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Countdown : a history of space flight
Heppenheimer, T. A.
Adult Nonfiction TL789.8.U5 H49 1997

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Like a skilled artisan, Heppenheimer (Turbulent Skies) weaves social, political, scientific, technological, military and economic threads of the history of space flight into a tapestry that reveals fascinating patterns and themes. He portrays technological brilliance mingled with colossal errors in judgment, the interplay of teamwork and bitter rivalry, the juxtaposition of the noblest and most venal national and personal goals, while presenting the still-unfolding story of humanity's greatest adventure. Key to the story are individuals who, though often operating behind the scenes, like Sergei Korolev, the founder of the Soviet space program, shaped intra-national and international events. Marked by comprehensive primary source and documentary research, and drawing on a trove of information not available before the fall of the Soviet Union, Heppenheimer'ss chronology is rich in scientific and technological detail, though readers will have to follow the book's extensive bibliography for a more complete picture. This is primarily a well-told story of humanity's quest to reach the cosmos, and of the very human individuals who, for good or ill, have left their mark on that great endeavor. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The end of the Cold War has brought with it sweeping changes in both the American and the former Soviet Union's space programs, which received their primary impetus from the post-World War II nuclear stalemate but today are justified mainly on the basis of international cooperation. Science writer Heppenheimer's readable account provides a timely historical overview of the early visionaries, the engineers, and the geopolitical forces that placed men on the moon and created today's aerospace industry. Drawing on newly available Russian sources, the author places both Russian and American programs in their historical contexts, demonstrating that the two superpowers undertook their respective expensive manned programs mainly for the sake of prestige. However, he reluctantly concludes that, having failed in developing any support beyond the sponsoring governments, manned spaceflight may not have a future beyond the current U.S.-Russian joint space station venture. In contrast, he notes, the real achievements of space research are embodied in the advancements in communications technology and meteorology that are so ingrained in our daily lives. A thoughtful analysis that is highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.‘Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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