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Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age [Paperback]

Matthew Brzezinski
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 July 2008
On 4 October 1957, at the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union secretly launched Sputnik, Earth's first artificial moon. Powered by a car battery, it passed over the stunned American continent once every 101 minutes and propelled the USSR from backward state to superpower and pioneer of the Space Age. This is the pulse-racing story of a time when two nations and ideologies were pitted against each other in a quest that laid the foundations of the modern technological world.

Frequently Bought Together

Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age + Starman + Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat the Americans to the Moon
Price For All Three: 28.40

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747593078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747593072
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Wonderfully colourful ... combines a scientific plotline with the history and characters of a Cold War thriller' The Times 'Gripping' New York Times 'Brzezinski is admirably balanced in this history of the world's first space race and he draws out well both the true strategic importance of that first flight and the sheer complacency of the Americans' Sunday Times 'Red Moon Rising is a compelling account of the scientific and political events leading to the creation of the first satellite' P D Smith, Guardian

About the Author

Matthew Brzezinski served as Moscow correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in the mid-1990s. His book on Russia's post-communist chaos, Casino Moscow, was published by the Free Press in 2001. Post-9/11, Matthew Brzezenski covered homeland security for the New York Times Magazine. His last book, Fortress America, about the counter-terror effort and post-9/11 paranoia, was published in 2004.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By G
Format:Hardcover
I found this book thoroughly absorbing.
It gives an informative look at both communism and capitalism at their most (and least) effective.
Brzezinski has captured the tension applied by and to the American and Soviet governments, militaries and scientists quite brilliantly and tells the story of the political manoeuvrings, technical triumphs and disasters, and social perceptions of the period without getting bogged down in these back stories.

In many ways it reads more like a thriller than an historical account, flipping by chapter from the Soviet side to the American side.

I disagree with the reviews that suggest Brzezinski is biased against the Russians, I found the book to be well balanced. If anything it paints the Soviet scientists as more ingenious (and ultimately more effective) than their unfocussed and technologically arrogant American rivals.
The American reaction to Sputnik's launch is told brilliantly, from the citizens listening to its radio signals, right up to Eisenhower playing golf as the balance of world power shifts under his feet.

The story is studded throughout with finely researched details of the main events from a wide variety of sources, most notably Khrushchev's son, but never loses focus of where the story is going, for example there is a lengthy description about the U2 spy missions but not until the epilogue does it discuss the soviet capture which has become more famous than the plane itself, as it's not directly relevant to the story at hand.

A great account of an epic struggle for technological dominance (or at least the perception of it!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Red Moon Rising offers an exciting, cross-genre account of the events that gave birth to the space age.

The unable-to-put-down factor for me is the style the book is written in; it has all the elements of a cold war thriller, its is Le Carre-esque. And as someone with a fervent interest in science and history, this book neatly combines the two in an accessible manner. Its unlikely that the dialogue within each of the protagonists' respective camps in the book was captured by many, if any historians. However the book appears to be well researched, leading to the assumption that this was in fact the way that business was conducted by the two superpowers at this time.

Because of the clever way that fact and fiction is interlaced in this book, it simultaneously fascinates and educates - though be careful not get the two mixed up.

If you have an interest in military history, rocket science, the space race or simply enjoy a good thriller then this book is for you.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good book from this author which I discovered recently.
In this book, Mr Brzezinski tells us the story of the launching of the first satelite that man put into space.
Nothing will ever change this fact but the man that reached space was Homo Sovieticus.
Starting from the capture of a large number of German rocket scientists by the americans, through the first ICBM R7 built by Korolev to the final launching of Sputnik (PS1) and quickly later of PS2, the author reveal this intense period of history.

one of the very few positive side of War is that it can sometimes push men to seek other means of imposing their supremacy than with weapons. Korolev worked himself to death to be the first man to launch a man made object into orbit.

A negative point I found out is that the author proceeds relatively slowly in his book. Quite often, he comes back to earlier sections, re-explain concepts, or for example portrait a character that was introduced much earlier in the book. It may become irritating afer a while and you wish the author get to it quicker.
Neverthless, a great book for anybody interested in the cold war, in the space conquest or simply history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Behind the scenes of the ICBM race 16 July 2013
Format:Paperback
Despite the blurb, it is not so much the race for space that makes this story interesting, it is the way in which propaganda, paranoia and mis-information formed the basis of the nuclear arms race. The book does nothing to convince that the launch of Sputnik was anything other than a footnote in the history of the cold war.

It is an easy enough read and the author has done a good job of explaining the technical issues in layman's terms. For anyone who has watched or like me is watching Oliver Stone's, "Secret History of America", this makes for excellent background reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pop history as it should be written 16 May 2013
By pgm3
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Soviet space program is as important as NASA historically, hell, as important as Prince Henry's sponsorship of proto-imperial explorations, and Brzezinski writes like a good novelist. Seriously, check out the "look inside" -- better'n Dan Brown for the quick-reader-grab. This could've been sooooo dull, but it isn't, and shouldn't be. Well done!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent dramatization 17 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very good dramatization of the political and military reasons that led to Sputnik (and Laika) and of the first American satellite.
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Format:Paperback
Tells the story of "Sputnik and the rivalries that ignited the Space Age". Indeed it starts well with a very atmospheric description of a V2 launch against London, and then goes on to tell the story of the early pre Sputnik US and Soviet space programmes and the internal politics that lay behind them. Centre-stage is rightly given to von Braun, ex member of Hitler's SS and Korolev, survivor of Stalin's Gulag camps (interesting that Korolev had as many failures - probably more than the US before his successful Sputnik launch) with an examination of their respective relationships with Eisenhower and Khrushchev but beyond telling the story, rather like early US attempts to get into space, it fails to really ignite. Brzezinski is a former journalist (for the Wall Street Journal) and this reads like an extended piece of journalism - rather like a long series of articles that you might find in a weekend supplement. The US political context is more satisfactory than the Soviet. The end notes suggest that research is essentially secondary - and much of that from the internet. An appropriate read perhaps if you are new to the period (having just seen the forthcoming movie on "Ham" the space chimp maybe) but don't look to find any novel insights or new archival research.
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