Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge Paperback – 28 Feb 2003
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"The essential reference work for Soviet/Russian space history ... for anyone hoping to make sense of the too many 'truths' of Soviet Space history."
"We finally have a definitive English-language history covering the first three decades of the Soviet Union's space program. Sixteen years in the making, Asif Siddiqi's amazingly detailed book provides a kaleidoscopic view of the technical and political evolution of Soviet missile and space projects....a veritable goldmine of factual information."
"An extraordinary volume.... This is not simply an account of one side of the space race. It is nothing less than the first full-scale, detailed explanation of how and why the Soviet Union led the world into space."
"No space buff's library will be complete without this book. Readers will marvel at the complex interactions between design bureaus, and will enjoy getting to know the people behind the failed Soviet effort--a vital step toward putting Apollo's victory in context."
"Absolutely mandatory on the bookshelf of anyone interested in space."
About the Author
Asif Siddiqi is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Carnegie Mellon University and author of Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes, 1958-2000.
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Top Customer Reviews
The only thing I didn't like were the (few) small black and white pictures and diagrams. Although interesting, such a book deserves better. Also, the small typeset makes the reading a difficult task.
The ultimate book on the early Soviet space program.
These books appear quite daunting at first with their small type but most pages have a large reference section at the bottom so there's not quite as much text to read as first meets the eye.
This book starts at the very beginning of Russian amateur rocketry & theory. It then describes in detail how the USSR were beaten to the best of the V2 rocket program at the end of WWII in Germany by the USA & Great Britain.
The story continues with how the Soviets learned from the Germans & developed their own space program & Sputnik. It then describes the testing with dogs (I loved the reason why chimps weren't used) & shows the bravery of people like Yuri Gagarin & how the USSR developed this program into multiple crew missions. I found the Soviets' concern for the safety of their animal & human pilots surprising & quite touching.
This book also describes in detail the remarkable hardships & work of Sergey Pavlovich Korolev & goes some way to showing us an insight into the person who was the "chief designer".
Asif Siddiqi does tend to produce long lists of names of the personnel involved, which to be honest I tended to skip over when reading. There are only so many Russian names you can read.
My other criticism of the book was the sparsity of pictures & photographs. While there are photos & illutrations in the book, Siddiqi often describes details or machinery that I really wanted to see. In fact I often found myself looking for rockets & ships on Google to help me to understand exactly how things looked & worked.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A great book for those who want to know more background on this issue,
and a true story of what happened behind the "iron curtain"! Apology politics aside, but simply a chronic and very interesting history of this nation!
If you are looking for an easier, more back-story type read on the soviet space program, this is not for you. If you are heavily into the space program and it's total history, this will definitely fit the bill there.
A book where author knows his sources and have a clear view of achivments and drawbacks of Soviet space programm
An author who can read Ruusian and have of net contact of the sources
I found the style of language difficult but fluid.