Beyond : the astonishing story of the first human to leave our planet and journey into space

by Walker, Stephen, 1961-

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 6 copies
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CLP - Carrick Non-Fiction Collection TL789.85.G3 W35 2021x
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CLP - Downtown First Floor - Non-Fiction Collection TL789.85.G3 W35 2021x
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library New Books 629.45009 Wal
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Upper St. Clair Township Library Non-fiction 629.45 WAL
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"This remarkable account of the 1961 race into space is a thrilling piece of storytelling. . . . It is high definition history: tight, thrilling and beautifully researched."--The Times, London, Front Page Lead Review

"Beyond has the exhilaration of a fine thriller, but it is vividly embedded in the historic tensions of the Cold War, and peopled by men and women brought sympathetically, and sometimes tragically, to life."--Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road

09.07 am. April 12, 1961. A top secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union's most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile--originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead--and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to make history.

Travelling at almost 18,000 miles per hour--ten times faster than a rifle bullet--Gagarin circles the globe in just 106 minutes. From his windows he sees the earth as nobody has before, crossing a sunset and a sunrise, crossing oceans and continents, witnessing its beauty and its fragility. While his launch begins in total secrecy, within hours of his landing he has become a world celebrity - the first human to leave the planet.

Beyond tells the thrilling story behind that epic flight on its 60th anniversary. It happened at the height of the Cold War as the US and USSR confronted each other across an Iron Curtain. Both superpowers took enormous risks to get a man into space first, the Americans in the full glare of the media, the Soviets under deep cover. Both trained their teams of astronauts to the edges of the endurable. In the end the race between them would come down to the wire.

Drawing on extensive original research and the vivid testimony of eyewitnesses, many of whom have never spoken before, Stephen Walker unpacks secrets that were hidden for decades and takes the reader into the drama of one of humanity's greatest adventures - to the scientists, engineers and political leaders on both sides, and above all to the American astronauts and their Soviet rivals battling for supremacy in the heavens.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "British author (Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima, 2005) and filmmaker (Young@Heart, 2007) Walker makes use of declassified material from the former Soviet Union to uncover for English-speaking audiences the real story of Yuri Gagarin and the other Soviet cosmonauts who beat America in the race to get the first person into outer space. Alternating the saga of the Soviet spacemen with the better-known NASA astronauts, Walker paints the less familiar cosmonauts as three-dimensional characters, not the ideologically driven caricatures of Cold War propaganda machines. Gagarin and his comrades were held in strictest secrecy as they prepared for their rocket rides, and Walker reveals some surprising facts such as Soviet cosmonauts having to be relatively short in order to fit in the smaller Soviet capsules. Walker also lays bare some of NASA's own fudging of truth as in its hiding of one Mercury astronaut's extramarital affair. Those fascinated by space exploration as well as its geopolitical importance in the last half of the twentieth century will find themselves engrossed in this detailed history. Includes bibliographic notes."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Film director Walker (Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima) marks the 60th anniversary of the first manned space flight in April 1961 with this vivid account of the Cold War--era space race. Jumping back and forth between developments in the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Walker captures the uncertainty and tension of early test flights that sent stray dogs, a chimpanzee, and a mannequin named Ivan into space, and details covert intelligence-gathering operations, including a CIA mission to "kidnap" a key part of the Soviet R-7 rocket from an exhibition in Mexico City. The book's centerpiece is a dramatic, minute-by-minute account of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's ascent into orbit and near-catastrophic return to Earth (a faulty valve delayed his engine compartment from separating at the designated moment, threatening to destroy his capsule upon reentry into the atmosphere). Walker draws on archival records, memoirs, and interviews with family members to profile key players in the space race, including U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard (who reached space 23 days after Gagarin) and Russian rocket engineer Sergei Korolev, who was "removed from all public discourse" after 1957 in order to protect the secrecy of the Soviet missile program. This entertaining and carefully researched history achieves liftoff. (Apr.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Gagarin, Yuri Alekseyevich, -- 1934-1968.
Astronauts -- Soviet Union -- Biography.
Astronautics -- Soviet Union -- History.
Manned space flight -- History.
Space race.
Publisher New York, NY :2021
Edition First U.S. edition.
Language English
Description x, 502 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9780062978158
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