Robert A. Divine The Sputnik Challenge

ISBN 13: 9780195050080

The Sputnik Challenge

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9780195050080: The Sputnik Challenge
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On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched a 184-pound metal ball called Sputnik into orbit around the Earth, and America plummeted into a panic. Nuclear weapon designer Edward Teller claimed that the United States had lost "a battle more important and greater than Pearl Harbor," and magazine articles appeared with such headlines as "Are We Americans Going Soft?" In the White House, President Eisenhower seemed to do nothing, leading Kennedy in 1960 to proclaim a "missile gap" in the Soviet's favor. Rarely has public perception been so dramatically at odds with reality.
In The Sputnik Challenge, Robert Divine provides a fascinating look at Eisenhower's handling of the early space race--a story of public uproar, secret U-2 flights, bungled missile tests, the first spy satellite, political maneuvering, and scientific triumph. He recreates the national hysteria over the first two Sputnik launches, illustrating the anxious handwringing that the Democrats (led by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson) aggressively played for political gain. Divine takes us to private White House meetings, showing how Eisenhower worked closely with science adviser James Killian, allowing him to take the lead in creating a civilian agency--NASA--which provided intelligent and forceful leadership for American space programs. But the President also knew from priceless intelligence from U-2 flights over the U.S.S.R. that he had little to fear from the touted missile gap, and he fought to limit the growth and multiplication of military missile programs. Eisenhower's assurance, however, rested on classified information, and he did little to instill his confidence in the public. Nor could he boast of his early support for the secret spy satellite program (which quickly replaced the U-2 plane after Gary Powers was shot down in 1960). So the public continued to worry, feeding the national movement for educational reform as well as congressional maneuvering over funding for numerous strategic projects.
Eisenhower, Divine writes, possessed keen strategic vision and a sure sense of budgetary priorities, but ultimately he flunked a crucial test of leadership when he failed to reassure the frightened public that their fears were groundless. As a result, he ultimately failed in his goal to limit military spending as well--which led to a real missile gap in reverse. Incisively written and deeply researched, The Sputnik Challenge provides a briskly-paced history of the origins of NASA, the space race, and the age of the ICBM.

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About the Author:


Robert A. Divine is a Professor of History at the University of Texas, Austin, and is the author of Eisenhower and the Cold War and Blowing on the Wind.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A lucid analysis of how Russia's unpredicted space-race breakthrough affected, and was handled by, the nation's 34th President. Divine (History/University of Texas at Austin) is also the author of Eisenhower and the Cold War (1981), etc. Cautious, thrifty, and well-versed in politics, bureaucracy, and military matters, Eisenhower nonetheless found himself riding the storm when Sputnik appeared in the skies on October 4, 1957, and was soon followed by larger satellites containing first a dog, then a man. Hysteria was imminent as Americans extrapolated from satellite to missile performance; from education to fallout shelters, US culture, Divine says, was changed forever. The author shows Congress and the media hounding Eisenhower, his popularity dropping 20 points in half a year--and he explains how Ike, despite the pressure, rallied the nation's resources to respond to the Soviet challenge without creating the sort of pork-barrelling national debt that marked the end of the cold war. The author tells his story with exceptional clarity, keeping track of the endless maze of agencies, experts, politicos, and generals that figure in it. Competition and duplication of effort among the military services (which had near-identical weapons in development) and a rampaging Congress were, Divine explains, ongoing problems for Eisenhower. Meanwhile, the President, who correctly foresaw the decades of cold war ahead, insisted on fiscal responsibility, believing that a sound economy as much as technical advantage would decide the race with the Russians. A fine depiction of a homespun chief executive who maintained control and a levelheaded wisdom in the face of powerful and diverging political and economic forces. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched a 184-pound metal ball called Sputnik into orbit around the Earth, and America plummeted into a panic. Nuclear weapon Designer Edward Teller claimed that the United States had lost a battle more important and greater than Pearl Harbor, and magazine articles appeared with such headlines as Are We Americans Going Soft? In the White House, President Eisenhower seemed to do nothing, leading Kennedy in 1960 to proclaim a missile gap in the Soviets favor. Rarely has public perception been so dramatically at odds with reality. In The Sputnik Challenge, Robert Divine provides a fascinating look at Eisenhower s handling of the early space race - a story of public uproar, secret U-2 flights, bungled missile tests, the first spy satellite, political maneuvering, and scientific triumph. He recreates the national hysteria over the first two Sputnik launches, illustrating the anxious handwringing that the Democrats (led by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson) aggressively played for political gain. Divine takes us to private White House meetings, showing how Eisenhower worked closely with science adviser James Killian, allowing him to take the lead in creating a civilian agency - NASA - which provided intelligent and forceful leadership for American space programs. But the President also knew from priceless intelligence U-2 flights over the U.S.S.R. that he had little to fear from the touted missile gap, and he fought to limit the growth and multiplication of military missile programs. Eisenhower s assurance, however, rested on classified information, and he did little to instill his confidence in the public. Nor could he boast of his earlysupport for the secret spy satellite program (which quickly replaced the U-2 plane after Gary Powers was shot down in 1960). So the public continued to worry, feeding the national movement for educational reform as well as congressional maneuvering over funding for numerous strategic. Seller Inventory # APC9780195050080

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2006. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched a 184-pound metal ball called Sputnik into orbit around the Earth, and America plummeted into a panic. Nuclear weapon Designer Edward Teller claimed that the United States had lost a battle more important and greater than Pearl Harbor, and magazine articles appeared with such headlines as Are We Americans Going Soft? In the White House, President Eisenhower seemed to do nothing, leading Kennedy in 1960 to proclaim a missile gap in the Soviets favor. Rarely has public perception been so dramatically at odds with reality. In The Sputnik Challenge, Robert Divine provides a fascinating look at Eisenhower s handling of the early space race - a story of public uproar, secret U-2 flights, bungled missile tests, the first spy satellite, political maneuvering, and scientific triumph. He recreates the national hysteria over the first two Sputnik launches, illustrating the anxious handwringing that the Democrats (led by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson) aggressively played for political gain. Divine takes us to private White House meetings, showing how Eisenhower worked closely with science adviser James Killian, allowing him to take the lead in creating a civilian agency - NASA - which provided intelligent and forceful leadership for American space programs. But the President also knew from priceless intelligence U-2 flights over the U.S.S.R. that he had little to fear from the touted missile gap, and he fought to limit the growth and multiplication of military missile programs. Eisenhower s assurance, however, rested on classified information, and he did little to instill his confidence in the public. Nor could he boast of his earlysupport for the secret spy satellite program (which quickly replaced the U-2 plane after Gary Powers was shot down in 1960). So the public continued to worry, feeding the national movement for educational reform as well as congressional maneuvering over funding for numerous strategic. Seller Inventory # APC9780195050080

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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA. Hardcover. Condition: New. 272 pages. Dimensions: 9.3in. x 6.1in. x 1.1in.On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched a 184-pound metal ball called Sputnik into orbit around the Earth, and America plummeted into a panic. Nuclear weapon designer Edward Teller claimed that the United States had lost a battle more important and greater than Pearl Harbor, and magazine articles appeared with such headlines as Are We Americans Going Soft In the White House, President Eisenhower seemed to do nothing, leading Kennedy in 1960 to proclaim a missile gap in the Soviets favor. Rarely has public perception been so dramatically at odds with reality. In The Sputnik Challenge, Robert Divine provides a fascinating look at Eisenhowers handling of the early space race--a story of public uproar, secret U-2 flights, bungled missile tests, the first spy satellite, political maneuvering, and scientific triumph. He recreates the national hysteria over the first two Sputnik launches, illustrating the anxious handwringing that the Democrats (led by Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson) aggressively played for political gain. Divine takes us to private White House meetings, showing how Eisenhower worked closely with science adviser James Killian, allowing him to take the lead in creating a civilian agency--NASA--which provided intelligent and forceful leadership for American space programs. But the President also knew from priceless intelligence from U-2 flights over the U. S. S. R. that he had little to fear from the touted missile gap, and he fought to limit the growth and multiplication of military missile programs. Eisenhowers assurance, however, rested on classified information, and he did little to instill his confidence in the public. Nor could he boast of his early support for the secret spy satellite program (which quickly replaced the U-2 plane after Gary Powers was shot down in 1960). So the public continued to worry, feeding the national movement for educational reform as well as congressional maneuvering over funding for numerous strategic projects. Eisenhower, Divine writes, possessed keen strategic vision and a sure sense of budgetary priorities, but ultimately he flunked a crucial test of leadership when he failed to reassure the frightened public that their fears were groundless. As a result, he ultimately failed in his goal to limit military spending as well--which led to a real missile gap in reverse. Incisively written and deeply researched, The Sputnik Challenge provides a briskly-paced history of the origins of NASA, the space race, and the age of the ICBM. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Seller Inventory # 9780195050080

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