MEN OF SPACE: Volume III by Shirely Thomas


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In an age when the heroes at Cape Canaveral and the Siberian wastes are making meteoric ascents both in the heavens and popular folklore, it's hardly surprising to come upon a volume which glorifies their day-to-day trials and temperaments, homey virtues and patriotic dreams quite as much as their stratospheric breakthroughs and exaltedly cool-headed scientific theorems. In fact, though Shirley Thomas' 3rd volume of Men Of Space is stuffed with all the requisite data and diagrams, technological dimensions and jargon appropriate to rocketry, the key-note is clearly one of human interest, personality clashes, behind-the-scenes dramatics, biographical sketches and loads of quotes from the subjects themselves, their families or their friends. Among the 'profiles' presented are those of legendary Jimmy Doolittle, dynamic Doc Flickinger and his bioastronautic experiment, missile master Toftoy, the Navy's Red Raborn who defends his awesome Polaris readiness by reciting a poem, Minuteman Louis Dunn and his philosophy of personal-universal responsibility and, of course, our sub-orbital success, Commander Shepard. But perhaps Miss Thomas' most revealing catch remains cosmonaut Gagarin, for that ""ordinary Soviet man"" full of communal wholesomeness and hearts-and-flowers Marxism is rather devastatingly juxtaposed against his country's deadly serious and secretive planet-mongering. In short, the book's news-hound reporting, as fast and flashy as the events concerned is designed for down-to-earth entertainment, an easy and engaging education- no more.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1961
Publisher: Chilton