8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Sympathetic but entertaining and informative,
By A Customer
This review is from: Starman: Truth Behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (Paperback)
Based on a recent documentary, this easily read, informative documentary reflects the accesability of the authors original intentions - to examine the life of Yuri Gagarin, one of the worlds most famous men yet one most people know nothing about.
While the standard biographical contact - Yuri's early life in Nazi occupied Russia, his early career and character - is enjoyable enough, the book comes into it's own when it starts to examine the oftem perilous early years of the Russian Space program.
It's a truly fascinating history of one of mankinds greatest acheivements. One of the books great strengths is that it unearths the secret histories of so many remarkable scientists who's achievements have, to date, been largely eclipsed by the enigmatic First Cosmonaut. However the book avoids excessive technobabble, balancing these aspects with explanations of the emotional driving forces behind the Space Race.
The story of Yuri Gagarin doesn't end with his historic 90 minues in space - rather it can be seen as the beginning of the second, sadder story. Touted as a triumph of Socialist achievement Gagarin was flaunted world wide on a series of gruelling diplomatic engagements which initially showcased his remarkable patience, charm and genorosity, but ultimately drove him to drink, depression and a series of embarrasing incidents that would prevent him from ever returning to space.
Even the unpredictable and untimely death of Yuri Gagarin at the hands of an ancient training jet is clouded with secrecy, yet the authors refrain from pandering to conspiracy theorists and treats this event with an unbiased examination of the evidence.
If one criticism can be levelled at the book it's that this unbiased view is not evident throughout, however with a character of Yuri's status and a story so gripping it is dificult not to be in awe.
A very entertaining read for those with even the most passing of interests in space or 20th Century history. Recommended.