Journalist Michael D'Antonio presents an in-depth look at the beginning of the Space Age in A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey: 1957 The Space Race Begins. He follows the efforts of German rocket expert Wernher von Braun in the U.S. and of those of the famous, yet anonymous, Soviet Chief Designer (D'Antonio finally names Sergei Korolev in the epilogue, which includes profiles of other major players). The book is packed with specs on various rockets, statistics on the burgeoning space industry, as well as an overview of 1957-1958 America, including integration standoffs in Little Rock and the role the Space Race began to play in politics. D'Antonio writes: the leaders of the USSR should also have given themselves credit for managing the public relations aspects of the race into space. Throughout the cold war, imagery would be nearly as important as events, and in this case the Soviets handled things almost flawlessly. . . . No Madison Avenue consultant could have designed a more effective campaign.

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