Surrounded By Thunder: The Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocketmen

Surrounded By Thunder: The Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocketmen

by Tom Williams

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When Darrell Loan graduates from University of Iowa in 1957 with an aeronautical engineering degree, he has no idea his first job at the Sperry Corporation will land him a top job at NASA in the next five years.

After the successful launch of America’s first satellite, NASA is formed. Darrell works side by side with Werner von Braun and other leading German engineers as the race to dominate space intensifies and the first Russian and American pilots are launched atop volatile rockets and sent into space.

During the twelve years between the launch of the Russian Sputnik and American boots on the moon, Darrell’s exploits with his friends and renowned aeronautical colleagues are pushed to the limits as the golden age of space exploration rises from the launch complexes of Cape Canaveral and Cape Kennedy, Florida.

With the entire world watching and emerging nations trying to decide whether to side with the Russian brand of communism or the capitalistic free enterprise system of America and the free world, the pressures of the Cold War dominate the space race as both nations struggle to prove that whoever can send pilots to the moon can use their superior aerospace hardware to deliver atomic weapons and win a third world war.

This is a story of a time not to be forgotten and a chapter in history that truly was and always will be, Surrounded by Thunder.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016552361
Publisher: Inspire on Purpose Publishing
Publication date: 04/25/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 664,840
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Tom Williams is an author, columnist, and feature article writer for a series of Scripps newspapers in Southwest Florida. Surrounded by Thunder is Williams’ third book, and Flight of the Valkrye is the prequel to his second novel Lost and Found, which received over 30 editorial reviews from across the nation.

After having published hundreds of human interest, and culinary columns, Tom’s well-rounded writing career also includes articles in Paradise Magazine, the Naples Daily News and The Marco Island Eagle. Williams writing has been published in Amsco school publications and Frontier Airlines in-flight magazine “The Wild Blue Yonder.”

In August 2013, Tom will be celebrating 29 years as a Master Merchant Marine Officer licensed by the United States Coast Guard. He is a well-traveled and veteran scuba diver specializing in shipwreck diving with a keen interest in deep-sea archeology. After decades of real life discovery above and under the water, Tom is uniquely enabled to create cause and effect scenarios where the written words paint the pictures.

His writing is well represented by the Ascot Media Group in Houston, Texas, and specifically Trish Stevens, publicist extraordinaire. Tom is a well-traveled, veteran scuba diver specializing in shipwreck diving who lives on Marco Island, Florida with his wife Victoria and their three cats Angel, Atticus, and Scout.

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Surrounded By Thunder: The Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocketmen 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
D_Donovan More than 1 year ago
Surrounded by Thunder: The Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocketmen isn't another survey of astronauts who participated in space programs, but focuses on the rocket scientists who actually helped make these journeys happen. So while it's a recommendation for any collection strong in space science or history; don't expect another 'I was an astronaut' saga here (that's already been overdone): Surrounded by Thunder offers so much more. Under a different hand, Surrounded by Thunder could have proved overly technical, focusing on the science behind space program history, which also has been done before. But this seeks to capture the atmosphere of the space program in general and Darrell Loan's life and contributions in particular: as such, it's a gathering of vivid insider stories, details about space program engineering history and challenges, and behind-the-scenes stories such as how the Mercury Seven were chosen for their mission. The author conducted extensive interviews with these pioneering scientists to document NASA'S heady, early days; but his provides these details in an unusually lively format accessible to a wide audience. Each chapter reads with the immediacy and vivid description of fiction, yet packs in a blend of 'you are there' reports from newspapers with interview results and fun truths about snafus and unexpected long-range successes.  While Darrell Loan is the rocket man given specific consideration here, coverage includes a range of events involving a team of rocket men over the history of the world's space programs, placing all of them in proper historical and scientific perspective. So don't look for the usual story of 'how I became an astronaut' or 'what it was like to walk on the moon.' DO look for a behind-the-scenes exposé narrated in an unusually lively style that succeeds in injecting humor and human insights into its blend of history and biographical profiles. Surrounded by Thunder recently won the coveted gold medal for non-fiction in the 2013 Florida Book Awards: this is a good indicator of its award-winning contents!