“Someday, people are going to try to go back to the Moon, and they are going to find out how hard it really is,” reflected one of the men who had been deeply involved in America’s drive to land a man on the moon.
How right he was. Maurer begins his reads-like-fiction tale with the roots of the moon missions, World War II. Not only were many of the primary scientists, managers, and astronauts veterans of the war, but the technology needed for a successful moonshot also emerged then. The story is neatly broken down into the numerous steps (and missteps) along the way, each providing impetus for the next, that made up the effort to reach the moon by the seemingly almost unachievable goal of decade’s end that President John F. Kennedy set in 1961. By providing plenty of information about the parallel—but always a step or two ahead—Soviet space program, Maurer clearly contextualizes the U.S. effort against the simmering threat of the Cold War. Accurate, detailed, and thoroughly entertaining, this tale is an essential purchase at a time when some are questioning if the moon landings were a propaganda hoax. Numerous archival black-and-white photographs, meticulous endnotes, an extensive reference list, and a timeline round out this outstanding work.
Inspiring, fascinating, and, like the millions of parts that had to function for the space program to succeed, practically perfect. (Nonfiction. 10-adult)