Book review: Into That Silent Sea

Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965, Francis French and Colin Burgess.
University of Nebraska Press, 2007.

Read an interview with the authors.

The writing style and narrative is enjoyable, flowing, well-paced, accessible, exciting, etc. The book is superbly researched. The events and human subjects covered in the book are quite interesting, anything but dull, some very common names were selected but the authors uncovered uncommon stories about them.

Most of all, I felt like I had walked away after reading this book seeing these spacefarers and astronauts as humans, real people, not celebrities. The authors managed to show us their humanity without losing respect for their accomplishments. In fact, in spite of their humanity, their weaknesses, their environment, etc., I have even more respect for so many of these spacefarers now that I can appreciate what they went through and had to overcome to achieve what they were able to, and in some cases not achieve their dream.

I even came away with a much deeper appreciation and understanding of people I’ve often considered enemies at worst (i.e., Russian spacefarers), and objects of scorn at best.

The stories in this book touch the human spirit in a way that is universal, beyond politics, beyond creed, beyond country. That’s because the authors were able to capture an underlying essence most humans on our planet share: the curiosity and wonder to explore and give one’s life to a cause greater than one’s own personal agenda or paradigm.

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~ by tellinghistory on January 8, 2008.

2 Responses to “Book review: Into That Silent Sea”

  1. The above is an excellent review as the book does accomplish exactly what the reviewer notes. I too found an increased appreciation of our Russian rivals through the book. Don’t miss the follow up book to this, In The Shadow of The Moon, it is equally well done and full of fascinating details and human interest stories.

  2. Great review. I think one gets a sense of the spiritual (not in the religious sense) strength it takes to face the void of space.

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