However controversial the author might be, this book was outstanding. Another review called it "breezy" and as amazing as that might sound for a tome...moreHowever controversial the author might be, this book was outstanding. Another review called it "breezy" and as amazing as that might sound for a tome covering the history of Western diplomacy from 1600-1995, it is true - the book is eminently readable while simultaneously very thought provoking. Some central themes recur frequently - the tension (or alternation) between old European balance of power politics and grander, Wilsonian idealistic approaches - but are elaborated very effectively in decade after decade of situational application. Kissinger's depth as a scholar of history is clearly shown. Unsurprisingly, the chapters covering eras in which he had direct personal involvement on the international stage, from the 1950s to 1970s, provide some of the deepest insight, and offer a perspective not readily available on the complexities and nuances of politics during that period, and especially not found in the simplistic and somewhat shallow reductions/synopses of that period's history which have survived to today. "Diplomacy" has earned its way to my 'top 5' list of books on the shelf.(less)
Readers will find little new in "The Man Who Ran the Moon", although its focus on an often-overlooked but central figure in the Apollo program - NASA...moreReaders will find little new in "The Man Who Ran the Moon", although its focus on an often-overlooked but central figure in the Apollo program - NASA Administrator James Webb - is a welcome supplement to the popular histories of the era. Webb's views on the organization and management of the newborn agency are almost as interesting as his political dealings through the 1960s. The complex interplay between aerospace contractors and the Federal government is also given more exposure than conventional in popular texts.
A quick and easy read, "The Man Who Ran the Moon" is a worthwhile diversion for anyone interested in the history of NASA as an organization or the Apollo program itself, as well as public administration in general and Cold War-era beliefs about technocracies and their role in society.(less)