Sunday, November 04, 2007
This chronicle of the Sputnik era is one of several new histories which have come out this year, and it's a good one. Michael Brzezinski's Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age (2007: Times Books) stands out for a couple of reasons, including solid writing and an in-depth presentation of the Soviet side of events. He adds a good grasp of technical detail. As the co-author of another book on this subject, The First Space Race, I can speak with some authority when I say this is a valuable contribution. If anything gave me pause, it's his inclusion of the quote "Goldstone has the bird" in his acocunt of the Explorer I launch: we demonstrated that must have been based on incorrect memories, as no Goldstone tracking station yet existed. However, a few quibbles like that don't detract much from a book I recommend.