Russia James Schefter The Race

ISBN 13: 9780385492539

The Race

4.03 avg rating
( 88 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780385492539: The Race

The messy and glorious saga of the golden years of the American space program, told in never-before-revealed detail by a man who was there.

In 1963, a young reporter named Jim Schefter was given a dream job: cover America's race to the moon. Since the astronauts were under contract to Life, Schefter's employer, for their stories, he was given unparalleled access to the lives of all the players at NASA. Of course, for PR reasons he could not write a fraction of what he saw then. Now, at last, he can tell it all.

As incredible as the "official" story of the space program is, the true, behind-the-scenes tale is more thrilling, entertaining, and ultimately, more ennobling. There were vicious battles between the German (often ex-Nazi) rocket pioneers and the younger American engineers; feuds and practical jokes; astronauts whose private lives were considerably more colorful than has been portrayed; many near-fatal accidents other than Apollo 13; political chicanery from the Kremlin and the White House; and dozens of smart, brave, larger-than-life individuals pulling off the greatest exploration in the history of humankind.

No one could tell this story as fully and as well as Jim Schefter. Given full access to NASA archives and the personal papers of many of the participants, both Russian and American, trusted by the astronauts and mission controllers who want the real story passed on to history, Schefter brings to life a more innocent, heroic era in all its bravado and complexity. From drunken astronaut escapades and groupies to near disasters and ferocious political infighting, the race to the moon was anything but the smooth journey of popular imagination.

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Review:

When young Jim Schefter was a stringer for the Houston Chronicle and later Life magazine, he scored the plum reporting assignment of the 1960s--close-up coverage of the tense, heady race to space between the Americans and the Soviets. That pivotal decade in space exploration gave us near misses, giddy victories, and tragic failures that are hard to even imagine now as we yawn at the ubiquitous "routine shuttle launch." But the space race back then was deadly serious stuff: America's best and brightest scientists were teamed up with bold cowboy astronauts to win what was then seen as the most visible, most crucial battle in the cold war. And Jim Schefter--thanks to an exclusive contract Life had inked with the astronauts and their families--sat front-row center, from the earliest launches on to Neil Armstrong's hastily composed words as he stepped off the Eagle.

Armed with copious notes, reams of NASA and Soviet documents, and countless closed-door, at times embarrassing anecdotes, Schefter recounts the tit-for-tat one-upmanship of those early days in The Race, going as far back as the post-WWII grab for Nazi rocket technology (Schefter reveals that many joked at the time that the U.S.-Soviet race was being conducted by the Germans--"our Germans versus their Germans"). Schefter ably conveys the era's tension and exhilaration, jumping back and forth between the U.S. and Russian teams with smart, Superfriends pacing (think "meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice..."), while also offering up solid historical and technical context and many uncomfortably funny asides (including stories about masturbating space monkeys and drunken astronauts out to stud). --Paul Hughes

From the Back Cover:

"A great book for both the space buff who wants to learn some trivia and for the reader unfamiliar with the monumental events it describes. It's an exciting account of an exciting era."--Chicago Tribune

"Some reporters get to cover the story of a generation. Count Jim Schefter among this lucky bunch--the tale is still thrilling."--Denver Rocky Mountain News

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Book Description Doubleday, New York, NY, 1999. Quarter Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition, First Printing. New York, NY, Doubleday, 1999. First edition, first printing. 8vo. Black quarter cloth over mauve boards with silver lettering embossed on spine, textured gray endpapers, illustrated with black and white photographs, 303 pp. As incredible as the "official" story behind the space program is, the true, behind the scenes tale is more thrilling, entertaining and ultimately, more ennobling. The author brings to life a more innocent, heroic era in all its bravado and complexity. From drunken astronaut escapades and groupies to near disasters and ferocious political infighting, the race to the moon was anything but the smooth journey of popular imagination. New in a new dust jacket, protected by a mylar cover. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 020213

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Book Description Doubleday, New York, NY, 1999. Quarter Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. New York, NY, Doubleday, 1999. First edition. 8vo. Black quarter cloth over maroon boards with silver lettering embossed onto spine, gray endpapers, black and white illustrations, 303 pp. A behind-the-scenes look at the space program: thrilling, entertaining and ennobling. The author brings to life a more innocent, heroic era in all its bravado and complexity. New is a new dust jacket, protected by a mylar cover. Bookseller Inventory # EM-FBA-07

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