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Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold…

Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race

by David Scott, Alexei Leonov

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Two Sides of the Moon is a dual memoir of Astronaut David Scott, seventh man to walk on the moon (Gemini 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 15), and Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, first man to walk in space (Voskhod 2, Apollo-Soyuz). Their stories are basket-weaved together creating a truly engaging 360-degree look at the Space Race between the USA and USSR.

Each recounted their early love of flying, their candidate selection, national pride and enthusiasm for doing something never before tried. Both men lost several friends. Scott was close with the (original) Gemini 9 and Apollo 1 crews and Leonov was the one called to identify Yuri Garagin, his best friend, after a MiG accident. Each address the ways these deaths affected their programs and of their frustrations with management.

Both men talk of trying to follow the 'other side' as close as possible, although Leonov had an easier time of it because he was able to read LIFE magazine articles about the astronauts. The USSR wasn't quite as forthcoming about their own people. And they recount how at international forums, such as the Paris air show, astronauts and cosmonauts would occasionally meet and sit down with each other, even when instructed not to by their superiors. They enjoyed being with other men who had had the same experiences, lived similar lives, even when they didn't speak the same language.

Leonov and Scott nearly perished on missions. During his EVA, Leonov's suit expanded and he had trouble fitting back into his capsule. Scott was aboard Gemini 8 with Neil Armstrong and had to abort their mission due to a stuck handstick, which kept the capsule in a constant left-hand roll. Both men express how important they believed the Space Race to be in proving their own national ideology and both went up in space again.

Scott and Leonov met a few times during the planning stages for the Apollo-Soyuz joint mission even though only Leonov flew it. Both truly felt that the future of spaceflight would be accomplished together and were disappointed when relations between the USA and USSR broke down. Each took prestigious positions in their respective programs but eventually left for jobs in the private sector.

To see how their lives paralleled each other made really interesting reading. This might just be my favorite Space Race book yet. ( )
  VictoriaPL | Feb 12, 2012 |
A solid dual history of the space race with interwoven Russian and American narratives. Leonov's perspective is more interesting because it's less familiar . . . Scott, though he comes off as a single-mindedly dull fellow, finally comes to life when describing the excitement he felt making spectacular geological discoveries on the Moon. ( )
  ABVR | Aug 21, 2006 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Scottprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leonov, Alexeimain authorall editionsconfirmed
Armstrong, NeilForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanks, TomIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312308663, Paperback)

"An extraordinary book."
---Arthur C. Clarke
Space was one of the most fiercely fought battlegrounds of the Cold War, the Moon its ultimate beachhead.
In this dual autobiography, Apollo 15 commander David Scott and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first man to ever walk in space, recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploration--and their participation in the greatest technological race ever--to land a man on the Moon.
With each mission fraught with perilous tasks, and each space program touched by tragedy, these parallel tales of adventure and heroism read like a modern-day thriller. Cutting fast between their differing recollections, this book reveals, in a very personal way, the drama of one of the most ambitious contests ever embarked on by man, set against the conflict that once held the world in suspense: the clash between Communism and Western democracy.
Through the men's memoirs, their courage, passion for exploration, and determination to push themselves to the limit, emerge not only through their triumphs but also through their perseverance in times of extraordinary difficulty and danger.
"Two Sides of the Moon is unique among space histories. If you are looking for a balanced, interesting, and personal account of the American and Soviet space programs during the 1960s and 1970s this is it."
---Astronomy magazine

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:22 -0400)

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