Two Sides of the Moon Paperback – 4 May 2004
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'A page-turner, a reminder that behind the high technology there was high drama' -- GUARDIAN
'An extraordinary book that provides a very valuable account of the way the Cold War was ended in Space' -- Arthur C. Clarke
'The tale they have written is a testament to the heights mankind can achieve' -- THE SCOTSMAN
‘A page-turner, a reminder that behind the high technology there was high
drama.’ —The Guardian
"Dave Scott and Alexei Leonov have each borne the enormous responsibility of
commanding spacecraft and of representing their respective countries in the
most fascinating and most expensive race in human history. This is their
transcendent recounting of that competition." — Neil Armstrong
"The lay reader, assuredly, will be left in awe." — Chicago Tribune --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The format of the book is that periods from 1965 to 1975 are split into arbitariry portions and each astronaut/cosmonaut writes anything between a couple of paragraphs and several pages on subjects such as events in his personal life, his country but mainly in his countries space programme. Because of the format used the book is very easy to read and can skip effortlessly from USA to the USSR and back again without losing any momentum or it feeling forced. All the main characters and events are covered from a personal perspective, the first satellite –Sputnik, Korolev, von Braun, Gargarins first space flight, the death of Komarov, Americas initial problems getting a reliable launch vehicle, the tragedy of Apollo 1, the USSR/USA casualties that occurred during training/preparation for flights as well as all the successes of the various missions and the men behind them. Fascinating stuff.
The only slight disappointment for me came in the Epilogue where Scott uses it for a bit of gloating/ political tub-thumping over America getting to the Moon first. It’s nothing too major but I goes so much against the spirit in which the rest of the book is written that it’s really noticeable and a bit puzzling.
In short, one of the best books I’ve read on the subject. Recommended.
This is an autobiography seen through the eyes of both Scott and Leonov - the highs and lows, their tremendous achievements, disappointments and sadness at lives lost. The stories of both authors' intertwine well and it is very easy to read. Although politics has an integral role in the recounting of this story, it is not bogged down by the details.
This totally fascinating tale is both entertaining and informative but doesn't get too technical. There is even a glossary for those who find acronyms difficult to remember - I discovered this half way through the book and it is well worth knowing before you start!
I enjoyed this book immensely and although it helps if you have an interest for all things space related, I would recommend it to anyone who just loves a good, compelling read.
Their respective upbringings and pilot backgrounds are described at just the right length, followed by the pair's recruitment to opposite sides of the space race.
Leonov offers a candid account of his and man's first ever spacewalk in 1965 as well as his frustrations as the U.S. later took the lead in the rush to land a man on the moon. Meanwhile, Scott provides rare detail of his frightening Gemini 8 mission and a full review of walking and driving on the moon with Apollo 15. Scott's chapters in particular are very well written and he does credit writer Christine Toomey in the acknowledgements.
It was only when Scott assisted with preparations for the early 70s Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) that he and Leonov became good friends and the latter sections here describe how that led to this joint biography. ASTP gets little attention all these years later, so Leonov's account of his part in the mission is valuable.
Twenty-odd photos from Leonov, including a couple of his paintings, and a similar number from Scott round the book out. Worth adding to any collection of Apollo-related biographies, this paperback gives double the value for its added insight to the Russian space effort.
The main reasons might be the fact that the story was told several times and today the moon landings are history, not future at least for the time being.
Apart from the Chinese willing to put their flag on it, I do not see men visiting it in the foreseeable future, unless the cost of flying can be reduced to make the exploration economically viable.
The book consists of side to side autobiographies of two of the most successful astronauts, one from each side of the iron curtain.
These two men were really exceptional, at the forefront of the first space flights and the landing on the moon. They were given some of the more difficult tasks in the soviet and American space quests and they performed brilliantly.
Both were born before the second world war, they were initially fighter pilots and their space training included science studies as well.
Scott had a privileged upbringing and he feels aristocratic, Leonov started from a very poor upbringing, but both are examples of very determined, resourceful and successful men.
I suspect both were cold, not overfriendly people, but the focus on being the best did not allowed them time for social interactions.
Leonov is a bit bitter because the soviets lost the moon race and the communism imploded together with any hope of Russian space successes.
The narratives are a bit bland, some of the dangerous incidents they faced were the subject of a recent series on Discovery and a lot of what they seen and done might be still classified, but it was an interested reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great read. It was well constructed with the interleaving of David Scott's experiences with Alexei Leonov's experiences. A good insight into the Russian side of the Space Race. Read morePublished on 16 July 2014 by Amazon Customer
Two personal accounts of space exploration during the cold war era from either side of the iron curtain culminating in two adversaries becoming great friends. Read morePublished on 20 Jun. 2014 by Alex Tong
James Oberg has done a thorough job...Google 'Random Notes on Leonov's Side of the Moon - for discussion.' It's not only the stuff Leonov says but what he leaves out. Read morePublished on 1 Mar. 2009 by M. Harriott
Absolutely brilliant book. I recommend it to anyone interested in the workings of NASA and the USA and USSR during the Space Race. Read morePublished on 29 April 2006 by D. Panchal
There are very few books left by any of the Mercury-Apollo astronaughts that I have not read, so I had a good idea of what to expect. Read morePublished on 7 Feb. 2005 by ANDREW J ROBERTS