Well, July 4th finds us on another Book Club post day. I think today would be a great day to share about the book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley.
I had a Young Reader’s Edition but it was still pretty detailed and in depth. There is an adult version of the story but I haven’t read it yet. This one did a good job of challenging me and helping me understand history.
This is the story of the intersecting of President Kennedy’s life and the shot for the moon that he challenged the US to. Only it starts way back in WWI and at the start of President Kennedy’s life. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to people who were influential in either the moonshot or to President Kennedy. And there were a bunch.
As you read through the story, you find the connection between world politics and US life intertwining. We see how the surrender of Germany at the end of WWI and then their defeat at the end of WWII both played powerful roles in America being able to put a man on the moon. The scientists worked hard, no matter which country they were in, to do what they had in their sights, even trying to convince people of the worth of their rockets for both military and non-military uses. Because they knew what could happen but had to convince others of it, too.
I had no idea just how interrelated the space program was with the Cold War. Once again, I can see where my lack of teaching had left me without knowing much about the Cold War and where America truly was as they left the 50s and moved into the 60s. The scientists were so important in all that was going on in politics.
American Moonshot was a really interesting book to read. As the 50th anniversary approaches of the moon landing, this would be a really good book to have a middle school or high schooler read. Really, it would make a good read aloud also. I found it fascinating and am glad I picked it up when I stumbled across it while waiting on the girls in the library one day. It is a very good read.
Lori, At Home.