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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So Near yet so Far, 11 July 2005
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This review is from: The Soviet Space Race with Apollo (Paperback)
One of the frustrations of watching Apollo in the 60s and 70s was never knowing what the 'other side' were doing. Well, here's the answer and some of it is more than a little surprising.
I should start by saying what this book isn't: This is half of a book, not Volume 2. We start at page 517 and proceed to page 1005. Being the second half of the book, it includes the Tables and Appendices (over 100 pages of them) plus the index. The index actually covers the whole book which can be frustrating for those (like me) who only have this half.
The book also suffers in places from dreadful English, though the meaning is generally clear. It is also short on illustrations and the quality of those that are included is mediocre (no plates, just black and white photos included with the text).
So, having covered the negatives, I can now say that this is a fascinating book. It is apparently comprehensive and tells the story of how the lead in the space race slipped from the Soviets' grasp. Their lunar programme fragmented and, in the end, they just could not match NASA's supreme example and put a man on the moon. Sadly, they then tried to conceal the fact that they had even tried.
I was gripped by the in-fighting that gave them two parallel moon programmes (one to orbit, a different one to land) and frustrated as the N1 (the Soviet Saturn V) repeatedly failed its launch tests. As an engineer, I felt the urge to go back and bang heads together to make them focus - they were almost there!
I think this says much for the telling of the story. The rest, in the Tables and Appendices, shows the depth of work that has gone into this book; much of it is based on Russian material only made available in the 90s. It is half of the book but, in the end, that matters less than you might expect. This is a must-read for Apollo followers out there.
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