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Long-fascinated by space and the Cold War, Dickson says of Sputnik, "I think this is the story I was meant to tell. In a very real sense, I am an eyewitness to some of Sputnik's most memorable influences on the West. As a teen, I watched Sputnik, enthralled by the adventure of the space race. As a young man, I was a cold-warrior forced into uniform by the building of the Berlin Wall and I was stationed on a ship supporting the recovery of U.S. astronauts from splashdown. Later, I worked as a reporter covering the Gemini and Apollo missions for Electronics magazine. I have long collected material on Sputnik's impact on realms as diverse as industrial design and civil rights. Over the years I have thought about its impact on my generation and those that followed and toyed with alternative scenarios in which the United States and not the Soviet Union was first into space."
After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1961, Dickson joined the U.S. Navy and later worked as a reporter for McGraw-Hill Publications. Since 1968, he has been a full-time freelance writer, contributing articles to various magazines and newspapers, including Smithsonian, Esquire, The Nation, Town & Country, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He received a University Fellowship for reporters from the American Political Science Association for Think Tanks. For his book The Electronic Battlefield (1976), about the impact automatic weapons systems have had on modern warfare, he received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to support his efforts to get certain Pentagon files declassified. A founder and former president of Washington Independent Writers, he is also a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine and a consulting editor at Merriam-Webster, Inc.
Dickson lives in Garrett Park, Maryland, with his wife, Nancy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.