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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars One side of the Story, 16 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest (Paperback)
With the hindsight of 21st century cynicism it's easy to look back at the moon landings with some suspicion. We've all heard the conspiracy theories about NASA's adventures in the 60's, but here the intention seems to prove that project Apollo was just a huge waste of time and money for all involved. In fact this book is so unbalanced that it constantly refers to the Space race as if only the US were involved.

While the author certainly has a fair point that manned spaceflight is infinitely more difficult and costly than unmanned explorations, to suggest it has absolutely no worth and has achieved nothing is overstating the case very strongly.

Apollo was politically motivated, but there was also a real effort to get some science done up there, in fact as a result of those missions and their carefully collected samples traditional theories for the origins of the moon were overturned. The field of Astrogeology advanced massively as a result.

The author also fails to mention in any depth the Russian Lunar Programme, so well documented in many publications now available. So while the Soviet's had at one time 3 separate manned Lunar projects running, his only mention is that a cosmonaut was hours away from launch in a zond mission in 1968 - a claim which has been widely discredited elsewhere (Two sides of the Moon is most certainly not a reliable reference book, just a good read). No mention either that the Soviets were still trying to undertake Lunar missions into the early 70's, and indeed other nations have continued unmanned explorations long after man had first visited the 'worthless rock' of the authors viewpoint.

Alternative views on this massive achievement are always welcome, but at least try and give a balanced account - not everyone involved was a self-serving egotist! A more interesting question might be what would have happened to US manned space exploration if the quagmire of Vietnam had not engulfed the US and tainted the second half of the 60s.
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