Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo (Hardcover)

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The moon landing was an important moment in history, but many forget what was happening behind the scenes -- discover the groundbreaking political history of the Apollo program in this riveting exploration of America's space missions.

Since July 1969, Neil Armstrong's first step on the Moon has represented the pinnacle of American space exploration and a grand scientific achievement. Yet, as Smithsonian curator Teasel Muir-Harmony argues in Operation Moonglow, its primary purpose wasn't advancing science. Rather, it was part of a political strategy to build a global coalition. Starting with President John F. Kennedy's 1961 decision to send astronauts to the Moon to promote American "freedom" over Soviet "tyranny," Project Apollo was central to American foreign relations. From that perspective, the critical event did not just take place on the lunar surface, it took place in homes, public squares, palaces, and schools around the world, as Apollo captured global attention like never before. After the Moon landing, the Apollo astronauts and President Richard Nixon traveled the world to amplify the sense of participation and global unity shared by billions of people who followed the flight.

Drawing on a rich array of untapped archives and firsthand interviews with Apollo astronauts, Operation Moonglow paints a riveting picture of the intersection of spaceflight, geopolitics, propaganda, and diplomacy during the Cold War.

About the Author

Teasel Muir-Harmony is the curator of the Project Apollo collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and teaches at Georgetown University. She is the author of Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects and a contributor to the television series Apollo's Moon Shot. She lives in Washington, DC.

Praise For…

"The epic tale of Apollo has been
told with precision and passion by numerous historians of politics and
technology, including myself. But only now, fifty years after the first
Moon landing, we have at last the big story others ignored: Apollo's global
triumph in public relations. Moreover, Muir-Harmony's thorough research,
elegant style, and evocative anecdotes decorate every page. Operation
is a joyful trip down memory lane for aging baby-boomers and a
welcome inspiration for younger Americans."—Walter A. McDougall, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning Heavens and the Earth

"The Apollo
program is a performance of power in this fascinating history of the way
American presidents used the race to the moon to strengthen U.S.
diplomacy. Operation Moonglow is a deeply researched and beautifully
written fusion of space, politics, and international relations. It will appeal
to a broad audience."—Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time

Muir-Harmony brings the early years of the space race vividly back to life in
this wonderful book. Operation Moonglow focuses on a little-known part
of this story: how NASA astronauts came to play a significant role in U.S.
diplomacy, and the impact they had on America's international standing.
Muir-Harmony's richly-detailed narrative reminds us how turbulent this era was-with the Cold War at its height, the fall of colonial powers abroad, racial
unrest, and assassinations at home-and the many delightful anecdotes she
includes humanize the main actors."—Kathryn D. Sullivan, former NASA astronaut

"Operation Moonglow: I love the
title, because to me, the moon does glow. The book is a thorough examination of
the Apollo Program, and provides a fascinating tour of our political evolution
from nationalism to global diplomacy. As a work of history, it is first
rate. Teasel Muir-Harmony's focus on space diplomacy lends a unique perspective
on the space age. Full of fascinating interviews, sprinkled with little-known
tidbits, the narrative glows."—Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut
Product Details
ISBN: 9781541699878
ISBN-10: 1541699874
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: November 24th, 2020
Pages: 384