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bok_rev_panish - R obert Panish E ngineering Apollo A pril...

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Engineering Apollo April 2, 2007 Book Review Men From Earth Buzz Aldrin and Malcolm McConnell 1 In his book, Men From Earth , Buzz Aldrin provides a broad overview of space history leading up to his moon landing on Apollo 11 . The book begins with the launch of the first V-2 rocket by Werhner von Braun’s German rocket team at Peenemunde and progresses systematically through both the American and Soviet space missions. In contrast to many of the astronaut autobiographies, Aldrin’s book is not a tale of his heroism and bravery in the face of peril. Rather, it is a broad history of the space effort with interesting commentary by someone who played an important role, and of course there is a decent amount of information on Aldrin’s own education and career. The most interesting part of the book is the manner that the descriptions of the American and Soviet endeavors are intertwined. Aldrin and McConnell interweave the largely unknown Soviet story into the publicized American program by having an excerpt about the Soviet space program every few pages. At first, the reader wonders how knowledgeable the authors are about the Soviet activities. Aldrin does not profess to have substantial first-hand knowledge of the Soviet space program. Rather, he refers to several Soviet space historians both in the text and in the endnotes. The dominant Soviet historian referenced in the book is James Oberg, “the American expert on the Soviet space program” . 2 The authors also cites the works of a half dozen other Soviet space histories. Additionally, Aldrin was briefed by senior Pentagon and US government officials during the fall of 1988 on the activities of Sergei Korolev’s design team . 3 When reading Soviet space histories, it is easy to lose sight of how the Soviet actions 1 Aldrin, Buzz and Malcolm McConnell. Men From Earth. (New York: Bantam Books, 1989). 2
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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_panish - R obert Panish E ngineering Apollo A pril...

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