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Sputnik: The Launch of the Space Race

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  110 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
On October 4, 1957 as Leave It to Beaver premiered on American television, the Soviet Union launched the first man-made object into space, an 84-kilogram satellite carrying only a radio transmitter. While Sputnik immediately shocked the world, its long-term impact was even greater, for it profoundly changed the shape of the twentieth Century.

Washington journalist Paul Dick
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 25th 2001 by Macfarlane Walter & Ross
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May 08, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A more nuanced account of the launch of Sputnik and the American reaction than is usually presented. The author particularly pays attention to Eisenhower's plan for the American space effort, focused on surveillance satellites, and how the USSR launching first actually worked to America's advantage by establishing space as international. (Ike may have wanted the Soviets to go first for that reason.) The book is a departure from the popular narrative of America caught sleeping, hopelessly behind ...more
Paul Dickson's Sputnik: The Shock of the Century is one of the few book-length overviews of the event that launched the space age. It covers events leading up to the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik I satellite in October 1957, and analyzes cultural and political reactions after the fact.

Dickson prepares the ground for Sputnik by covering the establishment of the International Geophysical Year, 1957-58. Both the US and USSR had already been engaged in scientific gamesmanship for more than a
David R.
Jan 30, 2012 David R. rated it liked it
Dickson's mission is to explain to modern audiences how the launch of the USSR's "Sputnik 1" in October 1957 impacted the American psyche. There's definitely some historical narrative reaching as far back as Tsiolkovsky and Goddard and to the opening acts of the manned space program. There's a great deal more matter on the intrigues of the early space program largely involving the camp of Wernher von Braun on one side and the Eisenhower Administration on the other. And it is this arena where Dic ...more
This book did an excellent job of capturing both the excitement and fear that the launch of Sputnik brought to America in the autumn of 1957. It provides a solid background history on the rocket and how the idea of the satellite blossomed in the early 20th century. But what really makes this book is its explanation of what both the short and long-term consequences of Sputnik were on our politics, culture, education, technology, and economy were. When you read this you realize how amazing some of ...more
Jul 23, 2010 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-tech
I'm reading this book to lead a book discussion group at Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology in Kansas City, MO. This is a well-written account of the beginning of the Space Age. Paul Dickson ties into social and cultural events as well, presenting new ways of thinking about the impact of Sputnik and the early American space program (pre-NASA).
Dec 06, 2012 Sherif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Great review of the 50s and beyond with regards to the beginning of the space race and the first advancements in space technology.

Does a great job at describing the social climate and other relevant Cold War circumstances in the United States during that era, which is necessary to properly understand the impact and consequences of Sputnik.
Paul Tullar
Heard about the space race, but this book explained it. Cost of this race 300 billon
David Perkins
Mar 17, 2008 David Perkins rated it it was amazing
An excellent read, full of wonderful details that accompanied the true beginning of the Space Age, including the relevant history up to Sputnik's launch, the people behind the scenes, and the amazing global events that followed.
David Guretzki
The book is a good narrative of the space race more generally, but in reality the attention given to Sputnik itself amounts to maybe only a third of the book.
Charles Edwards
Jan 14, 2013 Charles Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent account of the hysteria surrounding Sputnik. The author goes into great detail in a relatively few pages. Takes you back to 1957.
Dec 29, 2007 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
So much to learn in this book! I'd never understood the extent to which the Cold War 'space race' and 'arms race' were indistinguishable.
Lauren Koop
May 14, 2013 Lauren Koop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was great ! Learned so much about Sputnik! Very interesting!!
Skip Heller
May 01, 2012 Skip Heller rated it it was amazing
So far, I'm riveted.
Michael Lawson
Nov 23, 2013 Michael Lawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book!
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Paul Dickson is the author of more than 45 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. Although he has written on a variety of subjects from ice cream to kite flying to electronic warfare, he now concentrates on writing about the American language, baseball and 20th century history.

Dickson, born in Yonkers, NY, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1961 and was honored as a Distinguished A
More about Paul Dickson...

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