Cred­its

Air & Space Smithsonian - - Front Page - By David Meer­man Scott and Richard Jurek. MIT Press, 2014. 144 pp., $39.95.

AS THE APOLLO lu­nar land­ings slip ever fur­ther into Amer­i­can mem­ory, the per­cep­tion of them is chang­ing. While the ear­li­est ac­counts of Apollo heaped praise on the tech­nol­ogy and peo­ple who landed on the moon, more re­cent schol­ar­ship has drawn at­ten­tion to the de­ci­sion to pur­sue such a costly un­der­tak­ing. Be­tween 1959 and 1969, a rare mo­ment of po­lit­i­cal will in the United States cre­ated a cli­mate for lu­nar ex­plo­ration the likes of which have never been seen since. How NASA cul­ti­vated this en­thu­si­asm is the sub­ject of David Scott and Richard Jurek’s Mar­ket­ing the Moon.

“Apollo is the largest, and we be­lieve the most im­por­tant, mar­ket­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions case study in his­tory,” claim the authors, and they make their case with a com­pelling mix of oral his­tory, archival doc­u­ments, and pop-cul­ture flot­sam. The cam­paign to sell the moon land­ing pro­gram was as en­gi­neered as any other as­pect of Apollo: bril­liantly, with the same mix­ture of pa­tri­o­tism, greed, and mes­sianic fer­vor. Within a decade, these ef­forts built en­thu­si­asm for space travel by sell­ing it to re­porters hun­ger­ing for a brighter fu­ture.

Over-sized and richly il­lus­trated with ephemera, tele­vi­sion screen grabs, and pe­riod pho­to­graphs, Mar­ket­ing the Moon is half cof­fee-ta­ble book, half mar­ket­ing his­tory, and all fun.

MATTHEW H. HERSCH LEC­TURES ON THE

HIS­TORY OF SCIENCE AND TECH­NOL­OGY AT THE

UNIVER­SITY OF PENN­SYL­VA­NIA.

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