American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

by Douglas Brinkley
American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

by Douglas Brinkley


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Monday, December 4
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


Now in paperback, an award-winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring challenge, and America’s race to the moon.

We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”—President John F. Kennedy

On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

Drawing on new primary source material and major interviews with many of the surviving figures who were key to America’s success, Brinkley brings this fascinating history to life as never before. American Moonshot is a portrait of the brilliant men and women who made this giant leap possible, the technology that enabled us to propel men beyond earth’s orbit to the moon and return them safely, and the geopolitical tensions that spurred Kennedy to commit himself fully to this audacious dream. Brinkley’s ensemble cast of New Frontier characters include rocketeer Wernher von Braun, astronaut John Glenn and space booster Lyndon Johnson.

A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in the nation’s history, American Moonshot is an homage to scientific ingenuity, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062655073
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/14/2020
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 286,750
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, presidential historian for the New-York Historical Society, trustee of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune dubbed him “America’s New Past Master.” He is the recipient of such distinguished environmental leadership prizes as the Frances K. Hutchison Medal (Garden Club of America), Robin W. Winks Award for Enhancing Public Understanding of National Parks (National Parks Conservation Association), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lifetime Heritage Award. His book The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He was awarded a Grammy for Presidential Suite and is the recipient of seven honorary doctorates in American studies. His two-volume, annotated Nixon Tapes recently won the Arthur S. Link–Warren F. Kuehl Prize. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and three children.

Table of Contents

Preface: Kennedy's New Ocean xi

Part I Rockets

1 Dr. Robert Goddard Meets Buck Rogers 3

2 Kennedy, Von Braun, and the Crucible of World War II 21

3 Surviving a Savage War 41

4 Who's Afraid of the V-2? 61

Part II Generation Sputnik

5 Spooked into the Space Race 93

6 Sputnik Revolution 125

7 Missile Gaps and the Creation of Nasa 155

8 Mercury Seven to the Rescue 181

9 Kennedy for President 191

Part III Moonbound

10 Skyward with James Webb 209

11 Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard 223

12 "Going to the Moon": Washington, DC, May 25, 1961 247

13 Searching for Moonlight in Tulsa and Vienna 265

14 Moon Momentum with Television and Gus Grissom 283

15 Godspeed, John Glenn 307

16 Scott Carpenter, Telstar, and Presidential Space Touring 335

Part IV Projects Gemini and Apollo

17 "We Choose to Go to the Moon": Rice University, September 12, 1962 359

18 Gemini Nine and Wally Schirra 373

19 State of Space Exploration 395

20 "The Space Effort Must Go On" 413

21 Cape Kennedy 431

Epilogue: The Triumph of Apollo 11 449

Acknowledgments 463

Notes 471

Bibliography 515

Image Credits 527

Index 529

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews