Space – James Michener

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Michener, with his semi-documentary style, is the king of the epic multi-generational saga.  I love many of his books: Hawaii, Centennial, Chesapeake, The Source . . .  In this one, the complexities of the space program are seen through the lives of several men and their families.  The story begins in 1944 — with a German rocket scientist who works for the Nazis — and covers more than 30 years.  The lives of the characters are interwoven with real figures such as Wernher von Braun and Lyndon Johnson.  Michener gives us a real taste of the space race that occurred in the 1960s, as well as an in-depth view of the space program via a focus on astronaut trainees jockeying for position to fly Project Gemini and Apollo missions.  He covers everything having to do with space, including those who advocate for, and those who advocate against, funding.  He is firmly in the “for” category.  He displays extensive knowledge of rocket and spacecraft systems obtained as a member of the Advisory Council to NASA from 1979 to 1983.

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