Mercury Rising: John Glenn, John Kennedy, and the New Battleground of the Cold War

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Product Details

$28.95  $26.92
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.5 inches | 1.6 pounds

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About the Author

Jeff Shesol is the author of Supreme Power and Mutual Contempt, both selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He is a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and is a founding partner of West Wing Writers.


If there's such a thing as a white-knuckle read, this is it. But Mercury Rising is a twofer. Jeff Shesol interweaves heart-racing renderings of the dread and adrenaline of the earliest space flights with keen analysis of the geopolitical rivalry that drove the arc and pace of the space race. John Glenn emerges as both homespun hero and Cold War cat's-paw, as well as a flesh-and-blood human being--and one hell of a pilot.--David M. Kennedy, professor of history emeritus, Stanford University, winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History
This is a story for the ages--the best account, ever, of the flight of Friendship 7. Shesol presents the Mercury Seven and their storied competition in a fresh and even provoking new light. Brilliantly researched and written, Mercury Rising is the book to read on the Cold War collaboration between John Kennedy and John Glenn.--Kris Stoever, author, with her father, Scott Carpenter, of For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of an Astronaut
Entertaining and deeply researched...readers will savor the hair-raising ride.-- "Publishers Weekly"
What a fresh and refreshing look at a familiar subject, now seen through an important geo-political lens rather than a scientific, technological, and nationalistic one. The new context is exciting, the usual characters made more vivid and dimensional. Bravo.--Ken Burns
I loved this book. From the opening lines, I was riveted--I couldn't put it down. Even though we know the ending, Jeff Shesol somehow creates a cliffhanger--immersive history that lifts us out of the moment we're in and transports us to a time of genuine heroes. As this book reveals, John Glenn--stoic and selfless, but also restless and ambitious--embodies what we hold most dear about being American.--Matt Damon
I had the privilege of knowing John Glenn well--I helped select him and train him as an astronaut--and Jeff Shesol has rendered the most compelling portrait I've seen of Glenn since the real thing. This gripping book captures the fast pace and high stakes of the space program and shows how Glenn helped win the struggle to surpass the Russians.--Robert Voas, astronaut training officer, Project Mercury
This book amazed me. It brought back such memories that I felt like I was reliving the events.--Jerry Roberts, guidance and control systems engineer, Projects Mercury and Gemini
A welcome retelling of a significant piece of the Cold War saga and the opening of the space frontier [and] a good choice for readers interested in the Cold War, the space race, and the 1960s American political landscape.-- "Kirkus"