Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Destination Moon

Mauerer, Richard. Destination Moon: The Remarkable and Improbable Voyage of Apollo 11
June 11th 2019 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Don't be fooled by the title; this is a great book to hand to your World War II fans. Why? It traces the science and politics that went into the development of the US space program from their roots during WWII to the Apollo program. Since I just had a student do a National History Day project on the technology developed during this military conflict that later had widespread civilian use, I was captivated.

While there are some tantalizing snippets of information about what people thought space exploration would look like, this mainly details the nitty gritty of the many people involved with developing rockets, starting with men who were pilots and engineers during WWII. This is interspersed with what was going on politically in the world, from Stalin in the U.S.S.R. to China and North Korea. There is a lot of information packed into the pages, but I found it oddly riveting.

Werner von Braun's career is given a lot of attention; he was certainly a rock star of his day, and I rather want to read a biography of him now! I loved the connection to Walt Disney and the children's programming of the time. It is hard to remember how homogeneous American culture was in the 1950s and 60s-- there were limited television channels, and everyone received the same limited amount of news from that and newspapers. It lead to much more of a single society mind set, but that also meant that excitement for the newly emerging space program was all focused on similar issues.

From there, the detailed developments and plans for the Apollo mission are outlined, and the mission followed. I especially liked the information about the aftermath of the mission, and the facts that there were 400,000 people involved in the project at that it cost 25 billion dollars, and that was on budget! Main players in the book are followed for a few years as well.

There are great photographs through, as well as source notes and timeline at the end, and my e ARC indicated but did not show an index. This is a great book for research for middle school students. It is a bit on the long side for most students (400 pages) unless they are really interested in the topic, and it's a bit dense, but I did find it to be extremely engaging and not dry, probably because of the emphasis on the individuals involved.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really good and I'll those who order books to see if our system could get it. And I remember well the days of only three TV networks--and all three of them were in black and white!