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Two Sides of the Moon Paperback – 17 Sep 2013
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘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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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.
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.
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.
Two amazing men who are real explorers of the 20th Century
Both stories begin from childhood and show the development of their lives, rising up the ranks to both become highly respected people. Once again, thoroughly recommended.
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