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  • Published: 1 April 2008
  • ISBN: 9781844138319
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

Dark Side of the Moon

The Magnificent Madness of the American Lunar Quest

Gripping, packed with anecdotes, brilliantly researched and beautifully written, the story of how a nation went mad in its quest to put a man on the moon.

For a very brief moment during the 1960s, America was moonstruck. Every boy dreamed of being an astronaut; every girl dreamed of marrying one. But despite the best efforts of a generation of scientists, the almost foolhardy heroics of the astronauts, and 35 billion dollars, the moon turned out to be a place of 'magnificent desolation', to use Buzz Aldrin's words.

In Dark Side of the Moon, Gerard DeGroot reveals how NASA cashed in on the Americans' thirst for heroes in an age of discontent and became obsessed with putting a man on the moon, in the process limiting what could be acheived in space. Drawing on meticulous archival research, DeGroot cuts through the propaganda peddled by the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations - not to mention the NASA spin doctors - and exposes the truth behind one of the most revered myths of American history.

  • Published: 1 April 2008
  • ISBN: 9781844138319
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Gerard DeGroot

Born in California, Gerard DeGroot is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews. He has written ten books on various aspects of twentieth-century history, including The Bomb: A Life, a history of nuclear weapons which won the 2004 RUSI Westminster Medal for Military Literature. His next book, Dark Side of the Moon, about the American lunar quest, was published in February 2007. DeGroot contributes to most national newspapers both in Britain and in the USA, and he has been a regular columnist for Scotland on Sunday.

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Praise for Dark Side of the Moon

Annoyingly thorough and readable

Giles Whittell, The Times

DeGroot gets off to a terrific start: his prose is punchy, his contentions startling, his indignation palpable

John Preston, Sunday Telegraph

It can't be denied that beyond the dingy politicking, lunatic number-crunching and slide-rule stuff, there was something grand about the US space programme. DeGroot's achievement is to have preserved that, even as he exposes the dark side

Brian Morton, Sunday Herald

An elegant contribution to the history of the space age. For space nuts who think Apollo is all about heroism, it should be compulsory reading

Andrew Smith, Sunday Times

DeGroot goes far beyond his precise academic remit in bringing us this caustic, absorbing and suttee exploration of how and why the dream died

Euan Ferguson, Observer

DeGroot has a good ear for anecdotes and his narrative is highly amusing.

John Michell, Spectator

An enjoyably written argument

Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph

A gripping account

Adam Forrest, The Herald

DeGroot tells the story of the American lunar mission with verve and elegance

Richard Aldous, Irish Times

Fascinating, gossipy and occasionally hilarious

Jeffrey Taylor, Express

A canny academic's take on the real reason behind America's obsession with beating the Soviets to the Moon, and the absurdity of what they found


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