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bok_rev_edwards - Review of Logsdon's The Decision to Go to...

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Review of Logsdon's The Decision to Go to the Moon Christine Edwards In The Decision to Go to the Moon , John Logsdon explores the events and strategic decision making that led to President Kennedy's conclusion and national challenge that the United States should send a man to the moon before the end of the 1960's. Logsdon argues that through analysis of this decision, insight is gained into the factors required for a country to commit to a program that needs significant resources. This review of the book will first give a brief summary of the book's layout, and then delve into a critical analysis of one of Logsdon's conclusions and the sources supporting it. Finally, the significance of this book to "the history of Apollo" will be discussed. Brief Summary and the Author's Stimulus In the beginning, Logsdon relates that Vernon Van Dyke's 1964 analysis of the American space program motivated his own study. Van Dyke suggested that Kennedy's decision was "in the same general category" of other monumental national decisions. However, he did not "make a meticulous effort to determine precisely how much influence specific individuals have had on decisions and precisely what their personal thought processes have been . .." 1 From this work, Logsdon saw the opportunity to delve deeper than Van Dyke into the philosophies and decision- making processes that resulted in the "largest single use of technological means to achieve a significant foreign policy goal in American history." 2 In the first part of the book, Logsdon builds a historical reconstruction of the events leading to Kennedy's decision to go to the moon. After giving this detailed account, Logsdon develops an analysis of the Apollo decision for the second part of the book. He utilizes Huntington's theory of strategic decision-making processes and Paige's theory of decision- making during a crisis. Logsdon provides a study of how Kennedy's presidential philosophies were more conducive towards drastic new policy than those of Eisenhower. Then, Logsdon analyzes what factors must be in place for the "Apollo approach" to be successfully applied to other national and world challenges. He ends with a final conclusion that ties together much of 1 Quote from Van Dyke. John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon (MIT, 1970), p. ix 2 .John M. Logsdon, The Decision to Go to the Moon (MIT, 1970), p. ix
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the discussed events and theories. The following section of this book review will analyze this
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bok_rev_edwards - Review of Logsdon's The Decision to Go to...

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