Beyond: The Astonishing Story of the First Human to Leave Our Planet and Journey into Space

Hardback Published on: 01/04/2021
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9.07 a.m., April 12, 1961. A top-secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union's most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile - originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead - and blasts into the skis. His name is Yuri Gagarin and he is about to make history. Travelling at almost 18,000 miles per hour - ten times faster than a rifle bullet - Gagarin circles the globe in just 106 minutes. While his launch begins in total secrecy, within hours of his landing he has become a world celebrity - the first human to leave the planet. Beyond tells the thrilling story behind that epic flight on its sixtieth anniversary. It happened at the height of the Cold War as the US and USSR confronted each other across an Iron Curtain. Both superpowers took enormous risks to get a man into space first - the Americans in the full glare of the media, the Soviets under deep cover. Both trained their teams of astronauts to the edges of the endurable. In the end the race between them would come down to the wire. Drawing on extensive original research and the vivid testimonies of eyewitnesses, many of whom have never spoken before, Stephen Walker unpacks secrets that were hidden for decades and takes the reader into the drama - featuring the scientists, engineers and political leaders on both sides, and above all the American astronauts and their Soviet rivals battling for supremacy in the heavens.

  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ISBN: 9780008372507
  • Number of pages: 512
  • Weight: 790g
  • Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 46 mm

Customer Reviews

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Totally engaging from start to finish. A great balance of the technology, politics and personal issues of the time. Clearly well researched as it brings al... READ MORE
Graham Thorp
Captivating, exciting and detailed but never dry
The book is written in a way that compares and contrasts the Russian and American race to get the first man in space. The background of politics and differ... READ MORE
Excellently researched and written. An epic quest vividly told.
This book is excellent. The amount of detailed research that has taken place to tell the secret story of the Russian side of the space race is amazing. The... READ MORE
Paul Markwell
Beyond's an instant classic...a text you will refer to time and again in the future
Stephen Walker's Beyond goes so much further than any other book I've read about the Space Race. Whilst the focus is on Yuri Gagarin's legendary flight to... READ MORE
A riveting story of a race between two super powers to put the first person into space... more amazing because it actually happened.
A thoroughly engrossing account of not just Gagarin’s history-making first flight into space, but a pivotal time in US/Russian relations. Walker describes... READ MORE
Lloyd Hammond