Read Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age by Matthew Brzezinski Online


For the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik, the behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space The spy planes were driving Nikita Khrushchev mad. Whenever America wanted to peer inside the Soviet Union, it launched a U-2, which flew too high to be shot down. But Sergei Korolev, Russia's chief rocket designer, had a riposte: anFor the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik, the behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space The spy planes were driving Nikita Khrushchev mad. Whenever America wanted to peer inside the Soviet Union, it launched a U-2, which flew too high to be shot down. But Sergei Korolev, Russia's chief rocket designer, had a riposte: an artificial satellite that would orbit the earth and cross American skies at will. On October 4, 1957, the launch of Korolev's satellite, Sputnik, stunned the world.In Red Moon Rising, Matthew Brzezinski takes us inside the Kremlin, the White House, secret military facilities, and the halls of Congress to bring to life the Russians and Americans who feared and distrusted their compatriots as much as their superpower rivals. Drawing on original interviews and new documentary sources from both sides of the Cold War divide, he shows how Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower were buffeted by crises of their own creation, leaving the door open to ambitious politicians and scientists to squabble over the heavens and the earth. It is a story rich in the paranoia of the time, with combatants that included two future presidents, survivors of the gulag, corporate chieftains, rehabilitated Nazis, and a general who won the day by refusing to follow orders.Sputnik set in motion events that led not only to the moon landing but also to cell phones, federally guaranteed student loans, and the wireless Internet. Red Moon Rising recounts the true story of the birth of the space age in dramatic detail, bringing it to life as never before....

Title : Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780805081473
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age Reviews

  • Paul Chester
    2018-12-31 13:20

    I liked it a lot. If you are interesting in geeking out over the intricacies of the early years of the Soviet and US ICBM and space programmes, then this is the book for you. If you are not, it definitely isn't!

  • Brendan Monroe
    2018-12-30 18:55

    All that you didn't know about the history of the Soviet/American space race. Really, I am surprised that there aren't more books about this rather major event in world history but, it seems to me anyway, that Matthew Brzezinski is one of the very first to put the extraordinary events leading up to America's entering the space age on paper. The journey is a rather straightforward, but enjoyable, one. If it drags in parts - particular in the beginning - it's because a certain level of detail is paid to the rocket mechanics. For a couple chapters at least, we can get away with saying that "it's rocket science." I, for one, was far more interested in the politics of the space race rather than the science behind it and luckily for me, though the book initially lacked some of the, uh, thrust I would have liked to see, it quickly shot off into the stratosphere!My biggest takeaway would have to be the knowledge that it was Khrushchev who seemingly kicked off the space race, and only due to the persistence of one of the Soviet Union's - at the time - most undervalued scientists. American President Dwight Eisenhower shrugged off the launch of the world's first satellite but due to the widely held public perception that the United States was falling behind the Soviet Union, finally agreed to up the budget to allow America's newly formed - and, at the time, competing - space agencies to do the same. Oh, and that America's own entry into the space age was launched in largest part due to a former Nazi.One bit of information I found quite telling, is a quote that Brzezinski includes from Tom Margerison, a British science writer on assignment in Moscow, who says about the "Sputnik" launch "Nowhere else would you find a people who are able to carry out a complex project like launching a satellite, involving the close cooperation of scientists and engineers from many disciplines, yet who prove quite unable to organize efficient butcher shops."Ha! Russia in a nutshell. All in all, an entertaining and educational read!

  • David
    2019-01-15 18:12

    As one who grew up during the raging years of the "Cold War" between the US and USSR, I was fascinated to read these insights into the foundation set during the early years of that standoff. The book covers a relatively brief period, about 1956-58, when the first artificial earth satellite (Sputnik) was launched by the Russians, up until the US launch of Explorer 1.One fascinating aspect of this story was the relationship between development of military weapons (ICBM missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads to distant targets) and space launches. Some of that was reflected in the terror felt by Americans at the awareness of the Russian presence in space. And there were good insights into Russian politics as Khrushchev works to replace Stalin's influence, and American politics as Eisenhower's presidential power waned with his health and the various military branches competed to lead in missile development.

  • Denis Onichshenko
    2019-01-10 21:19

    Great introduction to space race between United States and USSR during pre-NASA period. It starts from the end of WW2 and ends with the launch of first American satellite (Exploler 1-Juno). It's very light read, but because of that it's doesn't dive too deep into technological aspects of rocket building. As a history piece it does a little better describing hysteria of cold war and inter-agency rivalry in US, but again it's particularly detailed on those subjects. Overall I would recommend this as an introduction to the era, but if you have a specific interest or simply want a more detailed technical read, keep looking.

  • Cassandra Kay Silva
    2018-12-25 14:08

    I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. Perhaps it owes in part to the fact that I knew literally nothing about this time period in history or what exactly the space race meant in terms of politics and becoming a nuclear superpower. This was a fun way to open my eyes to the motivations behind some really amazing technology and a great jog into history with an informative and enjoyable author.

  • Lee
    2019-01-02 20:12

    Interesting look at how Soviet high politics and misinterpretations, combined with American bureaucracy and corruption lead to a brief period at which America lost its preeminent place in the sphere of soft power because most people believed the country had given up the mantle of hard power.

  • K
    2019-01-07 20:04

    Super solid audiobook with a good reader.

  • Jeff Kim
    2018-12-29 15:00

    A well written Book, very informative, will definitely recommend it.

  • William
    2018-12-25 16:01

    In a well-paced and entertaining non-fiction read, Matthew Brzezinski, a journalist whose works have appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post Magazine and LA Times, and as a staff reporter in Moscow and Kiev during the 90s for The Wall Street journal, has crafted a delightful and character driven narrative on the origins of the space race between the Soviet Union and United States during the mid and late 1950s in his third work of non-fiction from 2007, Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age.Brzezinski's story illustrates the tremendous technical and scientific gambit that paid off in short term propaganda victories for the Soviet Presidium and Communist Party General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, but would later result in his removal from office due to the massive costs to the compromising Soviet defense priorities, coupled with open criticisms of his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, which lead to internal riots in the Georgian Republic, the later Hungarian Uprising, and a smoldering schism with Yugoslavia under Tito, and major domestic problems for the Soviet Union with disastrous harvest yields, unrealistic agricultural plans, and tremendous administrative mismanagement. Central to Brzezinski narrative is the charismatic Chief Designer and lead developer of the white elephant R-7 Semyorka ICBM, Sergey Korolev, who persuaded Khrushchev to pursue Korolev's dream of launching a an artificial satellite, Sputnik, into space to orbit the Earth before the United States. Brzezinski details the design setbacks and internal competition within the Soviet Special Design Bureau, OKB-1 Korolev faced to get the R-7 to launch under severe time and material constraints.To heighten the urgency of the political side of his narrative, Brzezinski highlights the internal wrangling between the Navy, Army and Air Force inside Washington, to oversee and control the United States missile programs, and how the Army Ballistic Missile Agency, under the leadership of General John Medaris and a technical team lead by Wernher von Braun, was able to bring the United States back into the race that the Soviets lead from early on. The opening of this book, and in turn, of the race itself, is masterfully told in the Prologue, which begins in the last year of the European Theater of World War II with the Nazi launches of the V-2 rocket, and the scramble to find, secure and transport the remainder of the fledgling rocket program of the Nazi regime to the Cold War rivals. The United States was able to pip the Soviets in Soviet controlled Germany to bring back the largest haul of materials and plans, and most importantly, the scientists and engineers, with the Soviets left to find and quickly capitalize on later and pre-manufacturing production runs of later German booster, fueling and guidance systems. I can’t think of a more accessible and entertaining read into the beginnings of the space race and introductions to the more detailed profiles of the Soviet space program, and its impact during the Cold War as later written and told in James E. Oberg’s Red Star In Orbit and James Harford’s Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon than Brzezinski's Red Moon Rising. I found the book to be well researched and very accessible, and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciate many of the first hand accounts of the period from inside the Soviet Union that Brzezinski was able to include from extensive interviews with Khrushchev's son, Sergei, who is now a resident of the United States and is a Senior Fellow of International Studies at Brown University.

  • Michael Elkon
    2019-01-16 15:21

    A solid, quick read. Brzezinski goes back and forth between the Americans and the Soviets in their attempts to put a man-made object into orbit. At times, the alternating chapters seemed forced, especially when the Soviets put Sputnik into orbit and there was no reason to come back to them thereafter. However, the structure generally works and it allows the reader to compare and contrast the two approaches.My biggest takeaways as to how the US "lost" the space race are twofold. First, the Americans didn't conceive of a race at all. In fact, the Soviets didn't make putting a satellite in orbit that much of a priority either. Both sides were focused on developing ICBMs (and their lesser cousins, the IRBMs), with the issue being especially important for the Soviets because of their shortcomings with respect to their bomber fleet. The Americans came out of WWII with a substantial lead in bomber technology because of the B-29, whereas the Russians didn't have a strategic bomber (and the Germans didn't have a workable model for them to steal). Faced with this dilemma, the Soviets focused on rocket development, a task that was complicated by the fact that the Americans got Werhner von Braun and the best of the German scientists and research into ballistic missiles. Nevertheless, the team led by Sergei Korolev made substantial progress in developing long-distance missiles and, after a few setbacks, created the R-7. Putting a satellite atop the missile was an afterthought, one that Korolev convinced Khrushchev to allow him to undertake as long as it didn't get in the way of missile development. Korolev succeeded in putting Sputnik into orbit, an accomplishment that the Soviet leadership initially underrated (it was not the banner story in Pravda on the following day), but then played to the hilt once they realized that they had damaged US credibility, shaken our allies, and convinced many unaligned countries that the USSR was actually ahead of the US in terms of scientific achievement. Eisenhower tried to downplay the significance of putting an object in orbit, but his reaction played horribly because the media and public decided that he was old, passive, complacent, and out-of-touch. LBJ got a lot of political success out of leading the Congressional investigation into how the US had been beaten into space, as he elbowed Stuart Symington out of the way to take center stage.The second reason why the US lost was inter-service rivalry. The Navy and Army had competing missile programs, neither of which were a major priority when the US had a substantial advantage in bomber capabilities and before putting an object in orbit became a matter of national prestige. The fact that Ike was also cutting military budgets didn't help, as he put the former head of GM Charles Wilson in as Secretary of Defense to cut waste everywhere he could find it. Wilson went so far as to force the Army missile program in Huntsville to justify redoing a guest lodge as opposed to having visitors stay in a motel. Thus, the Army unit - the one that employed von Braun and would ultimately succeed in putting an object into orbit - had to deal with all manner of shortages and was put in line behind the Navy program that was ultimately unsuccessful. In the end, the American freak-out over being beaten into space wasn't a terrible thing. Though irrational, it led Americans to focus on science education as a way to keep up with the Soviets. It forced Americans to give credit to the USSR and not see it as a backwards country that had nothing but numbers. (It was a total shock to American leaders that a country that couldn't make a proper car, clothes, or shoes could put a satellite into orbit.) And it was the impetus that led the US to win the race to the moon.

  • Robert
    2019-01-13 18:05

    Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age explores the political side for the beginning of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Author Matthew Brzezinksi looks at the politicians and scientists that made space exploration possible for both countries. The book itself begins with a prologue in 1944 with the Nazis and ends on the cusp of the 1960 election. The epilogue covers the aftermath of the beginning for the Space Age and everything that was possible because of it.The American Side has familiar figures to anyone who follows a semblance of history from the 1950s. President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, and the Dulles brothers are featured here. On the Soviet side, Khrushchev gets a great deal of attention. Also on the American side, Charlie Wilson and General Mederies are discussed and so is the Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun who defected to the United States in the aftermath of World War II. The book mostly follows the mid 1950s with the main years of 1956 - 1958 covered within the book.One surprising aspect of the book in my opinion is how well Nixon comes off as being right of just about everything in relation to space exploration and even civil rights in the eyes of the author. Eisenhower is mostly written off as being in over his head between a mixture of his faltering health, self-doubt, and military background making him fail to understand the fears of the American people despite their trust in him. The political aspect of the book focuses on all the paranoia on the Soviet side between the various factions vying for power in the wake of Stalin's death and thereafter. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Democrats (ultimately led by LBJ) create a firestorm out of Sputnik and the Soviet accomplishments after in being ahead of the United States.The science part and technical aspects get some attention in this book but far less than I would have expected. At times it feels like the author wanted to write a book about this time period more than anything else. The two strangest parts of the book for me are fairly simple. My first issue is the complete lack of John F. Kennedy in this book, in fact, his first mention unless I'm mistaken is in the epilogue when he's already President. While I understand LBJ had a far bigger role, it seems odd to not consider or mention any of the views of the would be President in 1960 and the man who would eventually challenge America to put a man on the moon before the decade is out.Speaking of putting a man on the moon, the lack of the Space Race itself seems odd. I understand the book title's says ignited the Space Age but it seems really weird to leave out the most important part of it. Instead we're left with what is ultimately a manufactured crisis that overplays the importance of Sputnik and just scares Americans. While it's certainly an interesting story to read the initial reactions at the time, Eisenhower is seen by historians and Americans by large today as a grandfatherly general that led Americans in the Post WWII boom.Overall, Red Moon Rising offers up some interesting scientific and political information about the Space Age. The Soviet side of things is especially interesting due to the lack of attention in history books versus the American perspective. Those interested in the time period or the topic will be interested in this book.

  • J.S.
    2019-01-12 19:06

    The "space race" was actually a byproduct of the "arms race" between the USA and USSR and had it's beginnings in Nazi Germany. In September 1944, Hitler's army began launching V-2 rockets, the world's first ballistic missiles, against Britain. And when the war ended the Americans and Soviets quickly spirited away any bit of this new technology they could find, including the scientists and engineers who had developed it. But while America subsequently pursued a strategy of long-range bombers to deliver nuclear weapons, the USSR began a missile program which couldn't be defended against like a squadron of flying planes could be. The genius behind their program was a Soviet engineer named Sergey Korolev (or Korolyov) but known outside a very small circle only as the "Chief Designer." After getting rockets to work he convinced Nikita Khruschev to pursue the launch of the world's first artificial satellite, and on October 4, 1957 Sputnik was launched. But while most leaders in both countries dismissed it as a ridiculous waste of resources, the public was fascinated and terrified by this newly demonstrated capability of the Russians. It quickly turned into a public relations coup. But this isn't just a history of the beginnings of the space program. Matthew Brzezinski delves heavily into the internal politics of both the Soviet Union and the United States, and that is perhaps the strongest part of the book. From Khruschev and the Kremlin to Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon, the politics of the space race are discussed in detail which never became boring. He also mixes in relevant side stories, such as the U-2 spy planes which so infuriated Khruschev, as well as Korolev's rivalry with Valentin Glushko, another brilliant Soviet rocket scientist. Wernher von Braun, the former Nazi developer of the V-2 who later helped Walt Disney pitch Disneyland's Tomorrowland on ABC television, became the head of America's missile program, and is a central part of the American story. But Brzezinski's story-telling skills are superb, and although news from NASA has became fairly mundane, he takes the political intrigue and technological setbacks behind the scenes and turns it into a gripping narrative. You could feel the exhilaration at the successful launch of Sputnik, and the disappointment when the American Vanguard rocket exploded on the launch pad. Alternating back and forth between the Soviets and the Americans, he keeps the information and action flowing fast. I listened to the audio book version, and the narrator, Charles Stransky, does an excellent job complete with Russian accent. Very interesting and highly recommended for fans of Cold War history.

  • Patrick Sprunger
    2019-01-15 18:00

    File under: Never Judge A Book By Its CoverAs is often the case with histories of the space race, Red Moon Rising functions more as a compact history of the early Cold War - the period between 1956 and 1958 in particular. Matthew Brzezinski covers the US Capitol at mid-decade as well as some other books expressly dedicated to the goal. Less attention has been given to Khrushchev beyond the secret speech, the Camp David powwow, and the shoe slapping incident. Brzezinski fleshes out the gaps admirably.Even though the author does a phenomenal job covering the politics and intrigue, Brzezinski does so without siphoning off any attention from his central subject. As most people know, Sputnik itself is figurative - both it and the rockets that reached space in the 1950s were proxy demonstration of Cold War throw weight - a way for the belligerents to bare teeth without actually getting into the dirty work of Armageddon.Brzezinski's most memorable original point is the unusual circumstances that allowed the Soviets to take an early lead. Though it seems counterintuitive, a totalitarian state with a planned economy incapable of producing decent shoes and ample radishes was the ideal apparatus for designing the world's preeminent rockets. Likewise, the Soviet bureaucracy - long presumed to be the most impenetrable in recent memory - had nothing on the internecine, inter-service rivalries in the US that delayed long range missile production because of guarded secrets and redundant engineering. Though not news to many students of history, Brzezinski reminds his readers just how fucked up it is that America turned the Nazi war criminal Werner von Braun into a celebrity and Disney spokesman. A lesser point, given up for a little flavor, but quite revealing of the Strangelove years of the early Cold War.Though Red Moon Rising is a small book with a narrow scope, I found it a fascinating study. Seldom have I found such breadth and context in such a compact work. Anyone burned on the prior year's, much-hyped Rocket Men will find closure in Red Moon Rising. Recommended for history students and casual readers alike.

  • Zach
    2019-01-10 20:04

    Brzezinski's purpose in writing this book is to inform all of the hidden projects that the Russians had during the cold war time. He explains all of the things that the Russian's created. I feel that this book is written for anyone with an interest in history, Russia, and space history. There is no theme stated in the book. The theme that I get out of this story is that even if we were facing the Soviets they had a huge part in the space race. The Soviets started and worked throughout the entire "Space Age" showing that hard work does pay off. That theme just so happens to be seen in a lot of places including this story. This book shares some of the characteristics of three different styles of writing. It is written in a descriptive, narrative, exposition style. The description part of it is the explanation of certain places, events, and times which makes the person reading feel like they're reading it first hand. The narrative part of the book is telling the series of events in chronological order. The exposition style has the explanation and the analyzing of the Soviet Space Program bringing clarity to it. My opinion is that it is great to understand aerospace history. I think it is important to understand the United States history, but to understand some of that you need to understand the peoples history that caused ours. I liked almost everything about this book. Due to the fact of me liking almost everything there was not much that I disliked, but the thing that I didn't like were all the names that were hard to pronounce. There is only one thing that I would change, and that is I wish there were more pictures for the visual learners to understand. This is a unique book which is like no other that I have read.

  • John
    2018-12-21 18:17

    I am admittedly a bit biased, being a fan of space exploration since childhood, but this is a terrific book. It thoughtfully lays out the political underpinnings on both sides of the Cold War that detoured the race for the 1st effective ICBM into a race to put the first artificial satellite in orbit. Likewise, it exposes the technical hurdles and how each group sought to overcome them. It is amazing to consider that mere years after the invention of the transistor and a little over a decade after WW2, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union were actually capable of putting an artificial satellite in orbit. I blinked in disbelief reading how after launch a technician hurredly worked a slide rule, manually calculating during flight when to press a button to start the 2nd stage of a rocket in flight. The Soviets in particular showed an amazing practicality and sang froid which allowed them to overtake the U.S. and score the historical first. There are many details which flesh out and enrich the story of the nascent U.S. and Soviet satellite efforts. Even being familiar with the outlines of the story, I learned many fascinating and disturbing details - and Brzesinski isn't afraid to show Korolev and Von Braun's many personal and professional faults - and demons lurking in their respective pasts. His account of the struggle to all important primacy and especially the launch sequences are written grippingly. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it not only to those interested in the space race, but those interested in U.S. and Soviet politics and history of the period.

  • Rupin Chaudhry
    2019-01-08 16:14

    Conquest of space was not driven my mankind's insatiable hunger for exploration but by the arms race; The race between two superpowers with radically different ideologies towards governance-freedom-lifestyle. This is the story of ambitions, rivalries and cold-hard fear and paranoia that brought the world to the brink of self destruction under the garb of seemingly innocent but technically very challenging dream (and eventual realization) of putting man made object into space. The characters in the book are real and they come to life as you read along. There are politicians, scientists, engineers, generals all battling out for the realization of their quest. Everyone's quest was different but "sputnik" would be the keyword in everyone's battle. It would be "sputnik" that would mark the triumphant opening of entirely new arena by USSR and would awaken a sleeping giant, USA, who shall be condemned to fear and anguish of many failures before gaining passport in the field of space and rocketry. Although USA would be the winner, the initial-important and validating victories of USSR can never be sidelined. Eventually USSR would collapse and USA shall emerge as the defacto winner. The rivalries of the bygone era have made space an open playground for commerce, education and military use for all those who can afford. It would turn out that rival bodies of those times are now working together for common pursuit made possible by the launch of sputnik in the year 1957.For all cold war enthusiasts, this is one fine romantic novel. 10 out of 10 for Mathew Brzezinski.

  • terpkristin
    2019-01-10 15:12

    Given the industry I work in, it's probably not a surprise that I enjoy reading histories of space exploration. This book was one I'd never heard of until randomly going through an Audible list of books on sale, so I picked it up to augment my normal fantasy and sci-fi reading. Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age tells the story of the beginnings of the space race, when Russia was still a part of a Communist union and America was struggling through integration and capitalism. The book tells two stories in parallel, starting towards the end of World War II when the Soviets and the US attempted to get information about the ICBMs that the Nazis developed and then follows the evolution of the missile/space programs, bouncing back and forth between the two story lines.Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age covered politics and behind-the-scenes drama to an extent I've never read before. From the Soviet side, I have no idea how much of the story is true, but it was fascinating. From the American side, it was disappointing to read that some things never change. Still, it was an interesting read and I'm pretty glad I picked it up.

  • Erik
    2019-01-06 18:55

    This book covered a broader slice of the history than I expected. The focus of the book, as the title suggests, is Sputnik I, but there is a lot of sociopolitical history included from the years leading up to the launching of Sputnik I, Sputnik II, and the US satellite Explorer I. The book begins with a narration of the launch of the first V-2 rocket by Germany at Great Britain in September 1944. It then goes on to tell how the V-2 technology developed by Wernher Von Braun was obtained in varying degrees by the Soviet Union and United States. I was previously totally unaware of the role of Sergei Korolev, the "Chief Designer" of the rocket program in the USSR, and his dedication and machinations that led to the Sputnik I success. Very Very interesting history. Neither Korolev nor Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had an inkling of the global brouhaha that would follow the launch of Sputnik I. Reading about this I couldn't help but think of the words of Stinky Pete from Toy Story II. "Two words: Sput-nik. Once the astronauts went up, children only wanted to play with space toys"Of course, Stinky Pete has some of his facts mixed up, no astronauts, (or more appropriately Cosmonauts) went up until three and half years after Sputnik.After finishing the book I greatly enjoyed talking about it to my father who experienced these years as an adult and served in the NSA in West Berlin in the early 60s.

  • Cropredy
    2019-01-10 16:19

    This book was interesting. Before I read this, what I knew of Sputnik could be summed up as "The Soviets launched a satellite before the US - that sent the US into panic and led to an increase in science education."After reading this, which is well sourced with Soviet accounts as well as American, is a good history of the two sides' space programs, their debt to the German V2 program, and a whole lot of politics and political considerations that led to the eventual outcomes.However dysfunctional you see the modern-day US political system in terms of proper allocation of resources to national priorities, rest assured that things were no better in the Eisenhower administration. And the Soviets had plenty of issues as well.The book is well-written and moves along. And, the author does a good job of ending the book once the Americans finally got their first satellite in orbit. I'm writing this days before we're about to see our first closeups of Pluto so it is interesting to go back less than 60 years to see how far we have come and how it all started.How would I have improved the book? Most of the sources come from memoirs of major players - what we don't get are stories from lower level scientists, engineers, or project managers to flesh out the account. This is nitpicking and shouldn't stop you from reading this if you're interested in the early space race.

  • Craig
    2019-01-01 20:58

    Perhaps the best book I've ever read summarizing the challenges, events, triumphs, failures, and figures of the early days of the Space Race. Although I might be biased in my review since this subject is one of my personal favorites to read about (not to mention the fact that I'm starting to get into Russian history in general), Brzezinski's prose is top-notch as he does a superb job of mixing profiles of such key figures as Sergei Korolov, Werner von Braun, Khruschev, and lesser-known people (to me at least) such as United States General Bruce Medaris ("the closest thing America had to a Korolev," the author concludes and someone who left the space industry and American military to eventually become an Episcopalian Priest) with stories of the fascinating early days of man's ventures into satellite launching.This book is full of fascinating details, but I'll finish this review with this important tidbit. We can all thank our smart phones, our GPS devices, our satellite TV packages, and today's modern warfare technology to a decision by Korolov 55 years ago to convince the Soviet Politburo that his nation needed to launch this little beach ball-sized metallic object into orbit. Maybe it was done for reasons that really meant saving his political skin, but its global impact in the half-century since is immeasurable.

  • Michael
    2018-12-29 15:54

    If you are looking for a concise and approachable examination of humankind's entry into the Space Age, "Red Moon Rising" is a must-read. Mr. Brzezinski's book is both engaging and informative. The book reads not like a dull historical analysis, but rather an action-packed thriller. Mr. Brzezinski appears to be that rare author who can take seemingly dry historical facts and weave them into an entertaining narrative. I found Mr. Brzezinski's analysis of 1950's media coverage to be particularly interesting. The excitement and fear created by the media of the day is a legacy that is still with us today. It seems that the media was as much of an influence on and creator of public opinion and public perception in the 1950's as it is today. The author also presented a great deal of behind-the-scenes information I did not know before reading "Red Moon Rising". For example, I knew very little about Soviet rocket designer Sergei P. Korolev before reading this book. In addition, I had no idea how close the rocket team of Dr. Wernher von Braun came to being shutout of the early American missile program due to interservice rivalry between the Army, Navy, and Air Force. This book is well worth the reader's time and money.

  • Brian Young
    2018-12-21 19:15

    I started reading this book because the space race interested me, but now I look at in a totally different way. I never really tried seeing the space race from the soviet side, but it is so easy thanks to this brillient authors style. He makes the book play out like a fiction novel with a diverse cast of people, with a unique style of dialogue. I can honostly say that never have I seen a non-fiction book that has held my attention so well. Now some parts were sort of above my head(granted im only a sophomore in high school) but it was still a interesting read. I would highly recomend this to any cold war buffs like myself. The only thing that holds this back from a 5 star rating is the fact that its really short. I read it in roughly a day with only reading 45 minutes to a hour, so thats 2 hours of reading roughly, and my reading skills are average to above average. This may change from person to person, but still. I would have loved to have this book to be longer, although since it is a non-fiction book I guess I cant complain. So overall a good book, that I would most definatly recomend.

  • Just A. Bean
    2018-12-24 20:22

    Solid, if slightly melodramatic account of the Russian and US missile programs between the end of WWII and the US launch of Discovery. Lots of interesting technical details that weren't too technical for me to understand, and insight into the clash of personalities that drove and inhibited the programs. The prose was perhaps a little overdone, calling people "Malevolent" and such like, but it was a pretty entertaining read for all that, and I appreciated all the political context. I suppose that the rhetoric added to re-creating the tone of the age (which was pretty bananas, looking back on it!)It did, perhaps, feel as though the author was padding his topic by going into Little Rock or Hungarian revolutions or such, but they added to the tone of the story and the political situation surrounding the arms race, so they're forgiven in the end.Got this as an audiobook, and the production and reader were mostly good, but it did occasionally have distracting background music (possibly meant as cd breaks and accidentally left in?) and some loops where a line was reread had a pitch different enough to be distracting.

  • Nick Gotch
    2019-01-04 20:01

    A nice story about the origin and history of the US/Soviet space race. Recounts the story from both the American and Russian sides, how Germany was looted for much of the initial equiptment, and what brought on the competition.I learned a ton of fascinating things from reading this book. It tells how neither power really saw space as important until Sputnik made world headlines and brought the USSR into the light as a true technological superpower. From that point on the power of space exploration was realized as a powerful propaganda tool.One man, Russian Sergey Korolyov, can probably be attributed as the single person to get man into the stars. This book recounts that tale.Although there are some off-topic areas they do eventually lead into the full picture in the end and everything comes together. I do recommend the book if you want to really understand how mankind finally made it into space. Be prepared though for a lot of military history, since much of the early space programs came from that source.

  • Converse
    2019-01-09 21:05

    This book focuses on the early competition between the Soviet Union and the United States to earn favorable publicity through launching satellites into space. It does not cover manned spaceflight, but is focused on the initial satellite launches in the 1950s. In general there was a close connection between the rockets used to launch satellites and those developed for launching long-range ballistic missiles. The Soviet designer Korolev and his team where the first to develop a rocket capable of launching objects into orbit. This rocket, which proved to be unsuitable for its primary role as a missile due to the time-consuming and difficult fueling procedure, was capable of launching large payloads into orbit. The reaction of the world's press and politicians to the Soviet success in launching the first satellite surprised (and pleased) both Korolev and the Soviet leader Kruschev. The initial American satellite program (Vanguard) suffered from trying to use a rocket which had many innovations, and thus many initial failures.

  • Steve
    2018-12-21 18:01

    A well written account of the years from the end of the Second World War leading up to the Space Race of the 1960s. Mainly a political commentary rather than a military and scientific account, Brzezinski demonstrates his journalistic credentials by offering well researched stories from both America and the Soviet Union to build a narrative that explains the paranoia, misinformation, propoganda, and political fighting that existed both within and between these Cold War adversaries. The insight gained on the former-Nazi scientists who masterminded the German V1 and V2 rocket projects is worthy of it's own book, particularly the race by the superpowers to "capture" these scientists at the end of the Second World War for their own military aims, thus protecting them from war trials and other investigations. Brzezinski captures the ineptitude of many senior political figures in both countries, but I'm not convinced he does enough to describe the vast manpower and resources required to develop spaceflight.

  • Dmitry
    2019-01-06 17:18

    An intriguing overview of the beginnings of the space age, both in USSR and the US. The US might have been the first into space (with Von Braun's help) wouldn't it be for the Eisenhower's administration mismanagement of the rivaling rocket efforts in the USAF, army and navy. The USSR's success, however, was also a fruit of a number of circumstances (among them - Korolev's inability to solve the problem of reentry of the warhead of an ICBM) rather than that of careful planning.The book has some shortcomings however, among them - somewhat artificial dramatizations as well as lack of technical details (as compared, for example, with Richard Rhodes' trilogy on the nuclear weapons) with the focus being mostly on the "political" history of the space age initiation. The book's scope is also limited by the first satellites, and stops short of detailing the manned flight, not to mention the shot for the moon.

  • Nick
    2019-01-05 14:57

    This is a well-researched* history of the Soviet race to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, and how that inadvertently led to the launching, well in advance of the Americans, of a satellite. It covers the politics of the day in both countries in great detail, revealing as much about political infighting in the US armed forces and government as in the Soviet Politburo under Krushchev. If you liked 'The Right Stuff,' you'll like this. A lot. *I say 'well researched' in that it intersects with several other books I've read on the subject; there're lots of areas, too, where the author has taken the ball and run with it, reconstructing conversations that took place between people who are all now dead based on hearsay, etc - but all in all, it's a damn good read, and factually about as right as you'll find.

  • Uber Hund
    2019-01-03 15:54

    The critical messages Brzenzinski packages in this competent historical account were enough to overcome my disappointment at his omission of any meaningful content relating to their N1 rocket program, and the historical implications of its failures on the subsequent world order. One can hope that Matthew is saving his notes on the N1 for a second book.As for the critical messages:1) the Cold War could possibly have been avoided had the US not responded with paranoia to the Soviets equal to that of their insane dictator Stalin. But, as Sun Tzu wrote, with perfect intelligence, there would be no war.2) Eisenhower was a greater strategist as commander-in-chief than was credited by his less worthy successor, the Kennedy dynasty.3) Finally - Bringing Von Braun to the US may not have been a worthy trade of anti-Nazi moral high ground in the long run.

  • Thomas
    2019-01-06 21:11

    This is an amazing book. A great cast of characters: Korolev, Kruschev, Werner Von Braun, Eisenhower, Nixon, and many more. Not as much rocket science as I would have liked, but so much great Russian and American cold war history that it more than makes up for it. I also found that the author tended to rely on a small number of sources, particularly Sergei Kruschev's memoirs...but ultimately the end result was so fascinating, and so far from what I already know anything about, that I never stopped being totally fascinated...I TORE through this book. A great story of twisting and turning Russian-American political intrigue, and a depressing view of just how much "human progress" in the '50s was actually driven by the arms race.