on how politicized NASA and other related organizations became. One especially eye-opening revelation underscores how Kennedy and his cronies funneled money to space contractors in the Southern states, where the president's support was more tenuous. With his usual masterful narrative skill, Brinkley captures the sweep and excitement of an inspiring era in American history.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Brinkley is a commanding public historian and intellectual, and his major contribution to the celebration of the first lunar landing will engender many requests.--Carl Hays Copyright 2019 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A look back at the days when American presidents and politicians believed in and promoted sciencedays when there was a world to win, along with the heavens.Prolific historian Brinkley (Chair, History/Rice Univ.; Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, 2016, etc.) avers that his latest is a contribution to "U.S. presidential history (not space studies)." However, in his customarily thorough way, it's clear that he's mastered a great deal of the facts and lore surrounding the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo projects that landed American astronauts on the moon 50 years ago. As his account unfolds, two themes emerge. One is that fiscal conservatives, exemplified by President Dwight Eisenhower, were reluctant to fuel the emerging military-industrial complex, affording John F. Kennedy a campaign issue that revolved around the "missile gap" between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. As Brinkley writes, "having been raised in a family obsessed with winning at every level, [Kennedy] reduced the complexities of Cold War statesmanship to a simple contest." The second theme is that the space race was very much an extension of the wider Cold War. In both matters, notes the author, NASA became the beneficiary of both federal largess and the advantages of "unfettered capitalism," tapping into a fast-growing network of military contractors and spinning off basic research into an array of technological products. Even during the Bay of Pigs crisis, Kennedy kept his eye on the lunar prize, tasking his vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, with determining whether the American parties involved in the space race were "making maximum effort." With JFK's assassination, the moon program seemed in danger of losing impetus and funding, but thanks to a vigorous NASA administrator and political allies in Congress and the executive branch, the Kennedy-inspired effort was realized. In fact, writes the author, it became a "marvelous alternative to all-out war with the USSR or future proxy wars such as Korea."A highly engaging history not just for space-race enthusiasts, but also students of Cold War politics. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
<p>Instant New York Times Bestseller</p> <p>As the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing approaches, the award winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy's inspiring challenge, and America's race to the moon.<br> <br> <br> <br> "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win."--President John F. Kennedy</p> <p>On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.</p> <p>Drawing on new primary source material and major interviews with many of the surviving figures who were key to America's success, Brinkley brings this fascinating history to life as never before. American Moonshot is a portrait of the brilliant men and women who made this giant leap possible, the technology that enabled us to propel men beyond earth's orbit to the moon and return them safely, and the geopolitical tensions that spurred Kennedy to commit himself fully to this audacious dream. Brinkley's ensemble cast of New Frontier characters include rocketeer Wernher von Braun, astronaut John Glenn and space booster Lyndon Johnson.</p> <p>A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in the nation's history, American Moonshot is an homage to scientific ingenuity, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit.</p>
Table of Contents
Preface: Kennedy's New Oceanp. xi
Part IRockets
1Dr. Robert Goddard Meets Buck Rogersp. 3
2Kennedy, Von Braun, and the Crucible of World War IIp. 21
3Surviving a Savage Warp. 41
4Who's Afraid of the V-2?p. 61
Part IIGeneration Sputnik
5Spooked into the Space Racep. 93
6Sputnik Revolutionp. 125
7Missile Gaps and the Creation of Nasap. 155
8Mercury Seven to the Rescuep. 181
9Kennedy for Presidentp. 191
Part IIIMoonbound
10Skyward with James Webbp. 209
11Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepardp. 223
12"Going to the Moon": Washington, DC, May 25, 1961p. 247
13Searching for Moonlight in Tulsa and Viennap. 265
14Moon Momentum with Television and Gus Grissomp. 283
15Godspeed, John Glennp. 307
16Scott Carpenter, Tel Star, and Presidential Space Touringp. 335
Part IVProjects Gemini and Apollo
17"We Choose to Go to the Moon: Rice University, September 12, 1962p. 359
18Gemini Nine and Wally Schirrap. 373
19State of Space Explorationp. 395
20"The Space Effort Must Go On"p. 413
21Cape Kennedyp. 431
Epilogue: The Triumph of Apollo 11p. 449
Acknowledgmentsp. 463
Notesp. 471
Bibliographyp. 515
Image Creditsp. 527
Indexp. 529
Librarian's View
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2019

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