...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age / Edition 1

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This highly acclaimed study approaches the space race as a problem in comparative public policy. Drawing on published literature, archival sources in both the United States and Europe, interviews with many of the key participants, and important declassified material, such as the National Security Council's first policy paper on space, McDougall examines U.S., European, and Soviet space programs and their politics. Opening with a short account of Nikolai Kibalchich, a late nineteenth-century Russian rocketry theoretician, McDougall argues that the Soviet Union made its way into space first because it was the world's first "technocracy"—which he defines as "the institutionalization of technological change for state purpose." He also explores the growth of a political economy of technology in both the Soviet Union and the United States.

Johns Hopkins University Press

This book traces the Space Age from the visionary fantasies of the 19th century's pioneers in rocketry to the Star Wars scenarios of the 1980's.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review

Exhaustively researched, brilliantly conceived, and beautifully written.

New Scientist

A lucid and comprehensive political history of the American, European, and Russian space programs.

Technology and Culture

Once every decade or so, a book comes along that stands by itself as a remarkable contribution to the literature of a field. Such a work is Walter A. McDougall's ... the Heavens and the Earth.


[A] boldly conceived, elegantly written, and unfailingly provocative history of the new age of space.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific

This highly acclaimed study approaches the space race as a problem in comparative public policy.

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

[An] immensely readable and elegant book.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian examines the competing U.S. and Soviet space programs. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801857485
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 9/30/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 584
  • Sales rank: 818,670
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter A. McDougall is Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, and editor of Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs. He is also author of France's Rhineland Diplomacy, 1914–1942: The Last Bid for a Balance of Power in Europe.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations Used in Text
Preface to the Johns Hopkins Edition
Introduction 3
Pt. I The Genesis of Sputnik
Ch. 1 The Human Seed and Social Soil: Rocketry and Revolution 20
Ch. 2 Political Rains and First Fruit: The Cold War and Sputnik 41
Pt. II Modern Arms and Free Men: America Before Sputnik
Ch. 3 Bashful Behemoth: Technology, the State, and the Birth of Deterrence 74
Ch. 4 While Waiting for Technocracy: The ICBM and the First American Space Program 97
Ch. 5 The Satellite Decision 112
Pt. III Vanguard and Rearguard: Eisenhower and the Setting of American Space Policy
Ch. 6 "A New Era of History" and a Media Riot 141
Ch. 7 The Birth of NASA 157
Ch. 8 A Space Strategy for the United States 177
Ch. 9 Sparrow in the Falcon's Nest 195
Ch. 10 The Shape of Things to Come 210
Pt. IV Parabolic Ballad: Khrushchev and the Setting of Soviet Space Policy
Ch. 11 Party Line 237
Ch. 12 The Missile Bluff 250
Ch. 13 Hammers or Sickles in Space? 263
Ch. 14 Space Age Communism: The Khrushchevian Synthesis 276
Pt. V Kennedy, Johnson, and the Technocratic Temptation
Ch. 15 Destination Moon 307
Ch. 16 Hooded Falcons: Space Technology and Assured Destruction 325
Ch. 17 Benign Hypocrisy: American Space Diplomacy 344
Ch. 18 Big Operator: James Webb's Space Age America 361
Ch. 19 Second Thoughts 389
Pt. VI The Heavens and the Earth: The First Twenty-five Years
Ch. 20 Voyages to Tsiolkovskia 415
Ch. 21 The Quest for a G.O.D. 436
Ch. 22 A Fire in the Sun 450
Appendix 462
Abbreviations Used in Notes 465
Notes 466
Index 537
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