Roger D. Launius retired in 2017 as the associate director for collections and curatorial affairs at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. Between 1990 and 2002 he served as chief historian for NASA. He lives in Auburn, AL.
By giving Soviets equal time in the portrayal of the space race, Launius makes a real contribution to our understanding of the forces that motivated Americans to reach for the Moon. --Howard McCurdy, American University An important, short book that is not simply a chronology of the Moon Race but a meditation on the reasons for the success of Apollo and an exploration of its legacy. -- Asif Siddiqi, Fordham University Twelve people, all Americans, walked on the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972. In this concise but authoritative account, Roger Launius tells us how the U.S. beat the Soviet Union to the Moon, and reflects on the lasting significance of that remarkable success. --John M. Logsdon, author of John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon Roger Launius's keen analysis penetrates the stale metanarrative that for the past five decades has dominated--and, in key respects, misled--our understanding of the American and Soviet space programs. More than a great read, it is a must read for anyone interested in the fascinating but overly mythologized story of the Moon race. --James R. Hansen, author of the New York Times Bestseller First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong