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Sputnik and the Soviet Space Challenge Paperback – 28 Feb 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (28 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081302627X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813026275
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 939,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most histories of the Soviet space program gloss over the details but Siddiqi gives us every single step that Korolev and his many followers took along their journey. Siddiqi edited the Boris Chertok series of books but this work brings a much bigger perspective than even Chertok could offer. Siddiqi doesn't let us get overwhelmed by the details and the end result is a new appreciation of the huge scale of technical, political and personal challenges that were overcome. This is a scholarly but very readable book and highly recommended for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.
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Format: Paperback
If you are interested in the history of the Soviet space program, this is THE book, along with its continuation, "the Soviet space race with Apollo". Everything you wanted to know about mankind's first effort to reach outer space is in here. It's full of thousands of previously unknown facts and stories, covering everything from the first pioneers to the efforts in the late 70's. However, be aware that this is not a book for the beginner or as a casual reading. If you're not familiar with the subject, it may be too exhaustive. On the other hand, if you are looking for blueprints or engineering details about Soviet rockets and spacecrafts, look elsewhere (NPO Energia's book, full of pictures, is the perfect companion).
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a dream to anyone who wants to know in great detail the story of the Soviet Space Challenge, however I found it really hard to get into this book because it contained a lot more detail than I was interested in.
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Format: Paperback
This book is the first of two volumes, the second volume being "The Soviet Space Race with Apollo". I would recommend reading this book before volume 2 as the second book continues at Chapter 12.

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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x93b7dccc) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x935ff018) out of 5 stars The other side of the space race. 20 Feb. 2004
By Taras R. Hnatyshyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Asif Siddiqi covers the first laps of the space race from the Soviet side. This tome goes deeper than just the hardware by covering some of the personalities involved on the Soviet side of the space industry. If you are interested in the history of early space exploration, this book fills in many of the holes that most Western histories leave unexplored.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x935ff0c0) out of 5 stars Epic Sovietic 14 Jan. 2009
By Jose C. A. Rodrigues - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Great book, which describes the development the entire Soviet space program, its virtues and flaws!
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!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9368bd50) out of 5 stars Good but HEAVY reading. 16 Nov. 2009
By Robert C. Snyder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers the soviet space/rocket program from it's infancy (before and following WWII) all the way to Kolarov's death. It does so in what I would call, pure history book style, or 'just the facts please'. I did find it to be VERY informative after reading for years on the US space program to hear how the soviet program was actually done was a real eye opener for sure and it will keep you going for that next page/chapter in that respect. What it was lacking though was the story side. I had expected more on the missions themselves, more on the events that had occurred during the missions, how they were solved, etc. 95% of the book covers the developement of the vehicles and the in-fighting of the soviet space program and it's personalities, not very much on the actual development and any issues that would arise during. It was the ICBM program that kept the soviet space program alive during these times and much of the book is devoted to this. I was expecting more a book on the soviet space program, it's missions, and the people involved including more on the cosmonauts and the race with the US.

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.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9368bd68) out of 5 stars a real history book 12 Oct. 2005
By G.LAM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A book where every name ,situation,person is based in facts and books.

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95537eac) out of 5 stars Tells you EVERYTHING about the Soviet space race. 8 April 2014
By kenneth robinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heavy reading. It's a door stop! Tells you absolutely everything there is to know about Soviet space flight in the 50's, 60's and early 70's. An exciting period unexcitingly put together. Would suit an academic. There are very few books on the subject written for the general public, which is a pity. Nice to read in small bits. Cover-to-cover would be quite a challenge to most people.
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