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Apollo's legacy : perspectives on the moon landings
2019
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Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this page-turning history, Launius (The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration), former chief historian for NASA, investigates how "belief, knowledge, rational thought, and myth" have all shaped the legacy of NASA's Apollo program in popular memory. Throughout, Launius is careful to relate conflicting perspectives. The program, he reminds readers, was initially attacked from both sides of the political aisle for costs "greater than their worth," but the successful missions to the moon between 1969 and 1972 established Apollo as an exemplar of American scientific accomplishment. From the "sophisticated technical competence" that brought it to life, to the careful presentation of the astronauts as ideal American heroes ("one of the truly great examples of mythmaking in modern American history"), Apollo expanded Americans' conception of the possible—for "if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we do X?" Whether covering hard-to-explain scientific concepts or the puzzling persistence of moon-landing deniers, Launius's erudite, approachable storytelling is superlative. Despite his past connection to NASA, he evenhandedly unpacks agency triumphs and failures alike. Space Age aficionados, political junkies, and general readers will find both the unexpected and the fascinating in Launius's scrupulously researched account. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this page-turning history, Launius (The Smithsonian History of Space Exploration), former chief historian for NASA, investigates how "belief, knowledge, rational thought, and myth" have all shaped the legacy of NASA's Apollo program in popular memory. Throughout, Launius is careful to relate conflicting perspectives. The program, he reminds readers, was initially attacked from both sides of the political aisle for costs "greater than their worth," but the successful missions to the moon between 1969 and 1972 established Apollo as an exemplar of American scientific accomplishment. From the "sophisticated technical competence" that brought it to life, to the careful presentation of the astronauts as ideal American heroes ("one of the truly great examples of mythmaking in modern American history"), Apollo expanded Americans' conception of the possible—for "if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we do X?" Whether covering hard-to-explain scientific concepts or the puzzling persistence of moon-landing deniers, Launius's erudite, approachable storytelling is superlative. Despite his past connection to NASA, he evenhandedly unpacks agency triumphs and failures alike. Space Age aficionados, political junkies, and general readers will find both the unexpected and the fascinating in Launius's scrupulously researched account. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

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A space historian explores the many-faceted stories told about the meaning of the Apollo program and how it forever altered American society, and weaves in stories from important moments in Apollo’s history to draw readers into his analysis. (science). - (Baker & Taylor)

An all-encompassing look at the history and enduring impact of the Apollo space program

In Apollo's Legacy, space historian Roger D. Launius explores the many-faceted stories told about the meaning of the Apollo program and how it forever altered American society. The Apollo missions marked the first time human beings left Earth's orbit and visited another world, and thus they loom large in our collective memory. Many have detailed the exciting events of the Apollo program, but Launius offers unique insight into its legacy as seen through multiple perspectives. He surveys a wide range of viewpoints and narratives, both positive and negative, surrounding the program. These include the argument that Apollo epitomizes American technological--and political--progress; technological and scientific advances garnered from the program; critiques from both sides of the political spectrum about the program's expenses; and even conspiracy theories and denials of the program's very existence. Throughout the book, Launius weaves in stories from important moments in Apollo's history to draw readers into his analysis. Apollo's Legacy is a must-read for space buffs interested in new angles on a beloved cultural moment and those seeking a historic perspective on the Apollo program. - (Random House, Inc.)

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