Red Moon Rising
Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age
By Matthew Brzezinski
(Times Books, Hardcover, 9780805081473, 336pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2007
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For the fiftieth anniversary of Sputnik, the behind-the-scenes story of the fierce battles on earth that launched the superpowers into space The spy planes were driving Nikita Khrushchev mad. Whenever America wanted to peer inside the Soviet Union, it launched a U-2, which flew too high to be shot down. But Sergei Korolev, Russia's chief rocket designer, had a riposte: an artificial satellite that would orbit the earth and cross American skies at will. On October 4, 1957, the launch of Korolev's satellite, Sputnik, stunned the world.
In Red Moon Rising, Matthew Brzezinski takes us inside the Kremlin, the White House, secret military facilities, and the halls of Congress to bring to life the Russians and Americans who feared and distrusted their compatriots as much as their superpower rivals. Drawing on original interviews and new documentary sources from both sides of the Cold War divide, he shows how Khrushchev and Dwight Eisenhower were buffeted by crises of their own creation, leaving the door open to ambitious politicians and scientists to squabble over the heavens and the earth. It is a story rich in the paranoia of the time, with combatants that included two future presidents, survivors of the gulag, corporate chieftains, rehabilitated Nazis, and a general who won the day by refusing to follow orders.
Sputnik set in motion events that led not only to the moon landing but also to cell phones, federally guaranteed student loans, and the wireless Internet. Red Moon Rising recounts the true story of the birth of the space age in dramatic detail, bringing it to life as never before.
Matthew Brzezinski is a former Moscow correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and has reported extensively on homeland-security issues for The New York Times Magazine and other publications. He is the author of Casino Moscow: A Tale of Greed and Adventure on Capitalism's Wildest Frontier and Fortress America: On the Front Lines of Homeland Security. He lives in Washington, D.C.
"In our fear of terrorist attacks, we forget there was an even more panicky time--when Russia's Sputnik first sped across the night sky in October 1957, signaling that the Soviet Union could launch nuclear-tipped missiles at the United States. By plumbing Russian as well as American sources, Matthew Brzezinski has given us a vivid, insightful account of that paranoid age."--Evan Thomas, author of Sea of Thunder and coauthor of The Wise Men "Matthew Brzezinski's Red Moon Rising fills a significant hole in our understanding of the Cold War. Using the Sputnik launch as his centerpiece, Brzezinski brilliantly flashes back and forth between Washington, D.C., and Moscow. A truly gripping, important book."--Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge and The Boys of Pointe du Hoc
"Matthew Brzezinski's reportorial skills and smooth writing propel the narrative forward at the perfect pitch. Red Moon Rising is a combustibly entertaining mixture of scientific daring, politics, Cold War duels, and big-time personalities."--Neal Bascomb, author of Red Mutiny
"Matthew Brzezinski has crafted a dazzling account of the people and events that led to the world's first earth satellite. It is one of the most important stories of the twentieth century, and Brzezinski tells it supremely well. His account not only tells us how the Russians did it, but how the Americans, bewildered at first, finally got going with their own space program. It is historical storytelling at its finest, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. In a word: Prodigious!"--Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys (October Sky)