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Author Topic:   The Man Who Ran The Moon
SRB
Member

Posts: 258
From:
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 06-07-2006 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just finished reading Piers Bizony's new book, "The Man Who Ran The Moon, James E. Webb, NASA, and the Secret History of Project Apollo." I recommend the book to anyone who has an interest in the broader political issues that shaped the funding and direction of NASA in the early 1960's. However, notwithstanding Bizony's subtitle about the "Secret History of Project Apollo", most of what appears here is based on previously published information. Nevertheless, he has pulled this widely scattered information together to create a highly readable book.

Bizony pulls no punches in telling this story. For example, in discussing Wernher von Braun, he quickly says "When the Nazis came to power he pursuaded Hitler that rockets would make effective weapons." and later refers to his "Nazi war record." He is equally direct about Webb and everyone else mentioned in the book. What I found most fasinating was the stoies Bizony tells about Webb's relationship with President Kennedy and how Webb helped put together the political and financial support (No bucks, no Buck Rogers) for Gemini and Apollo. The transcripts of Webb's meetings with President Kennedy clearly show that although Kennedy had no real interest in space, Kennedy was very clear that putting a man on the moon had the highest priority of almost anything in his administration.

Webb is not better known because he had (and wanted) very little to do with the astronauts and engineers who actually did the work of getting to the moon. Webb dealt with Congress, the President, NASA's management structure and the contractors for the support and funding that allowed everything else to happen. If these issues appeal to you, by all means read this short 206 page book for a fuller story about this side of Project Apollo than (at least to my knowledge) has been told before.

Steve

FFrench
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Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-07-2006 04:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Thanks for the review. I haven't read that book yet (I plan to) but I do own and really enjoyed :

"Powering Apollo: James E. Webb of NASA" by W. Henry Lambright (1995)

SRB
Member

Posts: 258
From:
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 06-07-2006 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the foward to Bizony's book he makes reference to the earlier one by W. Henry Lambright. He calls it "a fine scholarly book" and says "I would be lying if I said I hadn't drawn valuable insights from it." Maybe I'll track down Lambright's book and read that too.

Steve

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3093
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-07-2006 07:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

It's a very informative read, highly recommended - covers the issues you seemed to have enjoyed a lot in Bizony's book.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 06-08-2006 03:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
and since it has been published by Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, (within The NASA History Series), there's no way I could have placed it online for NASA's History website.

Chris.

Dwayne Day
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Posts: 532
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Registered: Feb 2004

posted 06-11-2006 05:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was disappointed with the Lambright book. He did not deal with some of the more difficult and interesting questions of Webb's tenure, such as his involvement in the Apollo 1 and Apollo 8 events, and whether he started to lose control of NASA by that time. There was less use of primary source material than I would have liked.

SRB
Member

Posts: 258
From:
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 06-11-2006 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't disagree with any of your comments about the book. My sense is that Webb had little or no involvement with any of the operational aspects of Apollo, including any part of Apollo I before the fire or deciding how to handle the Apollo 8 mission. Other topics I would have liked to read more about include Webb's reationship with Lyndon Johnson. Bizony quotes Webb as saying he had a closer relationship with Johnson than with Kennedy, but then says very little more about that relationship until Webb decided to resign.

Steve

[This message has been edited by SRB (edited June 11, 2006).]

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-12-2006 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Wednesday, June 14, 2006, 9:30-11AM PDT, Piers Bizony with discuss his book, "The Man Who Ran The Moon: James E. Webb, NASA, and the Secret History of Project Apollo" on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston.

Listeners can talk to the guests and the host by calling toll free 1 (866) 687-7223; by sending e-mail during the program using dmlivings@yahoo.com, drspace@thespaceshow.com, thespaceshow@gmail.com or chatting on AOL/ICQ/CompuServe Chat using the screen name "spaceshowchat".

For more details on how to listen or participate, see www.thespaceshow.com

All times are CT (US)

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