Starman Paperback – Special Edition, 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book - well written and engaging. It provides a comprehensive overview of Gagarin's life and his role in the Space Race and Soviet politics... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Josh Boulton
A great story.must have really frightened the yanks at the time.what bravery being basically put into a metal ball and strapped to missile.Published on 10 July 2014 by Poo
A brilliant inside story to the worlds first space explorer. Written under pressures from the old "Iron Curtain" secrecy laws this is the closest we will get to the truth of what... Read morePublished on 8 July 2011 by j m clarke
Book is rubbish. Big fantasy of a small person with valetudinarian character who want to earn money on lie. It doesn't worth even a pound.Published on 28 Mar. 2011 by eXomen
A lot of 'facts' are very questionable. Just one and very subjective source usually have been used when this book was written. Read morePublished on 23 Mar. 2011 by Nia