American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

by Douglas Brinkley

Paperback(Large Print)

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American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed Douglas Brinkley's book "American Moonshot." As an aerospace engineer myself, I thought I already knew a lot about Apollo. Turns out, there was much for me to learn! The book does cover the important ideas of the engineering technologies, but it presents them in a way a non-engineer could understand. I was impressed by the accuracy and attention to technical detail. In addition, I was fascinated to learn how Apollo was not just a feat of engineering, but one of politics. JFK's articulation of a national vision and the behind-the-scenes politics that Brinkley describes truly made possible the moon landing within the decade. I had not appreciated how pivotal that convergence of policy and engineering was to NASA. Reflecting on NASA's new plans to return to the moon and fly to Mars, I think the historical lessons in "American Moonshot" ought to serve as a guide for how to bring out the best of our nation. I would highly recommend this book to everyone, aerospace engineers and non-engineers alike. Brinkley brings the story of the rockets, the engineers who built them, and the politicians of the Apollo era to life in a unique and engaging way. 10/10 Rocket scientist approved! If it speaks louder than my words, I would note that this is the first time I've felt compelled to write an online book review. In addition, I bought 10 more copies of "American Moonshot" to share with my friends and family, many of whom also work in the space industry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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jmgallen 8 months ago
“America’s Moonshot” is a contemporary look back at the Race to the Moon of the 1960s with the focus on the role of President John F. Kennedy in its initiation and promotion. More presidential history than scientific, it illustrates the central role that the space Program played in the Cold War. The characters run the gamut of space lore from Jules Verne through Robert Goddard, Alan Shepherd, Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Jim Web, Chris Kraft, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and others too numerous to mention. The scene is set with Kennedy having been elected to get America moving again, a Soviet satellite in space, the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the President looking for something we can beat the Russians at. Told that that could be a race to the moon, Kennedy made the bold challenge that would invigorate the 60s. The action begins with the Mercury program that moved NASA into space and laid the ground work for the Gemini and Apollo programs to follow. The tragedy of the Apollo I fire is analyzed not only on its own account but for the threat it presented to the timely completion of the challenge. The bold decision to send Apollo VIII to the moon, rather than have into earth orbit as originally planned, showed that the end of the decade deadline could be met. Even a story as big as the Moonshot has personal elements. John Glenn and John Kennedy would become friends and the President was partially responsible in encouraging Glenn to get into politics. Kennedy’s distrust of Wernher von Braun because of his Nazi involvement and questions about his culpability in war crimes continually surface throughout this tome. Some astronauts, such as Scott Carpenter and Wally Schirra irritated Flight Director Chris Kraft and former President Eisenhower repeatedly criticized the program. Author Douglas Brinkley has crafted an enlightening look back on the stories that were front page news and television bulletins a half-century ago. He provides some explanation why the relatively short Kennedy Administration remains a benchmark against which others are measured. The references to von Braun’s record encourage reflection on our own time’s treatment of those with pasts. This is a well written history that shines light on our past and encourages us to reassess our present and future.