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This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury (Annotated and Illustrated) [Kindle Edition]

James M. Grimwood , Charles C. Alexander , Loyd S. Swenson Jr , John A. Greene
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book is an amazingly detailed account of NASA’s Project Mercury Program from initial conception through project completion. When the Congress created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958, it charged NASA with the responsibility "to contribute materially to . . . the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space" and "provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information concerning its activities and the results thereof." NASA wisely interpreted this mandate to include responsibility for documenting the epochal progress of which it is the focus. The result has been the development of a historical program by NASA as unprecedented as the task of extending man's mobility beyond his planet. This volume is not only NASA's accounting of its obligation to disseminate information to our current generation of Americans. It also fulfills, as do all of NASA's future-oriented scientific-technological activities, the further obligation to document the present as the heritage of the future.
The wide-ranging NASA history program includes chronicles of day-to-day space activities; specialized studies of particular fields within space science and technology; accounts of NASA's efforts in organization and management, where its innovations, while less known to the public than its more spectacular space shots, have also been of great significance; narratives of the growth and expansion of the space centers throughout the country, which represent in microcosm many aspects of NASA's total effort; program histories, tracing the successes - and failures - of the various projects that mark man's progress into the Space Age; and a history of NASA itself, incorporating in general terms the major problems and challenges, and the responses thereto, of our entire civilian space effort. The volume presented here is a program history, the first in a series telling of NASA's pioneering steps into the Space Age. It deals with the first American manned-spaceflight program: Project Mercury.
Although some academicians might protest that this is "official" history, it is official only in the fact that it has been prepared and published with the support and cooperation of NASA. It is not "official" history in the sense of presenting a point of view supposedly that of NASA officialdom - if anyone could determine what the "point of view" of such a complex organism might be. Certainly, the authors were allowed to pursue their task with the fullest freedom and in accordance with the highest scholarly standards of the history profession. They [vi] were permitted unrestricted access to source materials and participants. Furthermore, they have with humility and some courage attempted to document what emerges as a complex accounting of the purposes of science, technology, and public funding in a challenging new area of human endeavor.
Some classical historians may deplore the short lapse of time between the actual events and the historical narration of them. Others may boggle at the mass of full documentary sources with which the Project Mercury historians have had to cope. There are offsetting advantages, however. The very freshness of the events and accessibility of their participants have made possible the writing of a most useful treatise of lasting historical value. Future historians may rewrite this history of Project Mercury for their own age, but they will indeed be thankful to their predecessors of the NASA historical program for providing them with the basic data as well as the view of what this pioneering venture in the Space Age meant to its participants and to contemporary historians.
558 pages and over 40 photos and illustrations. Hyperlinked contents for easy navigation. Includes a Project Mercury introduction and overview by John A. Greene.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3127 KB
  • Print Length: 795 pages
  • Publisher: Cia Publishing (10 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #70,452 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and exhaustive 30 Aug. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an incredibly comprehensive look at how America got a man into space. The length (of over 700 pages) is one indicator of the detail: another is the fact that the description of the first manned Mercury flight, by Alan Shepherd, only appears over two-thirds of the way through. As the book was written in the Sixties, soon after completion of the Mercury programme, the style is perhaps a little formal compared to what would be the case today: this is not a criticism, as the prose is crisp and readable.

As well as the look at Mercury itself, the book also covers the wider aspects of the very early days of what would become the space race, and will be of interest to those who want to know more about why there was a manned space programme at all. So if you have read most or all of the Apollo books, this forms a very readable and rewarding prequel. Highly recommended for space fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a look back at the early days 22 Dec. 2014
By Pete
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think for all that we marvel at the technological wonders of space flight there's an enormous amount that we take for granted. The Mercury Program was taken forward at a time when nobody knew if manned space flight was even possible. This book really takes the reader into those debates 'do we even need a man in the capsule at all?' It's also a story of serious heroism when you read about the glitches and failures these people are a bit special and this book puts you up there with them. It takes a bit of effort but this is amply repaid. Anyway I'm off with the Gemini Program now! Happy landings!
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4.0 out of 5 stars not for the armchair astronaut 4 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book starts even before NASA, and there is a lot of sending memos and going to meetings and setting up organisations. It's almost an administrative history of Mercury. You're about three quarters of the way through before the first sub-orbital flight. But if you stick with it, it's rewarding. Never again will you wonder what is the cause of those constant slips in schedule. And if you still really can't cope with it, skip forward to the chapters on each flight. Lots of detail for the imagination to work with. An armchair astronaut at last.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Quality Text 25 Sept. 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very very poor quality text on this printed to demand title. If you have an e-reader you can get this title free online anyway!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Project Mercury presented in monumental detail! 22 Nov. 2010
By D. Gottschalk - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"This New Ocean" is a completely comprehensive account of the United States' first manned space program. The text is incredibly detailed in chronicling the entire history of all aspects of Project Mercury - from the first multi-g experiments on man to various heat-shielding techniques, rocket boosters, and environmental subsystems, and countless space schemes thought up by the military. The development of the program is quite fascinating. So comprehensive is the text that Alan Shepard's historic sub-orbital flight doesn't actually occur until halfway through the book.

It's not a read for those just getting their feet wet in the history of space flight. This book is for those who already know the basics but crave every detail - all the early tests on man and machine and a full dissection of every part of the capsule.

My only complaint is that "This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury" does not have an index. For such a comprehensive work of non-fiction, this omission is a crime. So many names and acronyms are mentioned in rapid succession that it's almost impossible to remember the roles of everyone. I keep a notepad with me to jot down names, acronyms, and page numbers, so that when I come across something that sounds familiar, I know where I saw it before. A glossary for the acronyms would also be a helpful feature. If a second edition of this chronology is ever made, it needs an index badly. I'd compile it myself if the publishers asked me to.

Still, it's a well-worthwhile read for those who need to know everything about EXACTLY how we first got to space.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well documented history 25 April 2013
By Gordo42 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a well written history of the time between WW2 and the culmination of Project Mercury, including the differences between the US and Soviet programs and objectives. Enjoyed it a lot.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A detailed History for dedicated space enthusiasts 7 April 2013
By M3BRZ - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a book for the casual reader, this detailed history of the Mercury Program is for those interested in the political, management and technical challenges faced by the first American program in human space flight.
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent histroy of the Mercury Missions 23 May 2014
By dcshal - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a very readable and enjoyable history of the Mercury missions of the early 1960's. It tells the story not only of the six manned missions but also of the many preparations and design decisions that had to occur before the space craft could be declared safe. Not only does the book cover the engineering preparation but it also covers the training the astronauts had to go through before they could be declared ready for flight. One aspect that the book passes over without much comment are the tensions arising from Scott Carpenter's flight on Aurora 7 when the amount of fuel consumed during the flight was significantly more than anticipated.

This book is certainly worth its price.
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful information source on the start of America's space program 20 Jan. 2014
By William Hagen - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although not written in as entertaining a style as Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff," this book still has plenty to offer in the form of names, dates, places, committees, etc. If you're looking for information on the formative years of America's space program, look here.
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