Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo

Teasel Muir-Harmony. Basic, $30 (384p) ISBN -978-1-5416-9987-8
Historian Muir-Harmony (Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects) digs deep into the archives of the U.S. space program to illuminate the U.S.-Soviet contest to reach the moon first and win global prestige. The narrative traces how, from the Eisenhower to Nixon administrations, the American government focused on the space program as a valuable propaganda tool in the Cold War. As the space race progressed, the United States Information Agency used American accomplishments in space to present an inspirational image of the U.S. abroad as a way to counteract widespread disapproval of the nation’s handling of civil rights and the Vietnam War. With government strategists keen to avoid having the program perceived as militaristic, particularly in postcolonial nations the Soviet Union was keen to turn against the U.S., “the use of military uniforms or titles by US officials, even during the Mercury flights [crewed by military pilots], was prohibited.” The ambitious initiative ended in triumph, with 1969’s “Giantstep” tour, which sent Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins around the world following the moon landing. Muir-Harmony also credits the Apollo program, through the worldwide attention it generated, for helping to propel the onset of cultural globalization through “its far-reaching circulation of icons and images.” Readers will find this to be an impressive example of what well-executed government policy can achieve. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/16/2020
Release date: 11/24/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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