Book Review: ‘To A Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers’ by Chris Gainor

To A Distant Day University of Nebraska Press image posted on AmericaSpace
Image Credit: University of Nebraska Press

To A Distant Day: The Rocket Pioneers was first published in 2008 by the University of Nebraska Press as part of its Outward Odyssey: A People’s History of Spaceflight series, but is now available in paperback.

The book’s foreword is by Al Worden, Apollo 15’s command module pilot, who related his humble beginnings as a Michigan farm boy to his eventual destiny as one of the nation’s (and the world’s) only lunar orbiters.

Worden paid homage to the rocket pioneers who made it possible for him to make his journey: “Riding that Saturn V, I was particularly appreciative of all those pioneers who developed rockets over the centuries.”

This book begins with the nascent theories of Russian spaceflight theorist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and spans the lives and careers of other rocket pioneers, encompassing Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, and, of course, the father of modern rocketry, Wernher von Braun. The book also covers the “Space Race” that ignited both sides of the ocean, which led to the world’s superpowers’ competitiveness—thus hastening the development of the large rockets needed to send humans to space and, eventually, the Moon.

To A Distant Day is recommended reading for those who are interested in learning about the development and personalities behind the pioneering work in rocketry. The hardcover copy is available for $29.95 and the paperback copy is available for $22.95 from the University of Nebraska Press’ website.

This review is based solely on the opinions of the author.

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