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Not that this book isn't worth a read, but it is one of the many these days that really could have been just a long essay if there were any good general interest magazine anymore. The crux of the story is certainly worth knowing: a Soviet Union that was falling ever further behind the United States in every area latched on to the notion of using their Nazi rocket technology to launch a satellite. President Eisenhower understood our lead and the limited technical nature of the achievement but failed to comprehend the psychological/propaganda aspects of the feat, which Democrats eagerly exploited.

This understanding renders a couple lessons, implicit in the book but not its subject. The fear that was whipped-up led to numerous idiotic choices as regarded the Cold War, that followed from the delusion that we were losing when we weren't even in a real contest. Likewise, the myth grew up that a massive federal effort in the Sciences allowed us to "catch up" when really it was just a boondoggle.

Read in conjunction with Red Star in Orbit, Blind Man's Bluff, Fifty Years Wound, and Michael Beschloss's Mayday you can get a clear picture of just how lop-sided the Cold War was and what a tragedy it was that we didn't utilize that fact but instead allowed demagogues -- of Left and Right -- to pretend we were losing.


Grade: (B+)


See also:

Matthew Brzezinski Links:

    -Matthew Brzezinski (Council on Foreign Relations)
    -AUTHOR PAGE: Matthew Brzezinski (Random House)
    -EXCERPT: First Chapter of Red Moon Rising
    -ESSAY: Sputnik's warning: Moscow got to space first to display military might in the face of U.S. provocation. Fifty years later, it's a point well taken. (Matthew Brzezinski, September 30, 2007, LA Times)
    -ESSAY: Red Alert: It was billed as America's front-line defense against terrorism. But badly underfunded, crippled by special interests, and ignored by the White House, the Department of Homeland Security has been relegated to bureaucratic obscurity. (Matthew Brzezinski, September/October 2004, Mother Jones)
    -EXCERPT: First Chapter of Fortress America by Matthew Brzezinski
    -ESSAY: Hillbangers (Matthew Brzezinski, August 15, 2004, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: How to Make a Missile Miss (Matthew Brzezinski, February 8, 2004, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Re-engineering the Drug Business (Matthew Brzezinski, June 23, 2002, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Hady Hassan Omar's Detention (Matthew Brzezinski, October 27, 2002, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Fortress America (Matthew Brzezinski, February 23, 2003, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: The Unmanned Army (Matthew Brzezinski, April 20, 2003, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: The Silver Lining in Chernobyl's Cloud (Matthew Brzezinski, September 3, 2000, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Bankrupt at 23 (Matthew Brzezinski, June 8, 2003, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Who's Afraid of Norway? (Matthew Brzezinski, August 24, 2003, NY Times Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Whatever It Takes (Matthew Brzezinski, December 16, 2001, NY Times Magazine)
-INTERVIEW: 50th Anniversary of the Sputnik Launch Roundtable Discussion: Authors: Matthew Brzezinski; Paul Dickson; Gene Eisman (Book-TV)
    -INTERVIEW: with Matthew Brzezinski (Campaign for the American Reader, September 12, 2007)
    -REVIEW: of No Place to Hide By Robert O'Harrow Jr. (Matthew Brzezinski, Mother Jones)
-AUDIO INTERVIEW: Journalist Matthew Brzezinski, 'Fortress America' (Fresh Air, 9/01/04, NPR)
    -INTERVIEW: Port Security with Matthew Brzezinski (Mother Jones Radio)
    -INTERVIEW: Fortress America: An Interview with Matthew Brzezinski ((Interviewed By Janelle Nanos, August 26, 2004, Mother Jones)
    -ARCHIVES: Brzezinski, Matthew (NY Times)
    -ARCHIVES: Brzezinski (NY Times Magazine)
    -ARCHIVES: "matthew brzezinski" (NPR)
    -ARCHIVES: "matthew brzezinski (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries That Ignited the Space Age By Matthew Brzezinski (MARK ATWOOD LAWRENCE, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (Bryan Burrough, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (PD Smith, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (Asif Siddiqi, Moscow Times)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (Jeff Foust, The Space Review)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (Andrew Holgate, Times of London)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (William E. Burrows, Nature)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (G. Wayne Miller, Providence Journal)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (Christpher Hudson, Daily Mail)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (David Greenwald, Entertainment Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Red Moon Rising (Scott LaFee, San Diego Union Tribune)
    -REVIEW: of
-REVIEW: of CASINO MOSCOW: A Tale of Greed and Adventure on Capitalism's Wildest Frontier By Matthew Brzezinski (Patricia Kranz, Business Week)
    -REVIEW: of Casino Moscow (Markos T. Kounalakis, Washington Monthly)
    -REVIEW: of Casino Moscow (Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs)
    -REVIEW: of Fortress America by Matthew Brzezinski (Hugh Eakin, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Fortress America (Stephen J. Lyons, Reason)
    -REVIEW: of Fortress America (Jonathan Raban, NY Review of Books) GENERAL:
    -Sputnik Declassified (Nova, PBS)
    -Sputnik (satellites) (Britannica Online Encyclopedia)
    -ESSAY: Sputnik Stunned the World, and Its Rocket Scared the Pentagon (Robert Lemos,10.03.07, Wired) -ESSAY: Space dream in a black hole: Gazing upon the curve of the Earth has become a fanciful notion since humanity's giant leap (Dennis Overbye., 9/27/07, Sydney Morning Herald)
    -ESSAY: 5 Reasons Sputnik Still Matters on Its 50th Birthday: We've looked at every space launch since, and scouted the key missions ahead. But the satellite that started it all is worth a glance back: One groundbreaking Russian robot has made everyday life on earth smarter and faster—and it ain't finished yet. (Popular Mechanics)
    -REVIEW: of Sputnik Mania: Directed by David Hoffman: THE RUSSIANS WERE COMING: Comprehensive and well-researched, Sputnik Mania informs but doesn't entertain. Is that necessarily a bad thing? (Raphaela Weissman, NY Press)

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