Inventing the American Astronaut

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Springer, Oct 8, 2012 - Science - 219 pages
Who were the men who led America's first expeditions into space? Soldiers? Daredevils? The public sometimes imagined them that way: heroic military men and hot-shot pilots without the capacity for doubt, fear, or worry. However, early astronauts were hard-working and determined professionals - 'organization men' - who were calm, calculating, and highly attuned to the politics and celebrity of the Space Race. Many would have been at home in corporate America - and until the first rockets carried humans into space, some seemed to be headed there. Instead, they strapped themselves to missiles and blasted skyward, returning with a smile and an inspiring word for the press. From the early days of Project Mercury to the last moon landing, this lively history demystifies the American astronaut while revealing the warring personalities, raw ambition, and complex motives of the men who were the public face of the space program.
 

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INVENTING THE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT

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An astronaut-focused history of NASA's first 30 years.Hersch (Science, Technology and Society/Univ. of Pennsylvania) debuts with an analysis of the astronauts as a special subset of professional ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Chapter 1 Project Astronaut
9
Chapter 2 Dekes Boys
41
Chapter 3 Scientists in Space
74
Chapter 4 The Man in the Gray Flannel Spacesuit
103
Chapter 5 Public Space
131
Conclusion
159
Notes
166
Selected Bibliography
203
Index
213
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About the author (2012)

MATTHEW H. HERSCH is a Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society in the Department of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, where he received his PhD. During his doctoral studies, he held a HSS-NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Science and a Guggenheim Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, and most recently served as the postdoctoral teaching fellow for the Aerospace History Project of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.