Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo

Basic. Nov. 2020. 384p. ISBN 9781541699878. $30. SCI
Years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon in 1969, President Dwight D. Eisenhower began to see space exploration as a way to win prestige in the world: a psychological and political battlefield during the Cold War. In this readable account, Muir-Harmony, curator of the Project Apollo collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and author of Apollo to the Moon, looks at the long-standing impact of space travel and exploration on diplomacy and globalization. The well-written narrative follows the early years of space exploration, from the Soviet Union successfully launching Sputnik in 1957 to John Glenn’s Friendship 7 in 1962 to the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. Offering perspective into the behind-the-scenes diplomacy that made Apollo 11 possible, the book includes recollections from some of the astronauts and crew that took part in this historic mission. Muir-Harmony effectively describes how space programs, especially those in the United States, were an attempt to win the hearts and minds of people and an effort to advance U.S. national interests during the mid-20th century.
VERDICT Anyone interested in the early days of space exploration will be drawn to this fast-paced, accessible book.

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