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bok_rev_friedman - We Reach the Moon Written by John Noble...

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We Reach the Moon Written by John Noble Wilford Analysis by Alissa Friedman MIT Class 16.895J, due April 2, 2007 According to the publisher, Bantam Books, We Reach the Moon responded to worldwide interest in the American moon missions, and was published fewer than three days after the splashdown of Apollo 11. It is one of the first books to capture the Apollo events and milestones, from the first space satellite to Kennedy’s reached goal. It begins with the launch of Sputnik and concludes with the “task accomplished” phrase on the mission control computer screens. The pages in-between are carefully laid out in chronological order of the Apollo program: from a scientific description of the moon, to the key players in assembling the NASA team and Apollo contractors, then highlighting the engineering systems necessary to drive misson success (such as G&N&C and the engineering of the command and lunar modules). It concludes with each mission leading up to and including the Apollo 11 manned landing. The author, John Noble Wilford, was (and still is) a newspaper reporter, so his book targeted the general public. He found ways to make the public understand the more complex technological or scientific topics that were important parts of the Apollo program. One way he did this was by using analogies to relate scientific topics to something not at all scientific. For example, in chapter two, he described the earth-moon combination and the celestial bodies’ relative revolution speeds by comparing the bodies to a pair of dancers, “think of the earth and the moon as a couple of dancers with arms locked, spinning wildly around a dance floor…the plane in which they spin is tipped slightly…and since the earth is 81 times more massive than its partner, it is the anchorman in the dance.” 1 In chapter nine, he used this technique to relate the new moon-landing concept to early explorers exploring a new frontier. He also painted pictures of political events that shaped the 1960s to remind the public of what was occurring outside the Apollo project; Wilford prefaced chapter fourteen with the grim events of Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and students rioting around the world, events that he said “rocked the foundations of man’s institutions.” 2 Wilford then used the Apollo 8 success as a means to uplift the spirit in the reader. “Not only did Apollo 8’s 1 John Wilford, We Reach the Moon (New York: Bantam Books, 1969) 19 2 John Wilford, We Reach the Moon (New York: Bantam Books, 1969) 184 1
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bok_rev_friedman - We Reach the Moon Written by John Noble...

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