Cover of: The heavens and the earth by Walter A. McDougall

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August 4, 2020 | History

The heavens and the earth

a political history of the space age

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Publish Date
Basic Books

Previews available in: English

The book chronicles the politics of the Space Race, comparing the different approaches of the US and the USSR. ...the Heavens and the Earth was a finalist for the 1985 American Book Award and won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for History.

The work highlights the role of Soviet space achievements in spurring the US into mounting its own space efforts to prove the superiority of the American political and economic system, while at the same time adopting the technocratic methods of the Soviet Union in order to do so. McDougall defines technocracy as the state funding and managing technological change for its own purposes. He finds that President Eisenhower took a skeptical point of view on the idea of adopting technocracy in the United States, as he opposed committing the nation to a lunar landing and stated that the progress of state managed technology had contributed to a dangerous military industrial complex in his farewell address. Yet Eisenhower fought against the tide, because by the time he left office the federal research and development budget had increased by 131 percent over the last five years. Gradually the idea of state managed technological progress went from being considered a violation of local freedoms to an accepted part of the federal government’s responsibility. McDougall makes clear that he did not view this in positive terms, as this perceived responsibility trampled the traditional American value of limited government. [Wikipedia]

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Edition Availability
Cover of: The Heavens And the Earth
The Heavens And the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
January 2001, ACLS History E-Book Project
Hardcover in English
Cover of: The Heavens and the Earth
The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
1997, Johns Hopkins University Press
in English - Johns Hopkins paperbacks ed.
Cover of: The Heavens and the Earth
The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
September 1986, Basic Books
in English
Cover of: The heavens and the earth
Cover of: The heavens and the earth

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Book Details

Published in

New York

Edition Notes

Bibliography: p. [466]-536.
Includes index.


Dewey Decimal Class
Library of Congress
TL789.8.U5 M34 1985

The Physical Object

xviii, 555 p. :
Number of pages

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive
LC Control Number
Library Thing


without ceasing to be man, for he is Homo faber, the toolmaker, the technologist.And man explores through idiosyncratic choice, because he is also Homo pictor, the symbolist, the dreamer.
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August 4, 2020 Edited by ImportBot import existing book
December 13, 2019 Edited by MARC Bot import existing book
September 28, 2016 Edited by contulmmiv Added edition description, link
September 28, 2016 Edited by contulmmiv Corrected title case
December 10, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page