“Brinkley’s story is a gripping one….Rice University scholar and an agile and prolific historian and biographer, Brinkley is well-situated to tell this story… Brinkley sees an important poignancy, and he renders it with real power.”



This book is a terrific overview of the space program from WW2 until the death of the president. The final chapter covers the moonshot.

The space program actually begins during the Second World War with the German development of long range rockets and the Manhattan Project, the race to create an atomic bomb by the US and its allies. At the very end of the war as Germany is sure to be defeated there is a mad rush to capture the German scientists, and the US nabs the big prize, Werner Von Braun.

He is brought to the US to head our rocket missile development. But Braun’s dream was always outer space. When Russia jumps ahead in the space program with the Sputnik satellite being placed into orbit, President Eisenhower puts our space program in top gear. And no,one was a bigger advocate of this then at the time Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The book gives us a detailed history of how the US caught then surged ahead in the space race with the USSR, how President Kennedy made it a priority in our government policy to conquer space before Russia could. His famous prediction of landing a man on the moon and returning him back safely to Earth before the end of the 1960’s was the charge call that led the way.

Mr. Brinkley is one of our great historians and he does a terrific job bringing the space race to life here in this book. Anyone old enough to remember the day the entire world stopped and watched as we landed on the moon will remember the great pride and and joy this accomplishment brought to the world. If you have any interest on how it all came about, you will love this book.

Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 17th June 2019

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Richard Franco