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JOHN F. KENNEDY AND THE RACE TO THE MOON

Essential to understanding JFK’s sponsorship of an historic enterprise linking him to the future.

With new documents now available, a space historian and founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute revisits a scholarly topic he pioneered: John F. Kennedy’s decision to go to the moon.

It has been a half-century since JFK announced before a televised joint session of Congress, “that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” In scope and difficulty history’s most astonishing engineering feat, Project Apollo’s success also depended on political will. Logsdon (The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest, 1970) rightly characterizes the moon shot not as a single decision, but rather a series of pragmatic judgments that kept pushing the program forward. Rejecting the notion of JFK as a space visionary, the author views the president as a practical politician who, in the crucial context of the Cold War, acted to secure the nation’s defense, prestige and progress. Although the challenge and risk of manned space flight—something for which Eisenhower had little enthusiasm—particularly appealed to this youthful, competitive man, Kennedy continually revised his thinking, questioning NASA about its priorities and performance, prodding his White House staff for alternative views and more information and orchestrating a defense against political critics and members of the scientific community unconvinced of manned space flight’s utility. Logsdon charts the evolution of JFK’s thinking about space—including repeated offers as president to cooperate with the Soviets—from his senatorial career up until the assassination. He chronicles the intragovernmental struggle for consensus and highlights the policymaking contributions of presidential aide Ted Sorensen, science advisor Jerome Wiesner, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and NASA administrator James Webb.

Essential to understanding JFK’s sponsorship of an historic enterprise linking him to the future.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-230-11010-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2010

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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