We of the gifted generation must make this moment in history ours by beginning the settlement of the solar system,"" writes...


BREAKOUT INTO SPACE: Mission For a Generation

We of the gifted generation must make this moment in history ours by beginning the settlement of the solar system,"" writes California business broker and first-time author Elias--in an inspiring but simple analysis of America's character and destiny. Beginning with an unflattering but fair analysis of the fecklessness of the privileged baby-boomer generation, Elias paints a picture of America's plight in the global age. Basically, he argues, our present troubles lie in our strengths--historian Frederick Jackson Turner's sense that our national character has been determined by our longstanding belief in an unlimited frontier. Elias holds that the expansiveness and individualism that allowed us to settle the West makes us constitutionally unsuited to leadership in an age where international cooperation will take the aristocratic forbearance of the British Empire--or the dictatorial skills of China. We should concentrate instead on expanding into space, he believes, inspiring rugged individuals to seek fame and fortune in space communities that could look like small midwestern towns. The inspiration for Elias' rallying cry is The High Frontier (1976) by Gerard K. O'Neill, a scientific analysis of the plausibility of space stations so ingenious that it inspired a Congressional hearing and hundreds of prestigious papers and studies. Elias rides high on O'Neill's notions of the natural beauty and simplicity of space settlements (little worlds complete with rolling hills and babbling brooks, encased in shells that can be constructed through simple civil engineering using natural resources from the moon). All that remains to be done is to convince government to allow business and technology to devise new means of low-cost space travel--then American inventiveness will take its course, and we can leave the crisis of the environment, overpopulation, and the threat of nuclear aggression to the rest of the world. Cheerfully chauvinistic, but more hard-nosed readers might find it all a tad spacey.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1990


Page Count: -

Publisher: Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1990