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Starman Paperback – 4 Apr 2011
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Writer Piers Bizony and award winning film producer Jamie Doran have written a slim, yet well-researched biography of the world's first spaceman, Yuri Gagarin, in Starman. The 250-page book traces Gagarin's jet-propelled life, from his poor- boy roots in the Russian village of Klushino to his historic flight into space on April 12, 1961. The biography's strong point is in its examination of the institutional idiocies and failures that marked the Russian space programme. A classic example would be Gagarin's death in an aircraft crash near Moscow on March 27, 1968. The Soviet authorities left his family believing he was assassinated when it was almost certain that the cause of the crash was a simple air traffic control error. In another incident, a pre-flight report that showed cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov's Soyuz spacecraft had 203 faults--including a parachute that wouldn't open--was pulped. Komarov died in the craft. The biography is a fascinating--yet chilling--look at bureaucracy gone wrong. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
'Starman takes us breakneck speed through Gagarin's strange trajectory...Without books like these to shelter it, history is eroded by propaganda and real heroes fall victim to spin' (New Scientist)
'A riveting account of Gagarin's life ... Starman brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the time' (European)
'Starman skilfully achieves two distinct objectives: The uncovering of much of the mystery around one of mankind's finest periods, and a full and respectful acknowledgement that its many great heroes, both sung and unsung, were, first and foremost, human beings' (Moscow Times)
'Starman was worth writing and is definitely worth reading' (Daily Telegraph)
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Astonishing depth and breadth, every angle was covered and covered well. I'm not only enlightened and charmed by the wonderful story of a true hero and decent bloke, human for sure but decent nonetheless, but I also feel really satisfied and appreciative of the research the authors have undertaken in what must have been an incredibly frustrating climate of typical Russian secretiveness.
I'm very glad I did. It adds plenty of colour to Gagarin's legend, and the book does a great job of painting Gagarin as just a normal guy who did an extraordinary thing. A very highly recommended book to anyone interested in 20th Century History or Space Exploration.
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