SPUTNIK: The Shock of the Century

Paul Dickson, Author . Walker $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1365-0

Dickson (The Electronic Battlefield) chronicles in detail the Soviet satellite Sputnik. The Soviet Union was propelled into international prominence on October 4, 1957, by becoming the first nation to successfully launch a satellite, beating the American program by several months. The Soviet spacecraft panicked Americans, who constantly looked up into the sky, spoke in hushed tones and feared that the satellite presaged an atomic attack. President Eisenhower remained calm and tried to lead the country through the media-generated crisis, but the Sputnik "debacle" helped the Democrats in the next election. Dickson chronicles the history of rocket research, including Nazi successes during WWII. American and Soviet troops vied to seize German scientists and hardware. Dickson examines the feuding between the services for control of the space program and candidly exposes the reasons for the lag in American research. Eisenhower gets high marks for his quiet mastery of the situation, pleased that the Soviets were first into space, since that set off a race to improve American education, even as it fueled an outbreak of UFO hysteria. Dickson, whose bibliography runs to 19 pages, completely understands the lure and lore of Sputnik and has done a solid job of synthesizing prior books on the subject. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/10/2001
Release date: 06/01/2007
Acrobat Ebook Reader - 108 pages - 978-0-8027-9925-8
Hardcover - 562 pages - 978-0-7838-9760-8
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-425-18843-9
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8027-1804-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-8027-1603-3
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-0-8027-7951-9
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