Chasing the moon : the people, the politics, and the promise that launched America into the space age

by Stone, Robert, 1958-

Format: Print Book [2019]
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JFK issued the historic moon landing challenge. These are the stories of the visionaries who helped America complete his vision with the first lunar landing fifty years ago.

A Companion Book to the AMERICAN EXPERIENCE® Film on PBS®

Going in depth to explore their stories beyond the PBS series, writer/producer Robert Stone--called "one of our most important documentary filmmakers" by Entertainment Weekly --brings these important figures to brilliant life.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy proposed the nation spend twenty billion dollars to land a man on the Moon before the end of the decade. Based on eyewitness accounts and newly discovered archival material, Chasing the Moon reveals for the first time the unknown stories of the fascinating individuals whose imaginative work across several decades culminated in America's momentous achievement. More than a story of engineers and astronauts, the moon landing--now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary--grew out of the dreams of science fiction writers, filmmakers, military geniuses, and rule-breaking scientists. They include

* Science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke , whose writing inspired some of the key players in the Moon race. A scientific paper he wrote in his twenties led to the U.S. beating Russia in one area of space: communications satellites.
* Wernher von Braun , the former Nazi military genius who oversaw Hitler's rocket weapons program. After working on ballistic missiles for the U.S. Army, he was recruited by NASA to manage the creation of the Saturn V moon rocket.
* Astronaut Frank Borman , commander of the first mission to circumnavigate the Moon, whose powerful testimony before Congress in 1967 decisively saved the U.S. lunar program from being cancelled.
* Poppy Northcutt , a young mathematician who was the first woman to work in Mission Control. Her media exposure as a unique presence in this all-male world allowed her the freedom to stand up for equal rights for women and minorities.
* Edward Dwight , an African American astronaut candidate, recruited at the urging of the Kennedy White House to further the administration's civil rights agenda--but not everyone welcomed his inclusion.

Setting these key players in the political, social, and cultural climate of the time, and including captivating photographs throughout, Chasing the Moon focuses on the science and the history, but most important, the extraordinary individuals behind what was undoubtedly the greatest human achievement of the twentieth century.
Prologue: July 16, 1969
A place beyond the sky (1903-1950)
The man who sold the moon (1952-1960)
The New Frontier (1961-1963)
Welcome to the space age (1964-1966)
Earthrise (1967-1968)
Magnificent desolation (1969)
The final frontier (1970-1979).

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Written as a companion volume to a six-hour American Experience miniseries airing on PBS in July 2019, this sweeping history from series director Stone and producer Andres celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing by profiling many of the key figures who helped America win the space race. Arthur C. Clarke, the late science-fiction writer who cowrote the screenplay for 2001, inspired early space researchers with his 1945 paper envisioning orbiting communications satellites. Former Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun spearheaded the design of the Saturn V rockets that propelled the space capsules beyond Earth's gravity. Frances Poppy Northcutt broke ground at NASA as the first woman in Mission Control. In addition to copious photographs and newly discovered archival material, the authors include a generous slice of Cold War political history and some surprising anecdotes, such as the revelation that JFK ridiculed space travel only a year before his seminal 1961 man on the moon speech. An absorbing and distinctive contribution to the current profusion of moon-landing books.--Carl Hays Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this companion volume to a PBS documentary series, Stone and Andres, respectively the series' director and consulting producer, effectively if unspectacularly recount the path to the first moon landing. They do so through the perspectives of key participants and observers, including sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, and NASA head James Webb. Clarke became fascinated with space exploration, for which he became an early proponent, as a teenager after spotting the "vibrant purple dusk jacket" of the book The Conquest of Space in a shop window in the 1930s. At age 18, Von Braun was already involved in rocketry experiments, going on to work for both the Nazi and U.S. governments. Webb's involvement didn't go back as far-he'd been a Washington insider and oil company executive before being appointed to run NASA-but once there "proved no less a space visionary." The authors' prose can be hyperbolic-they improbably claim that the "brown gulls swooping" over Cape Canaveral on July 19, 1969, "sensed the day was anything but typical"-but overall, this is a solid popular history that personalizes the race for the moon through the stories of some fascinating people. Agent: Jane von Mehren, Aevitas. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Astronautics and state -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Aeronautics and state -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Space flight -- History -- 20th century.
Space race.
Outer space -- Exploration -- History -- 20th century.
Publisher New York :[2019]
Edition First edition.
Contributors Andres, Alan, author.
Language English
Notes "A companion book to the American Experience film on PBS"--Dust jacket.
Description xiii, 359 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 317-338) and index.
ISBN 9781524798123
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