[FPSPACE] Re: Challenge to Apollo-Waiting for the Book
Sat, 9 Sep 2000 15:13:34 -0400
There may be other ways to get the book. For those interested, please see
the end of the press release below.
P.S. Thanks to everybody for their generous words.
NASA HISTORY OFFICE ANNOUNCEMENT
We are very pleased to announce the publication of Challenge to
Apollo: The Soviet Race to the Moon, 1945-1974 (NASA SP-2000-4408), a
pathbreaking study by Asif A. Siddiqi. This book is the first comprehensive
history, totalling more than 1,000 pages, to appear on the Soviet human
spaceflight program since the opening of the archives in the early 1990s.
As a result, it benefits from exceptionally strong primary source
materials, as well as perspective on an important challenge that helped to
define the U.S. space effort until the 1980s.
Going beyond the basic facts, however, Siddiqi has created a
gripping narrative that weaves together three broad interpretive themes.
The first theme concerns the institutional framework of the Soviet space
program and the constituencies that sometimes teamed together and sometimes
fought with each other: the engineers, the artillery officers, the defense
industrialists, and the Communist Party leaders. These political dynamics
lead to the second theme: the Soviet effort to put a human on the Moon
before the United States.
After the Sputnik triumphs, Soviet military officers quickly lost interest
in civilian space activities and felt that such efforts hurt the funding
potential for military rocketry. Ironically, the "Cold War, having given
birth to the Soviet space program, would seriously threaten its very
existence." The third theme of Challenge to Apollo covers the Soviets'
methods of technological innovation. Siddiqi challenges the Western
conventional wisdom that the Soviets always tended toward incremental,
rather than revolutionary, innovation.
Among the myths that Siddiqi shatters is that the Soviet space
program was monolithic; instead he vividly portrays its various internal
political stories. Perhaps one of the most significant aspects of this book
is how the author shows readers that Soviet failures in space exploration
were not inevitable and Soviet successes were not random chance events. As
such, this is a full-bodied history that undoubtedly will prompt Westerners
and Russians alike to reexamine basic assumptions about the space race, as
well as our political and technological cultures.
This book is available for public sale from the U.S. Superintendent
of Documents. How to order: For sale for $79.00 (domestic postpaid), $98.75
(non-U.S.). By Mail: Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954,
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. FAX: (202) 512-2250. Phone: (202) 512-1800 (7:30
a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern time). This book may be ordered on-line at
http://bookstore.gpo.gov/index.html on the Web. Order stock number
033-000-01231-4. This book may also be purchased from the NASA Information
Center, Code CMI-1, NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, Room 1H23,
Washington, DC 20546-0001, (202) 358-0000.
Roger D. Launius, Ph.D
NASA Chief Historian
NASA History Office
Washington, DC, 20546
Pager 1-800-759-8888 pin 123-5656
Home Page: http://history.nasa.gov