15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An uncomfortable truth,
This review is from: Dark Side of the Moon: The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest (Hardcover)
Let me set out my stall straight away, I'm a space flight enthusiast. What De Groot rather unhelpfully refers to as a 'Space Geek'.
The Dark Side of the Moon is a polemic on the real motivation behind the race to the Moon; to beat the Russians and to bolster public opinion for the White House. The book explores the political and historical background to why the race started and how many American politicians tried to stop it.
It makes uncomfortable reading to those who have unquestioning support for manned space flight. I don't think this is a balanced book, but then again I don't think that this is what the author was trying to achieve. De Groot is putting over a perspective that is rarely addressed in other books about Apollo, namely that manned spaceflight has little to do with science and a lot to do with politics.
Unfortunately, he falls in to the trap of quoting an urban myth (the 1 million dollar space pen - they actually cost just a few dollars each). I also think he seriously down-plays the good science that was done on Apollo. However, one could easily argue that this science could have been done a lot cheaper by unmanned rovers and sample return missions.
Despite these minor shortcomings, I think this book should be essential reading for anyone interested in manned spaceflight, particularly if read in combinbation with other books on the subject such as 'A Man on the Moon' by Andrew Chaikin; 'Last Man on the Moon' by Gene Cernan; and 'Dragonfly' by Bryan Burrough.
By the way, please don't get this book confused with the truly appalling 'Dark Moon' by David Percy and Mary Bennett; now there's a stinker!