Saturday, 18 October 2014

The First Man In Space

Starman tells story Yuri Gagarin the first man in space and by doing so tells us the story of the start of the space race. It is easy to forget that the USSR was miles ahead of the US in the early years of the space race and had an impressive list of firsts. Which included first object put in space and the first man and woman in space. 

The author has crafted a well-balanced book that delivers both  an entertaining and informative read. I entered this book with only cursory knowledge of Yuri and was fascinated to see how the son of a potato farmer became the first man in space. Even more fascinating was his life afterwards and how he was used as a political tool in the emerging Cold War. I am drawn to books on the Soviet Union like a moth to light and this one did not let me down. I always love having a peek behind the Iron Curtain.

As mentioned before to tell the story of Yuri is to tell the story of the start of the space race. The author goes to great length to give the reader an understanding of how much Yuri's flight and other achievements of the USSR impacted on the psyche of the West. It is easy to forget through the fog of time that the space race was a direct reflection of the might and threat posed by the Superpowers, and in the beginning the Soviets reigned supreme.

4 Stars

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