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Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden…
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Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space… (2007)

by Matthew Brzezinski

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Important book on VonBraun and the rocket program...(3 references to Col J C Nickerson jr) of the Nickerson family of Siluria Al.
  antiqueart | Dec 9, 2013 |
After being hugely impressed by Matthew Brzezinski's Isaac's Army I thought I'd try his earlier book about the history of the development of the early missiles - from the V2 in WWII up to the first US satellite in 1958. The book weaves back and forth between the US and USSR as technology and politics progress. The information about the Soviets is new territory since much has been secret until recently. It covers a lot of interesting events and people such as Sputnik, U2, Sergei Korolev, Wernher von Braun, the first ICBM the R2, the failed Vanguard program, etc..

Interesting perspectives include the strategic mistake the USA made to presume that the USSR's centralized government couldn't succeed at large science projects. How the USA put rocket and space development on hold after WWII as mere "Buck Rogers" science fiction, then were rudely awakened by Sputnik, with Eisenhower seeming out of touch and old school. How Sputnik had no purpose other than testing, it took the newspapers of NY and London for the Soviet leadership to realize they had done something historically important. It goes on like this, many great perspectives and information for those of us who didn't live through it. Sputnik was a watershed moment culturally and politically, this book puts it into perspective. ( )
  Stbalbach | Oct 26, 2013 |
Fascinating; breaks new ground with lots of inside information from Sergei Khrushchev. ( )
  esswedl | Apr 29, 2010 |
What a great read! This is a popular history of the space race from 1945 to 1958 written at a brisk pace and vibrant with colorful detail. It would appeal especially to modern history buffs and those interested in the stories of developments in science and engineering in the 20th century.

The Chief Designer of rockets for the Soviet Union, Sergei Korolev, whose identity was a state secret in the race for missiles and satellites between the USSR and the USA, at last receives a deserving portrayal. And just as punchy a picture is painted of the seamless passage of Wernher von Braun from Nazi to to Disney star to US head rocket honcho.

One of the many clearly detailed facts to emerge from this book is the nearly complete falsification of the state of military capabilities put out by the US military in the 1950s, when the US public was frightened into supporting unlimited military spending on the basis that the US was far behind the Soviet Union. This was at a time when US bombers and spy planes had the Soviet Union surrounded and routinely overflew its airspace, knowing the Soviets could not retaliate.

Another memorable observation to emerge from the book is the way US pride was stunned by the Sputnik achievement of 1957. Americans had assumed that a country that was unable to provide decent and sufficient consumer goods for its own people could not possibly achieve technical superiority over the US. The lesson is that a state apparatus focusing massive resources on a single-minded project, even to the detriment of the well-being of its citizens, can create extraordinary results. It was true with the Manhattan Project of World War 2, the Russian bomb and rocket drive of the 1950s, and even in the North Korean nuclear and missile industry of today.

The launch of Sputnik was an historical turning point--in the USSR, in the USA, in the history of humankind--and this book dramatizes it well. The author is to be congratulated. ( )
1 vote Wheatland | May 31, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080508147X, Hardcover)

For the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik, the behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space
 
The spy planes were driving Nikita Khrushchev mad. Whenever America wanted to peer inside the Soviet Union, it launched a U-2, which flew too high to be shot down. But Sergei Korolev, Russia's chief rocket designer, had a riposte: an artificial satellite that would orbit the earth and cross American skies at will. On October 4, 1957, the launch of Korolev's satellite, Sputnik, stunned the world.

In Red Moon Rising, Matthew Brzezinski takes us inside the Kremlin, the White House, secret military facilities, and the halls of Congress to bring to life the Russians and Americans who feared and distrusted their compatriots as much as their superpower rivals. Drawing on original interviews and new documentary sources from both sides of the Cold War divide, he shows how Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower were buffeted by crises of their own creation, leaving the door open to ambitious politicians and scientists to squabble over the heavens and the earth. It is a story rich in the paranoia of the time, with combatants that included two future presidents, survivors of the gulag, corporate chieftains, rehabilitated Nazis, and a general who won the day by refusing to follow orders.

Sputnik set in motion events that led not only to the moon landing but also to cell phones, federally guaranteed student loans, and the wireless Internet. Red Moon Rising recounts the true story of the birth of the space age in dramatic detail, bringing it to life as never before.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:20 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space. Khrushchev was frustrated at America's U-2 spy plane, which flew too high to be shot down. But Russia's chief rocket designer, had an answer: an artificial satellite that would orbit the earth and cross American skies at will. The launch of Sputnik on October 4, 1957, stunned the world. Sputnik set in motion events that led not only to the moon landing but also to cell phones, federally guaranteed student loans, and the wireless Internet. Journalist Brzezinski takes us inside the Kremlin, the White House, secret military facilities, and the halls of Congress to bring to life the Russians and Americans who feared and distrusted their compatriots as much as their rivals. It is a story rich in the paranoia of the time.--From publisher description.… (more)

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