Author Topic: Book review - We Could Not Fail  (Read 204 times)

Offline Peter B

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Book review - We Could Not Fail
« on: October 23, 2021, 06:37:10 PM »
I recently finished reading this book, which is by Richard Paul and Stephen Moss.

The book is about NASA's involvement in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, from the perspectives of the first black engineers at NASA and from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

The earlier book "Hidden Figures" opened my eyes to the extent to which segregation affected the way NASA did its work in the 1960s. But this book takes that further. The personal stories are frequently unpleasant and sometimes appalling. The discussion of the administrations' efforts are perhaps a little more abstract but even there some personal emotions are displayed as politicians' and public servants' agendas butted against each other.

One point I learned - though I assume it may not be news to others here - was the way Lyndon Johnson saw racism in the southern states as a consequence of poverty, and therefore nudged government space program contracts towards the south as a way of alleviating that poverty, and consequently combating racism.

The one disappointment with the book was the less than clear writing. There were a few cases across the book where long sentences were so poorly structured that the main point of the sentences was lost.

But that shouldn't discourage people from buying the book. The stories were interesting, and the engineers themselves come across as intelligent, dignified and determined.

= = = =

ETA: Last night I watched "In the Heat of the Night". Knowing now what I've learned from "Hidden Figures" and "We Could Not Fail" my viewing experience was a lot edgier.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2021, 06:40:31 PM by Peter B »