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Two Sides of the Moon: Our Story of the Cold War Space Race

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  464 ratings  ·  30 reviews
"An extraordinary book."
---Arthur C. Clarke

Space was one of the most fiercely fought battlegrounds of the Cold War, the Moon its ultimate beachhead.

In this dual autobiography, Apollo 15 commander David Scott and cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, the first man to ever walk in space, recount their exceptional lives and careers spent on the cutting edge of science and space exploratio
Paperback, 448 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published May 4th 2004)
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Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
In another setting, Alexei Leonov and David Scott could have been the cause of the other's death. Fighter pilots from empires at odds with one another, intermittently on the edge of war with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance, they would have surely entered combat against one another had the Cold War ever become hot. But instead, one manifestation of the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, the Space Race to the moon, made them first respectful rivals, then friends. ...more
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first glance, this appears to be another story about the space race. But it really does go beyond the race itself, and uniquely focuses on the lives of two men directly involved, albeit on opposite sides of that race. The fact that the book was a joint memoir is fascinating to me. You get a real feel for how the space race was on both sides. Getting the Russian perspective from Leonov was very interesting to me, because so much of their history had to slowly reveal itself over time, where as ...more
Oct 12, 2017 added it
I enjoyed this book a lot because it told the space race from both sides and told the story of the astronauts and cosmonauts who made history. The book constantly switches between the perspectives of the two pioneers to show what they were doing during different times of history. The pioneers in question are David Scott and Alexi Leonov. (Alexi Leonov was the first man to walk in space and David Scott who when on the Gemini 8 which was originally scheduled to last three days due to a malfunction ...more
Steve Van Slyke
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space
Aside from having a general interest in space exploration history I wanted to read this book for several reasons. First, I like Dave Scott. He seems to be one of the more accessible Apollo veterans, more of an everyman. Second, Apollo 15 was one of my favorites of the six successful missions. Third, I was interested to get a view from the Russian perspective. And finally, how could I resist a book with a foreward by Neil Armstrong and an introduction by Tom Hanks? The book did not disappoint. Th ...more
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My enduring image of this book is the story of how Leonov and a fellow cosmonaut, having survived the ordeal of a journey in space and a hard landing on earth are stranded in their capsule miles off course, battling the cold and at risk of being eaten by bears! An easy read but a very illuminating one.
Narayan Venkitachalam
The story of the Space Race is described in this book from two perspectives interwoven beautifully. David Scott, commander of the Apollo 15, one of the most complex science expeditions to the moon, describes his life and the US space program. Parallelly, Alexei Leonov, the Russian cosmonaut and the first to perform a spacewalk, describes his experiences growing up in communist Russia and his life trajectory as he intricately participates in the Russian space program. Two lives lived on either si ...more
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This joint memoir, coauthored by Astronaut David Scott and Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, tells the tale of the space race of the 50s, 60s and 70s in a totally new way. The two stories are told in parallel, so you can follow the space race from both points of view: from the early Russian successes and later failures to the ultimate American triumph of the moon landings. Since I lived in Florida during the entire period of the space race, the events at Cape Canaveral/Kennedy were close up and personal. ...more
Barry Haworth
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apollo-program
I have read a great many books about the Apollo program over the years, including most of the memoirs written by the different astronauts. This one has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, a shame, as I have have been missing out on a good book.

What sets this book apart from many of the others is that it is a dual memoir which alternates between American astronaut David Scott (Gemini 8, Apollo 9 & 15) and Russian cosmonaut Alexi Leonov (Voskhod 2, Apollo/Soyuz). The story swaps back and for
Justinas  Rasalskis
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Can't recommend this highly enough. ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
Heidi de Goede
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting read!
Feb 26, 2020 added it
Kind of dragged toward the end. Very interesting for any space buffs.
Patricia Di Cunto  Bracco
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excelente livro que mostra um paralelo da vida e experiência do astronauta e cosmonauta, de seu países (contexto histórico) e seus mentores (chefes dos programas espaciais). Impecável!!!
Stephen Pryde-Jarman
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
very well written and very interesting - particularly the passages from the soviet point of view - it does fizzle out towards the end - but then so did the space race
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: astronautics, history
I found this an interesting look at the parallels (and contrasts) between the early American and Soviet space programs, particularly the bits dealing with life as a relatively-privileged Soviet citizen. The level of technical detail was perhaps a little lower than I might have liked, but Leonov's sections in particular shine a light on material that western audiences often don't get to read about.

Expanded discussion about the author's personal lives, especially in the years following their space
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just a fantastic summary of the days of the space race. The dual and intertwined memories of two great space explorers told side by side (David Scott - Apollo 15 and Alexei Leonov - first space walker and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project) delivers an in depth understanding of the two superpower space programs and the individuals who rode the rockets into space. It really is well written and opened my eyes into much of what went on behind the scenes of what we learned from the media. The story is bo ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
The incredible achievements of 50's , 60's and 70's feels remote and the public lost the interest in the space exploring - this book is very low in Amazon Bestsellers Rank and I bought my copy from a discount shop in Oxford.
The main reasons might be the fact that the story was told several times and today the moon landings are history, not future at least for the time being.
Apart from the Chinese willing to put their flag on it, I do not see men visiting it in the foreseeable future, unless the
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Story of a friendship and partnership of great importance. Dave Scott is a favorite of mine because he was such a pioneer, among the astronaut corps, in appreciating the Apollo Guidance Computer and the quirky noun-verb user interface we created. Although my book, Left Brains for the Right Stuff, seeks to give Sergei Korolev his due, I could have done better on that point if I'd been able to read this before publishing. Alexei Leonov's suggestion that Korolev might have been able to win the Moon ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
two sides of the moon is a book about the space race which took place during the cold war. I think this is a unique book because it offers a perspective from both sides, the Soviets and the Americans this style of mixing the two perspectives gives a unique view on the entire space race from the end of world war two when both David Scott and Alexi Leonov were born right up until the Apollo-soyuz mission that marked the beginning of cooperation between the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R in space
Andy Alexis
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: space
This is a dual account of the moon race, both from the eyes of David Scott, Apollo 15 commander, and Alexei Leonov, the first man to walk in space. Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, little was known of the failures of the Soviet space program, and this book gives us a rare insight into that and an insight into the humanity of both astronauts. Leonov may also have been the first artist to go into space: on one flight he brought crayons with him.
Trinity Y.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: g8-semester-2
In this dual autobiography written by Alexey Leonov and David Scott, they explain each mission they were ever on, retelling the problems they encountered, and planets they explored. This book, was very helpful for my understanding about Alexey Leonov as he was also on the Apollo-Soyuz Mission.
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating account of the history of space exploration told by American astronaut David Scott and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. To read about the achievements of these men and their talented colleagues is truly inspirational.
Sarah Hargreaves
Fasinating to hear both sides of the space race

Very interesting and well written. The competitive 2 sides of the space race, and the companionship between them. Good mix of the technology perspective and the personal.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's nice to get a view of the space program from 1. The astronauts and 2. Both sides of the race. It's an interesting look into the space race from the Russian side and a more in depth look at the problems not commonly known. Well worth a read if you're interested in this part of history ...more
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book.

It's just amazing to read about man's jorney to space. It was not easy to reach the moon, all the trials and failure. Man learns from every mistake.
Amber Dusenberry slaton
Pure Excellence

Fantastic look at the years in which the world looked to the moon with a single walk on its surface.
Fascinating to read, especially the Soviet side which was not well known when I was growing up.
Apr 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: aero
Excellent story-telling by an astronaut, David Scott, and a cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov. First time i've really read about the soviet side of the space race! ...more
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
Not terribly well written but I liked learning more about a topic I don't know much about. ...more
Rod Pyle
rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2016
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