Epic Rivalry: Inside the Soviet and American Space Race
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Epic Rivalry: Inside the Soviet and American Space Race

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  6 reviews
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon in 1969, they personified an almost unimaginable feat—the incredibly complex task of sending humans safely to another celestial body. This extraordinary odyssey, which grew from the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, was galvanized by the Sputnik launch in 1957. To mark the fift...more
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Published September 18th 2007 by National Geographic (first published 2007)
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Overall I felt that the book, “The Epic Rivalry”, was a decent exposition of the events of the Space Race. However, I do have some reservations about the book. First, the introduction to the book seems to serve to not only introduce the book but explain why it is the way it is. The book should explain that throughout its pages it should not have to be given an excuse by the authors. Second, the book in the form at which I encountered it suffers at the outset from some choppy prose, which makes i...more
I have to admit this took me longer to read than it should have – like 3 years. I would read it in stops and starts – always being interested in it, but finding it just a difficult read. Finally I had to get myself to stop reading it like a textbook - trying memorize facts and cull for details – and just read it like a book! Once I did that it went a lot quicker and was a lot more enjoyable. Although I’ve watched a lot of specials on space and this time period in the space race, this book really...more
This would probably be a decent introduction to the subject for a novice, but I've read enough about the space program that there wasn't anything new to me in the discussion of the American program. The Russian bits were more interesting, but insufficiently in-depth; I guess I need to find a book focusing on that, instead.
It took me 3 days to finish this book. The stories were mesmerizing and I didn't want to put the book down. :)

I'm overall interested in space travel and I enjoyed all the detailed stories. The book is good if you already know something of the topic but aren't an expert.
Nothing earth-shattering in here but does a good job of presenting a basic look at the U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. battle for supremacy in space. Lots of great photos as well. Decent reference material for space enthusiasts.
Interesting book about the space race. Most of the American stuff wasn't really new to me, but the parts about the Soviet Union were really interesting.
Joel Brandt
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Von Hardesty is currently a curator in the Division of Aeronautics at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He has written a number of books, and lives in the metropolitan D.C. area.
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