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Publisher's Summary

In a critical Cold War moment, Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency suddenly changed when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world's first satellite. What Ike called "A small ball" became a source of Russian pride and propaganda, and it wounded him politically, as critics charged that he responded sluggishly to the challenge of space exploration. Yet Eisenhower refused to panic after Sputnik - and he did more than just stay calm. He helped to guide the US into the Space Age, even though Americans have given greater credit to John F. Kennedy for that achievement.

In Eisenhower's Sputnik Moment, Yanek Mieczkowski examines the early history of America's space program, reassessing Eisenhower's leadership. He details how Eisenhower approved breakthrough satellites, supported a new civilian space agency, signed a landmark science education law, and fostered improved relations with scientists. Yet Sputnik also altered the world’s power dynamics, sweeping Eisenhower in directions that were new, even alien, to him, and he misjudged the importance of space in the Cold War’s "prestige race". 

Offering a fast-paced account of this Cold War episode, Mieczkowski demonstrates that Eisenhower built an impressive record in space and on earth.

©2013 Cornell University Press (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"All readers will be rewarded with Mieczkowski's superbly written narrative, enlivened with rich anecdotes and lively biographical sketches." (The Journal of American History

"This work is another important building block in helping historians understand the thirty-fourth President as a rather more nuanced leader." (Journal of American Studies

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