Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Grants Lieutenants or Sputnik

Grant's Lieutenants: From Cairo to Vicksburg

Author: Steven E Woodworth

"In the long run, the relationships commanders forge with subordinates are no less important than the decisions they make on a battlefield. Informed, insightful and sometimes surprising, these eleven essays extend and revise our perspective on Grant during the first three years of the Civil War. Highly recommended."—Mark Grimsley, author of The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865

Author Biography: Steven E. Woodworth is associate professor of history at Texas Christian University and author of Jefferson Davis and His Generals, Davis and Lee at War, and While God is Marching On.

Contributors: Stacy D. Allen, Benjamin Franklin Cooling, Blake Dunnavent, William B. Feis, Lesley J. Gordon, Earl J. Hess, John F. Marszalek, Tamara A. Smith, Terrence J. Winschel, Steven E. Woodworth

See also: Everything for Sale or The Lost Promise of Civil Rights

Sputnik: The Shock of the Century

Author: Paul Dickson

On October 4, 1957, America looked up at the sky and caught its breath. Soaring through space was the Soviet satellite Sputnik. With its launch, the Soviets had won the space race, demonstrated their unsurpassed technology- and struck fear in the heart of a complacent post-war America.

Although Sputnik was unmanned, its story is intensely human. Here, an investigative reporter recounts it all, from the satellite's top-secret creation to the strategic positioning of Soviet spokesmen around the world, which made this the biggest breaking-news event in history. Using declassified documents, Dickson reveals buried Soviet state secrets-and the reason Eisenhower was secretly pleased about the launch. From Cold War bomb raid drills to today's science in the classroom, from the 1960s race to the moon to the birth of the Internet, Sputnik helped shape American life forever

Publishers Weekly

Dickson (The Electronic Battlefield) chronicles in detail the Soviet satellite Sputnik. The Soviet Union was propelled into international prominence on October 4, 1957, by becoming the first nation to successfully launch a satellite, beating the American program by several months. The Soviet spacecraft panicked Americans, who constantly looked up into the sky, spoke in hushed tones and feared that the satellite presaged an atomic attack. President Eisenhower remained calm and tried to lead the country through the media-generated crisis, but the Sputnik "debacle" helped the Democrats in the next election. Dickson chronicles the history of rocket research, including Nazi successes during WWII. American and Soviet troops vied to seize German scientists and hardware. Dickson examines the feuding between the services for control of the space program and candidly exposes the reasons for the lag in American research. Eisenhower gets high marks for his quiet mastery of the situation, pleased that the Soviets were first into space, since that set off a race to improve American education, even as it fueled an outbreak of UFO hysteria. Dickson, whose bibliography runs to 19 pages, completely understands the lure and lore of Sputnik and has done a solid job of synthesizing prior books on the subject. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Library Journal

Space exploration is often portrayed as a U.S.-U.S.S.R. race, with the Soviet Union winning the initial lap by launching Sputnik, the earth's first artificial satellite. Yet as Dickson (The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary) reveals, for the United States, the race was also an internal competition, with the military (particularly Wernher von Braun's rocket team) and the Eisenhower administration grappling for control of the national space program. Eisenhower, who sought to demilitarize space and thereby open the skies to U.S. espionage satellites, eventually triumphed, establishing NASA as a civilian agency and successfully testing a clandestine satellite launch. Focusing on internal rivalries and including pre-Sputnik material, Dickson's book complements Robert A. Divine's The Sputnik Challenge (LJ 3/1/93), which considers the aftermath of Sputnik; James Killian's personal Sputnik, Scientists, and Eisenhower: A Memoir of the First Special Assistant to the President for Science and Technology (LJ 1/15/78. o.p.); and the scholarly Reconsidering Sputnik: Forty Years Since the Soviet Satellite (Harwood Academic, 2000; also issued as NASA Technical Memorandum 113448). For public and academic libraries. Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews

The devastating impact of a Soviet satellite on the American public in the '50s. When Sputnik was put into orbit on October 4, 1957, Leave It to Beaver was first airing on TV. The juxtaposition of these two images-one of Communist technological superiority, the other of American gee-whiz innocence-is journalist Dickson's structural theme here. The US, like the Soviet Union, raided Nazi Germany after 1945, removing scientific equipment and personnel for re-use in the Cold War. That the Soviet Union was the first to exploit this science comes as no surprise to Dickson, who credits Sputnik with giving the complacent US the wakeup call it needed to advance in the space race. American scientists and the US military scoffed at scientist Robert Goddard, who could have vaulted the country in front of all others in the field of rocket technology. While his work was given little support, Germans and Soviets were studying and building on his designs. After the war, as the Americans and Soviets dissected German rockets, the US still didn't take the technology seriously. The army, navy, and air force all had their own missile programs, with the army's team under former Nazi Wernher von Braun probably being the most advanced and the most overlooked. With the launching of Sputnik, everything changed. Whereas US rockets could barely reach the upper reaches of the atmosphere, the Soviet Union had placed in space an object that flew over North America several times a day. In an era when nuclear war seemed imminent, the military saw the importance of such devices for spying on the enemy. Von Braun and others were given the green light. On a larger level, the American public also got into the act: itrejected decadent cars like the Edsel and advocated advanced science curriculums in the schools. The Internet even owes its existence to Sputnik, the author claims-precursors to the Web were created by rocket researchers. An excellent treatment of one of the early chapters of the Cold War.

What People Are Saying

Susan Eisenhower
Dickson's book not only presents a thoughtful analysis of the impact Sputnik had on the dawning of the Space Age, but also serves as a valuable resource for understanding the historical context of the debates now taking place on issues such as National Missile Defense and the future of space.
— Susan Eisenhower, president of the Eisenhower Institute

Walter Cronkite
Paul Dickson's indefatigable research and reportorial lucidity have given us a fascinating history of the event that forever changed our world.

Vinton Cerf
Paul Dickson re-creates the fire, furor, frustration, and flamboyance of the early space age. Sputnik's arrival set off a tidal wave in the affairs of men.
— Vinton Cerf, coinventor of the Internet

Sergei Khrushchev
Sputnik is an insightful look at the way Sputnik changed the world, especially the United States—boosting its education and research (Sergei Khrushchev, author of Nikita Khrushchev; Creation of a Superpower and senior fellow of the Watson Institute of International Studies).

Well written and informative, the book is a magnificent assessment of Cold War history as seen through the advancement of rocketry and space exploration.
— (Francis Gary Powers Jr., founder of the Cold War Museum).

Table of Contents:
1.Sputnik Night9
2.Gravity Fighters28
3.Vengeance Rocket49
4.An Open Sky76
5.The Birth of Sputnik94
6.Red Monday108
7.Dog Days134
8.American Birds168
9.Ike Scores191
10.Sputnik's Legacy223
AppendixSputnik's Long, Lexical Orbit249
Author's Note, Acknowledgments, and Dedication255

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