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Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight) Hardcover – 11 Jun 2007
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"This frank, entertaining, no-holds-barred ride through the golden age of space flight takes us behind the official stories, into the real lives of the very first astronauts and cosmonauts." Wally Schirra: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut "Unforgettable days and some unforgettable characters were brought vividly back to me by this truly wonderful book. They were fun times; they were also incredibly difficult, hard-working, and agonizing times, watching dear friends launch into space with my heart in my mouth. This book offers a treasure trove of memories." Dee O'Hara, nurse to the astronauts "As well as vividly picturing the men, this book also accurately tells the story of the very first women to train for spaceflight in Russia--and women like me in America who hoped for the same opportunity to reach for the stars." Wally Funk, rocket pilot for Interorbital Systems Corporation "[An] eminently readable, well-crafted contribution to the burgeoning genre of first-person accounts and popular histories of space explorers... The merits of this popular history rest in the elegant narrative and the authors' thoughtful awareness of the space explorer genre." Air & Space Smithsonian "Francis French and Colin Burgess don't have any special hooks or other gimmicks in Into That Silent Sea; instead, they simply offer a well-written account about the Americans and Russians who were the first to fly into space... The book ... offer[s] some excellent profiles of these individuals that are accessible to both newcomers to space history and well-read enthusiasts alike." The Space Review "French and Burgess's history will engage the space-program audience." Booklist "A well-written account about the Americans and Russians who were the first to fly into space... [The book] offers some excellent profiles of these individuals that are accessible to both newcomers to space history and well-read enthusiasts alike." Space Review "For space fans, this is a good read." CHOICE "Into That Silent Sea is an excellent reminder of just what Gagarin and other trailblazers did and how they became international celebrities in their own right. We seem to have forgotten just how new the frontier of space was... Many people today seem to view space programs as an extravagance or with disinterest. For those who remain interested in those programs and have read the prior histories and memoirs, it never hurts to be reminded of just how pioneering the first steps were." Tim Gebhart, Blogcritics.org, Boston.com "I enjoyed every page of this nearly 400-page tome. I was disappointed to finish it simply because I wanted to read more... If you're new to this field of reading I'd highly recommend starting with this book. The background on the spacefarers is very interesting." Today in Space History Blog "The straightforward yet engrossing writing style of this history will interest readers from the junior-high level to adults... What is especially compelling about this race into space story is the humanistic narrative, describing the individual cosmonauts and astronauts... For younger readers, the description emphasizes the characteristics of determination, scholarship, loyalty, comraderie, dedication, and fitness--traits that are essential for astronaut applicants." Rita Hoots, Journal of College Science Teaching
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slipped the bonds of earth to explore the heavens.
Since then, space exploration has given us some of the
most spectacular and memorable moments in history from
the first moon-landing on Apollo 11 to the drama of
Apollo 13 and the devastation of the Challenger and
Columbia disasters. The material already written on
these programmes would likely stretch from here to the
moon, and many would be forgiven for assuming that
there's nothing new to write on the subject. However,
authors Francis French and Colin Burgess have found a
new angle and made a most worthy contribution to the
history of our greatest adventure.
What separates "Into that Silent Sea" from many other books on the space
programme is that it focuses on the men and women who
made it all possible. This is a people's history of
space and examines that magnificent race from the
perspective of those who lived it and did it: whether
running the programmes or riding the rockets. Through
their genuine interest in the subject matter, Burgess
and French won the trust of the astronauts, cosmonauts
and the lesser-known or forgotten space pioneers who
toiled behind the scenes. The reward for their
dedication and sincerity were stories that in many
cases have never been told before and provide a fresh
perspective on the early days of spaceflight. The end
result is a book that ranks amongst the very best
written on the subject.
Not only does this book provide a most welcome
perspective on a truly remarkable endeavour, but it is also extremely well written and thoroughly
readable. This book transports you to a time when the
two great superpowers were competing for control of
the ultimate high ground while the rest of the world
watched in awe and perhaps bewilderment. It proves
that while the men and women who rode these rockets
were indeed the best, bravest and brightest of that or
any other time, they were also mere humans with their
own foibles, insecurities, peculiarities and
If you want a truly human history of spaceflight,
this book is amongst the very best available.
Capt. William (Mike) Lucas
The writing style and narrative is enjoyable, flowing, well-paced, accessible, exciting. The book is superbly researched. The events and human subjects covered in the book are interesting, anything but dull, the authors uncovered uncommon stories about them.
Most of all, I felt like I had walked away after reading this book seeing these spacefarers and astronauts as humans, real people, not celebrities. The authors managed to show us their humanity without losing respect for their accomplishments. In fact, in spite of their humanity, their weaknesses, their environment, I have even more respect for so many of these spacefarers now that I can appreciate what they went through and had to overcome to achieve what they were able to.
I even came away with a much deeper appreciation and understanding of people I've often considered enemies at worst (i.e., Russian spacefarers), and objects of derision at best.
The stories in this book touch the human spirit in a way that is universal, beyond politics, beyond creed, beyond country. That's because the authors were able to capture an underlying essence most humans on our planet share: the curiosity and wonder to explore and give one's life to a cause greater than one's own agenda or paradigm.
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