For many, the moon landing was the defining event of the twentieth century. So it seems only fitting that Norman Mailer--the literary provocateur who altered the landscape of American nonfiction--wrote the most wide-ranging, far-seeing chronicle of the Apollo 11 mission. A classic chronicle of America's reach for greatness in the midst of the Cold ...
For many, the moon landing was the defining event of the twentieth century. So it seems only fitting that Norman Mailer--the literary provocateur who altered the landscape of American nonfiction--wrote the most wide-ranging, far-seeing chronicle of the Apollo 11 mission. A classic chronicle of America's reach for greatness in the midst of the Cold War, "Of a Fire on the Moon "compiles the reportage Mailer published between 1969 and 1970 in "Life "magazine: gripping firsthand dispatches from inside NASA's clandestine operations in Houston and Cape Kennedy; technical insights into the magnitude of their awe-inspiring feat; and prescient meditations that place the event in human context as only Mailer could. Praise for "Of a Fire on the Moon" " " "The gift of a genius . . . a twentieth-century American epic--a "Moby Dick "of space."--"New York" " " "Mailer's account of Apollo 11 stands as a stunning image of human energy and purposefulness. . . . It is an act of revelation--the only verbal deed to be worthy of the dream and the reality it celebrates."--"Saturday Review" "A wild and dazzling book."--"The New York Times Book Review" " " "Still the most challenging and stimulating account of [the] mission to appear in print."--"The Washington Post" " " Praise for Norman Mailer "[Norman Mailer] loomed over American letters longer and larger than any other writer of his generation."--"The New York Times" "A writer of the greatest and most reckless talent."--"The New Yorker" "Mailer is indispensable, an American treasure."--"The Washington Post" "A devastatingly alive and original creative mind."--"Life" "Mailer is fierce, courageous, and reckless and nearly everything he writes has sections of headlong brilliance."--"The New York Review of Books" "The largest mind and imagination [in modern] American literature . . . Unlike just about every American writer since Henry James, Mailer has managed to grow and become richer in wisdom with each new book."--"Chicago Tribune" "Mailer is a master of his craft. His language carries you through the story like a leaf on a stream."--"The Cincinnati Post"
Does anyone write crazily audacious books like this anymore? Of a Fire on the Moon is notable most of all for Norman Mailer's incisive portrait of NASA's technocratic WASP culture and the Corporation. It also contains loony, metaphysical speculations about the psychology of machines, and about whether the moon shot was God- or Devil-inspired; the author is up to his old Manichean tricks again. At the same time, there are true moments of grandeur. And in a way the author's rendering of the space venture (he was an engineering major at Harvard) in all its frightening precision and detail answers the question of why the Sixties "Revolution" failed. While science, discipline and order were marshalled on the side of the technocrats, Provincetown's denizens, where Mailer resided (and the rest of the counterculture) were blasting their brains on drugs to reinvent the wheel of consciousness. Meanwhile, NASA went to the moon and the Corporation globalized the world.
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