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Space Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1983

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A master storyteller . . . Michener, by any standards, is a phenomenon. Space is one of his best books.”The Wall Street Journal
“A novel of very high adventure . . . a sympathetic, historically sound treatment of an important human endeavor that someday could be the stuff of myth, told here with gripping effect.”The New York Times Book Review
Space is everything that Michener fans have come to expect. Without question, the space program’s dramatic dimensions provide the stuff of great fiction.”BusinessWeek
“Michener is eloquent in describing the actual flights into space, as well as the blazing, apocalyptic re-entry of the shuttle into earth’s atmosphere.”The New York Times

From the Inside Flap

Space. It is the object of dreams and daring of countless men and women who have made it the last, great frontier of human endeavor. James Michener has brought the human touch to that exciting exploration by bringing to life six men and women. Their dedication to the space experience defines its complexities and fascination as no other writer can.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 808 pages
  • Publisher: Fawcett Crest; Reissue edition (September 12, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449203794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449203798
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By kone TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 4, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Michener's "Space" is a novel (historical fiction) on the scientific development of rocketry and space travel. He begins at the very beginning, with American and Russian interests trying to lure fleeing German V-2 scientists into their war/weaponry programs before the fall of Hitler's Germany. Michener then goes on to chart the developments in the budding space program, from the launch of the Russian satellite "Sputnik", to the space race, to the moon landing, the development of the space shuttle, and finally interplanetary travel to Mars.

Give Michener credit for being a prophet: He predicts the problems we are now facing with the heat tiles on the space shuttle, and he predicts the interplanetary interest in Mars.

Michener uses fictional characters based after the original 7 NASA astronauts. One character has a strong resemblance to John Glenn. These characters are the focus that the developing story revolves around. It is a good story, probably suited for the reader with an interest in space exploration, NASA, and space travel. I have read it twice and was engrossed both times, but then I love Michener. It seems there is no in-between opinion on Michener's writing style - you either like him or you don't. I happen to be in the former category and enjoy his lengthy and in-depth writing prose.

"Space" is a good read for those with an interest in space travel.

Jim "Konedog" Koenig
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Format: Hardcover
It was a timely coincidence I decided to read this book in 2004, twenty-two years after it was originally published. Ordinarily I am put off by 800 page books, especially historical fiction. However, this one was different. It grabbed and held me. Challenging, absorbing, dramatic, stimulating, and meaningful are a few of the adjectives that come to mind.
Michener has dramatized the first advent of man into space in a marvelously cohesive and illuminating fashion. The characters he creates are not meant to be historical, but instead they represent the richness and variety of human nature that almost miraculously have to come together in order to achieve an important and demanding task.
Alongside these brave men--and occasionally in front of them-- we find their unique wives and their families, sometimes with values agonizingly different from their parents. But the main task is to harness all of their energy to the pressing and onerous task of doing something nearly, but not quite, impossible -- lifting tons of metal far beyond the grasp of Earth's gravity and guiding it unerringly to bull'seye targets millions of miles away.
Michener's story begins during World War II where American war heroes and German rocket scientists alternately share the narrative. Their diverse lives are seamlessly woven into a rich tapestry that eventually becomes the spectacular American space initiative.
In exploring the scientific and engineering conquest of space the danger for an author is that it could become monotonously technical. Michener neatly avoids this danger by interspersing a running commentary on the revolution in social conditions that germinated and developed in American during this turbulent time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Space is a tale that takes one from the battlefields of World War II to the Moon. Not many other books can make that claim, probably fewer still can do it with the finess that Michener can. As a sugar coated lesson in the history of rocketry I doubt that there is a better substitute. The final trip to the Moon as told by Michener is one of the most exciting sequences that I have ever read and well worth the wait. It is a little hard to get used to the imaginary state of Freemont- perhaps the story and characters involved were (to a point) renamed in order to protect the privacy of the real people they represented. Or maybe that is just what Michener wants us to think.
The con artist Professor who becomes a born again Christian is just hillarious. I really enjoyed the humor that he brings to the story. The reflection on America is a little embarrassing, but it is still funny.
The Space is a book that I was sorry to see end, with all of Michener's other loong novels I would have easily tolerated an extra hundered pages or so in this one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Near the end of SPACE, published in 1982, the engineer-scientist Stanley Mott says that his pro-science political remarks are addressed to the world of 2002, which, as I write, begins 19 days from now. Having myself been integrally involved in the political fight here in Kansas [Fremont] against a true-life embodiment of the book's anti-science creationist, Strabismus, I was astonished when I read in SPACE the same tactics that have been used here the past few years. In 1999 the Kansas State School Board temporarily abandoned teaching legitimate science in favor of teaching the same fundamentalist doctrine described in this book. Astonishing foresight by Michener.
SPACE is spot-on accurate for its review of the history and poltics of the American space program, in which I worked from time to time. Tragically, it was always foreseeable that once the Moon was reached the program would falter. It took thirty years after the Moon flights before we finally had a space station, though it is only a shadow of what designers wanted.
I mention, because some reviewers do not know, that the fictional State of FREMONT is in-part a tribute to John C. Fremont and his wife Jesse Benton Fremont, about whom James Michener had previously written a book. Fremont's wife was from Missouri, where her father Thomas Hart Benton served as Senator. Little remembered now, a century-and-a-half ago John C. Fremont was America's most famous explorer-adventurer, political propagandist for "Manifest Destiny," and a Presidential candidate. The comparison with the "Manifest Destiny" of space is apparent. John Fremont spent much time in Kansas and his writings about Kansas's glories inspired many to move here. Michener's choice of name was apt.
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