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This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age
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This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  396 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
This New Ocean is based on 175 interviews with Russian and American scientists and engineers; on archival documents, including formerly top-secret National Intelligence Estimates and spy satellite pictures; and on nearly three decades of reporting. The impressive result is this fascinating story--the first comprehensive account--of the space age. Here are the strategists a ...more
Paperback, 723 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Kuperard (Bravo Ltd) (first published 1998)
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A Man on the Moon by Andrew ChaikinThe Right Stuff by Tom WolfeLost Moon by Jim LovellFailure is Not an Option by Gene KranzCarrying the Fire by Michael  Collins
Space Race! Books
241 books — 109 voters
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris HadfieldA Man on the Moon by Andrew ChaikinFailure is Not an Option by Gene KranzThe Last Man on the Moon by Eugene CernanThe Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
The Space Age
101 books — 27 voters

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Community Reviews

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Apr 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Here’s an admission: I’ve never been interested in Space. I know – crazy, right? Who isn’t interested, at least on some level, in the vast secrets of the universe? To lack interest is almost an act of hubris, a willful ignorance of the fact that we – Earth and all its individuals – are very small things indeed.

I’m not quite sure why astronauts and aliens didn't perk my childish curiosity. Maybe it’s because I hated math as a kid, and just about everything regarding Space and Space exploration i
Jonathanstray Stray
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Space geek history porn. Especially good (and rare!) coverage of the Russians.
Doreen Petersen
Oct 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science
I thought this would be a great book about the first age of space travel. However, try as hard as I might, I just couldn't wrap my head around the way the information was presented. I'm sure there are other books out there about the first age of space travel that are much better. I would not bother with this one.
George Bradford
Mar 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: apollo
Here is a sweeping historical account of humankind’s first race to leave the planet earth. While most "Apollo era" histories focus on the American experience, this book provides a parallel account of the Soviet Union's space program. (This chronicle is perhaps the best history of the USSR's space program I've read.) The resulting ebb and flow of the 'race' between the nations is captivating.

There are a numerous of facets to this story. Author William Burrows covers them all. The most prominent i
This book was somewhat frustrating and I struggled to finish it. What I liked about it was that it was comprehensive and included information on the American spy satellite program and the Soviet space program that was new for me. I think that one of the problems with many of the books on the space program that have been written in the last twenty years or so is that "small histories" are overrepresented. A great part of that is because the market has been flooded with memoirs of various astronau ...more
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space
I wanted to read a few books on space exploration, and decided to first re-read this one-volume history of the space age. The ultimate weapon of the Cold War was the hydrogen bomb atop the ICBM. Half of it grew out of the American atomic bomb; half out of the German ballistic missile. The latter was styled one of the "vengeance weapons" that would turn the tide of World War II in Germany's favor; it didn't, and killed only about 5,000 Britons and others it hit, and about 10,000 concentration cam ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, space, russia, usa
I really wanted to like this book. I've always been very interested in space exploration and wanted to know more about the history of the space program. It seemed very comprehensive, as other reviewers have noted. However, it's simply too "pop" nonfiction to hold my interest. The writing style is cheesy and it focuses way too much on imagining the exhilaration, for example, of Yuri Gagarin on his first flight. In other words, a lot of description of emotions and thoughts that we couldn't possibl ...more
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look into all aspects of spaceflight. Incredible to realize that someone like Werner VonBraun went from launching rockets he could carry on his shoulder to launching the might (and still unsurpassed) Saturn V. Fascinating back story as to how to epic US Voyager mission (Which reached all the way to Neptune) was nearly derailed except for the guile of scientists at JPL and elsewhere.

The book spends surprisingly little time on what is arguably the greatest achievement in human history
Dennis Boccippio
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
It took quite a while, but I finally finished This New Ocean. While not perfect, it was an enjoyable read. The book covers the period from the beginning of rocketry through its date of publication (1999). Its major and significant strengths are that it includes a very good treatment of international efforts in space, not just U.S., and especially in the early years; and that it covers not just civil but defense and security space. These domains are not often found under one cover.

Structurally, T
Bryan Jaketic
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
A sweeping history of the space age, including rich details about the Soviet program and early German rocket research, in addition to the U.S. program. It includes a fascinating look at the politics behind programs, and well worth reading. I would have given this 4.5 stars. It does get a little dry at times, and it lacked some of the sense of awe that Andrew Chaikin had in "A Man on the Moon" - a book that was more narrowly focused on the Apollo program.
Mihai Parparita
I was hoping for the space program equivalent of Richard Rhodes's The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Instead it ended up being more like Rhodes's The Dark Sun, in that there was a lot less science and a lot more descriptions of political machinations. In retrospect given the scope of the topic I should not expected more technical detail about any particular rocket or probe, but the Washington insider-y sections were definitely boring.
Scott Johnson
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best and more comprehensive history of the space age, while still remaining readable and entertaining. My only complaint is the very abrupt drop-off in the level of detail and a huge acceleration in time near the end, with things like Pathfinder being basically footnotes compared to the first Mars probes.

I'd love for Burrows to write a sequel, so to speak, extending this from where he left off in the 90s to today.
Phil Smith
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
A solid piece of work recounting the history of what many call the First Space Age, a period largely composed of the Cold War space race and following "lost period" concluding the 20th century. Burrows writes this book not so much as an historical account, but as a foundation for what may come. One can clearly feel the author's measured enthusiasm for our future in space.
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very good general history of the exploration of space that does an effective job of putting spaceflight (human and robotic) into the broader context of human history. Numerous asides to literature, film, and mythology help support Burrows' overall theme: space exploration is as much about culture as it is technology.
Rob Stets
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
incredibly detailed and comprehensive history of the social and political factors that shaped man's expansion in space. covers the entire 20th century. a fascinating read for anyone interested in space.
Nick Demorest
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. The author does a great job of transitioning back and forth between the larger picture of the space race and later space eras while also providing detailed narratives and histories of specific individuals and programs.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
A great history of space travel, with some groan-worthy metaphors about JFK and an unbelievable amount of editorializing about Communism and Russian culture.
Through 1950s
Larry Gaugh
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best history book I've ever read. Let alone that of only the world's space programs. Amazing stuff in here.
Tyler Wilson
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very detailed look at the history of space exploration. Defiantly something I would advise for any lovers of the vast sea of darkness.
Paul Kinzer
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
A solid comprehensive book about the space race, though sometimes a bit encyclopedic, and less readable than others.
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This book deals with more of the political side of space exploration rather than technical side. That said, it still is a fascinating look at what goes on behind the scene.
Bob Alexander
rated it it was amazing
Jul 09, 2015
Suman Sarkar
rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2016
Brian Demarzo
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May 29, 2016
Howe-Siang Tan
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Jan 22, 2018
Jovany Agathe
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Nov 30, 2016
Bill Webber
rated it really liked it
Mar 10, 2017
Darrick Dean
rated it it was amazing
Jan 25, 2014
Vaishali Sonavane
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May 20, 2014
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