Category Archives: Politics

America the Great?


As we enter into the Thanksgiving season it is appropriate to give thanks for those good things around us: our loved ones, the joys in our lives, the work and play we enjoy, and the happiness in our souls. But it … Continue reading

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What Do You Do for an Encore after You’ve Been to the Moon?


As early as January 1964 NASA administrator, James E. Webb, had been asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson for a well-developed proposal of future space objectives after the Apollo Moon landings. Webb did not want to respond; instead he tried … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Dreams of Other Worlds”


Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration. By Chris Impey and Holly Henry (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2013). Pp. 450. $35. ISBN: 978-0-691-14753-6. Should scientists write history? Most of the time, I don’t think so. This … Continue reading

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Protesting Cassini’s Launch


The Cassini space probe—the largest interplanetary probe ever launched, weighing 6.3 tons, and extending 22 feet in length—was a joint NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Italian Space Agency (ASI) mission to study Saturn and its rings, moons, and magnetic … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Lure of the Edge”


The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, and the Pursuit of UFOs. By Brenda Denzler. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. What is the history of the UFO phenomenon in the United States? That is the subject of … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Moravian Community in Colonial North Carolina”


The Moravian Community in Colonial North Carolina: Pluralism on the Southern Frontier. By Daniel B. Thorp. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989. I’m not at all certain that historians should use the term “pluralism” when characterizing the Moravians of colonial … Continue reading

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Toward a Global History of Spaceflight


My colleague, Asif Siddiqi of Fordham University, has been working on ideas of human spaceflight in the context of global history. While his thoughts are still formative, he has developed some for a this article: “Competing Technologies, National(ist) Narratives, and Universal Claims: … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Selling War in a Media Age”


Selling War in a Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century. Edited by Kenneth Osgood and Andrew K. Frank. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010. Collected works are always problematic. There is always the challenge of … Continue reading

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Sputnik and Free Overflight in Space


It came like a shock to the system on October 4, 1957. The Soviet Union launched a beach ball-sized orbital satellite to usher in the “Space Age.” The act in itself proved neither particularly shocking nor threatening but what it … Continue reading

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Parallels Between the Sputnik and 9/11 Crises


Is there a relationship between the so-called “Sputnik moment” in October 1957 and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks? Yes, at several levels there are intriguing parallels between the Sputnik crisis of 1957-1958 that Eisenhower faced and the aftermath of the … Continue reading

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