Interview series with the authors of “Into that Silent Sea,” French and Burgess, Part thirteen

Today in Space History (TISH) has been granted an exclusive opportunity to interview authors Francis French and Colin Burgess based on their book “Into That Silent Sea,” which TISH highly recommends for reading. This is part thirteen.

Archives for the complete interview series | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve | Thirteen

As you worked on this book, what pleasantly surprised you the most and what has been one of the most gratifying aspects of having written this book?

FF: In exploring the lesser-known stories, we wanted to write something that we’d be interested in reading – something that told the entire story but also filled some gaps and questions we’d always had. In that way, some of the most gratifying aspects were to dig deep into new territories and discover never-published stories. It was surprising to me, when we started digging, just how many old stories had been repeated and passed from book to book in the past, unchecked, each book assuming the other had it right. Going back to the original sources, people and documentation, we often found that the true facts were somewhat different. We hope we’ve set a few stories straight, or at least turned a few prior assumptions back into questions for others to ponder.

Most gratifying post-publication has been the wonderful response from many space historians, spacefarers, space workers and readers to the book. For those people to have told us we have the details right is a wonderful endorsement. Also most gratifying is response from non-space enthusiasts, general readers who found it an engrossing read. We wouldn’t have achieved what we set out to do if the book only appealed to space buffs.

CB: For me, I think it has been the overwhelmingly positive response from everyone, and in that I certainly agree with Francis. We spent several years researching, writing, polishing and editing this book and its companion volume, “In the Shadow of the Moon,” and it is incredibly pleasing to know that it was time well spent. Without wanting to overstate things, it would be nice to think that in decades and perhaps even centuries from now, historians may look back to these books (and the Outward Odyssey series as a whole) as one of the definitive sources of information on the origins, first years, people and challenges of the Space Age. So in a way this is our little legacy to spaceflight history, and a means of acknowledging the intense pleasure and involvement each of us has enjoyed since our youth in following this incredible era of human endeavour and discovery.


~ by tellinghistory on December 22, 2007.

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