Instant New York Times Bestseller
As the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing approaches, the award winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring challenge, and America’s race to the moon.
“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”—President John F. Kennedy
On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.
Drawing on new primary source material and major interviews with many of the surviving figures who were key to America’s success, Brinkley brings this fascinating history to life as never before. American Moonshot is a portrait of the brilliant men and women who made this giant leap possible, the technology that enabled us to propel men beyond earth’s orbit to the moon and return them safely, and the geopolitical tensions that spurred Kennedy to commit himself fully to this audacious dream. Brinkley’s ensemble cast of New Frontier characters include rocketeer Wernher von Braun, astronaut John Glenn and space booster Lyndon Johnson.
A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in the nation’s history, American Moonshot is an homage to scientific ingenuity, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Using a novelist’s sense of storytelling, historian Douglas Brinkley provides the full sociopolitical context for the Cold War space race to give us a deeper understanding of President John F. Kennedy’s symbolic gesture to cement American technological, scientific, and political dominance. With stubborn optimism and a personal refusal to accept failure, Kennedy challenged, inspired, and at times manipulated Americans into supporting the biggest scientific and public-relations gamble of the 20th century—launching a manned lunar mission in less than 10 years. The meticulous, enlightening American Moonshot details what it took—and what it cost—to get there.
Brinkley (The Great Deluge) frames the life and career of President John F. Kennedy through the Cold War tinged lens of the Space Race in this inspiring history. The book opens with the parallels between the WWII experiences of PT boat commander Kennedy and Nazi rocketeer Wernher von Braun, whose lives intersected after the war with the launch of Kennedy's political career and von Braun's newfound role as the United States' top rocket scientist. In Brinkley's telling, Kennedy's impassioned response to Soviet advances in space technology, which contrasted sharply the Eisenhower administration's, led him to victory in the 1960 presidential election. His declaration before Congress that Americans would put men on the moon by the end of the decade and his public embrace of John Glenn and the other Mercury Seven astronauts were, Brinkley argues, political gestures also motivated by personal passion. The author argues that it was Kennedy's appeal to a sense of American greatness, evident in his famous "We choose to go to the moon" speech at Rice University in September 1962, that made the U.S.'s space achievements possible. By highlighting the visionary, charismatic political leader's role, Brinkley offers a new perspective on one of the greatest accomplishments in human history. Photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All