From School Library Journal
Grade 5–8—A compelling portrait of the United States's rivalry with the former Soviet Union over space technology from the 1950s to the early 1990s. The emphasis is on the historical aspects of the rivalry and not the astronautic science, and how this "competition" influenced government, the arts, and popular culture. The fast-paced, simple text conveys Americans' excitement at the time as well as their fears of the USSR becoming more advanced than the United States. Facts are interwoven with quotes and anecdotes from everyday people and well-known figures from horror writer Stephen King to Hillary Clinton. Included in the discussion are the racist and sexist attitudes of the time that excluded opportunities for women and people of color in the space program. Black-and-white photographs show both examples of space technology and snapshots of popular culture. There are extensive source notes. Additionally, there is a piece of the original communication between the astronauts of Apollo 11
and scientists at the Manned Space Center in Houston. This is a great read for young space enthusiasts as well as children who enjoy American history.—Michael Santangelo, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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Gr. 6-9. This volume from the People's History series begins with the night in 1957 when Americans learned that the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik.
Relating the reactions of individuals such as 10-year-old Stephen King and teenage space enthusiast Homer Hickham, Kuhn draws readers into the story with her skillful portrayal of how the knowledge that a Russian-made satellite was flying overhead set America on a new trajectory that ended, just 12 years later, with the Apollo 11
astronauts walking on the moon. Though many black-and-white photographs illustrate the book, the lack of color (other than the green used for lettering for headings and captions and for tinting chapter-head photos) limits the book's visual appeal. Despite the book's lackluster format, Kuhn has seamlessly woven the history into a compelling story. The volume concludes with source notes, a selected bibliography, a time line, and an excerpt from the transcripts of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's conversations during the first lunar landing. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved