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.