bok_rev_bachmann - Chris Bachmann ESD30 Engineering Apollo...

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Chris Bachmann ESD30 Engineering Apollo Book Review: Dark Side of the Moon Summary and Critical Examination : The Dark Side of the Moon by Gerard J. DeGroot is an antagonistic, bombastic, and deriding history of America’s venture to the moon. The book is built around three primary pillars: 1. Provide a summary of the American space race, 2. Answer the question of why go to the moon, and 3. Cast a shadow on the quest of going to the moon by providing caustic comments on those involved in the program and on the American population in general. By the end of the book, DeGroot provides no original scholarly insight and comes across as anti-American. DeGroot was born in California but is currently a professor of modern history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He has written 10 books including The Bomb: A Life which won the Westminster Award for best book on a war or military topic. In an interview with American Scientist Online, DeGroot comments that he does not want readers to see his book as an attack on the astronauts, scientists, and technicians that made the Apollo project successful. 1 However, his book repeatedly attacks not just those involved with the program but America itself. The first pillar of DeGroot’s book is to provide a historical summary of the events that began man’s quest into space and the Apollo program. What the reader will find is that he simply restates and at times seems to pirate the ideas and work of other Apollo historians. The required readings to this point in ESD30 cover every piece of DeGroot’s historical summary. In this regard, it seems a lot like a musician who 20 years after their prime re-releases their greatest hits album in the name money. Except in this instance the hits were not originally his. Ultimately, his summary is only the background for the other two pillars. DeGroot’s second pillar for the book is to answer the question of why go to the moon. Too often in his writing, he asks the question why and then gives an answer. Many times the answers he provides correspond to those learned in class. However, in each case he trivializes the answers. His questioning of the impetus for entering the space race and going to the moon is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking. Looking back on the fears that the American population and government had toward the
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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_rev_bachmann - Chris Bachmann ESD30 Engineering Apollo...

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