Review Blog

May 23 2019

The race to Space by Clive Gifford

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Illus. by Paul Daviz. Words and Pictures, 2019. ISBN: 9781786038890. 64pp., hbk.
It is hard to believe that it is only a little over a century since the Wright Brothers made the first powered flight, achieving a distance of 37 metres at an altitude of just three metres with the flight lasting just 12 seconds at the amazing speed of nearly 11km per hour, and now we take flight taken for granted with humans spending months in space in the International Space Station, vehicles landing on Mars and probes travelling to the deepest corners of the solar system.
Even though the earliest rockets were invented by China over 600 years ago, it wasn't till the mid-20th century when the USSR launched Sputnik, the first manmade device to orbit the Earth, in 1957 and the US, the other world power to have emerged from World War II, were concerned that this would lead to the USSR having military control of space, that the race for the exploration of space really got going.
As the 50th anniversary of man first's landing on the moon approaches, this new book traces the history of the space race from the launch of Sputnik to the moon landing with its early focus on the tensions between the US and the USSR, and concluding with the 'handshake across space' in the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975 marking a new collaboration rather than competition.
Illustrated in full colour and spattered with quotes from significant participants of the times, this is a book for independent readers who want to know the stories behind the milestones and understand why it became a 'race' with that word's connotation of winners and losers.
Another opportunity to revitalise your collection about this period of history that is really so recent that many staff and parents will remember it vividly.
Barbara Braxton

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