bok_rep_renkoski - Ben Renkoski Of a Fire on the Moon Of a...

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Ben Renkoski Of a Fire on the Moon Of a Fire on the Moon is most basically described as an account of Apollo 11 from the perspective of the author and journalist Norman Mailer. The book concentrates on the events of the mission as well as on Mailer’s own thoughts and questions brought up by Apollo. Norman Mailer, a leading author of the counter-culture ‘60s, was known for a style known as “new journalism”, in which nonfiction is written using literary devices to tell an entertaining narrative. This book was written in a deal with Life magazine to allow him to cover Apollo 11. The liberal Mailer at first seems like an odd choice for someone to write about the “waspy” Space Administration (as he often describes it) but in fact, Mailer majored in aeronautical engineering while at Harvard and is more than adept at understanding and describing engineering details. The fact that he comes from a completely different perspective than the personnel at NASA makes the book all the more interesting and adds an element that is non-existent in the vast majority of books on Apollo. He actively questions the inherent value of going to the moon and offers more than the official statements from NASA. Since he covered Apollo as a journalist he had access to many of the facilities, technical manuals, and personnel and used his own observations and interviews as his main source, as the only other source he sites is First on the Moon , by the Apollo astronauts themselves. But since he focuses much more on his own thoughts and views, this book should be seen more as a source for the opinions of one man on the Apollo missions than as a central source for technical information on the mission itself. In terms of Launius’s categories, Launius himself classifies the book as a narrative of the astronauts and the actual flights. But because Mailer is much more interested in telling us his own thoughts and opinions of the mission, I would argue the book should also be classified in the fifth category of social and cultural investigations into the meaning of Apollo to modern America.
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From the very beginning, it is clear this book will be different from any other book on the subject. This is because the first thing Mailer talks about has nothing to do
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course AERO 16.872 taught by Professor Danielhastings during the Fall '03 term at MIT.

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bok_rep_renkoski - Ben Renkoski Of a Fire on the Moon Of a...

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