Author Archives: Roger Launius

Wednesday’s Book Review: “Dog Whistle Politics”


Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class. By Ian Haney López. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. There is no doubt, and it is confirmed in this book, that racism is the … Continue reading

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Edward P. Warner and the Transformation of Aeronautics in America


I have been researching the history of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and compiling biographical information on several of the early leaders of the organization. Edward Pearson Warner (1894-1958) is one of those key people. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, … Continue reading

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Apollo 11 and the World’s Reaction


When the Apollo 11 spacecraft lifted off on July 16, 1969, for the Moon, it signaled a climactic instance in human history. Reaching the Moon on July 20, it’s Lunar Module—with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin aboard—landed on … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Science of Shakespeare”


The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe. By Dan Falk. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’ Press, 2014. I had never before considered the scientific worldview of William Shakespeare. Like almost every other American I had … Continue reading

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The Cold War Origins of Space Access


It is almost a truism that the primary U.S. space launch capabilities were created only because of the challenge of an exceptionally desperate Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union. Accordingly, the development and deployment of ballistic missiles, space-based intelligence-gathering … Continue reading

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The Legacy of Apollo: 45 Years On


July 2014 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the epochal lunar landing of Apollo 11 in the summer of 1969. Although President John F. Kennedy had made a public commitment on May 25, 1961, to land an American on the Moon … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Plane Queer”


Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants. By Phil Tiemeyer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. vii + 288 pp., illus., acknowledgments, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 978-0-520-27477-8. $24.95 (paperback). Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS … Continue reading

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The Apollo Program and the Idea of Progress


It is somewhat trite to suggest that America was founded on the idea of progress and that it remains both an amorphous concept and one central to American national identity. In the 1830s an astute French interpreter of United States … Continue reading

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Announcement: The Search for Life in the Universe


For those in Washington, D.C., on July 14, 2014, check out this opportunity to learn about the possibilities of life beyond Earth. It is available live at the NASA Headquarters and on-line from NASA TV.

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Pete Rose: An American Dilemma”


Pete Rose: An American Dilemma. By Kostya Kennedy. New York: Sports Illustrated Books, 2014. Pete Rose is an icon, despite all that has happened to him over the years. A player more dedicated than talented he still reigns as the … Continue reading

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