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Beyond Reviews

 Beyond by Stephen Walker

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

Stephen Walker

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: William Collins
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 1 Apr 2021
ISBN: 9780008372507

'Suddenly, every previous biography has been superseded ... A spellbinding and completely authoritative account' COLIN BURGESS 'Brings to life the space race and the extraordinary story of Yuri Gagarin ... A history that reads like a thriller' ANNE APPLEBAUM

4 stars out of 5
23 Apr 2021

"The thrilling ride to be the first man in space is vividly captured in this retelling of the career of Russia’s favourite son"

Sixty years on, the pioneering achievements of Gagarin and his generation of cosmonauts are still breathtaking, as Stephen Walker demonstrates in his scintillating account of the race between the Russians and Americans to achieve manned space flight. Drawing on views from both sides, as well as secret documents buried in Russian state archives and interviews with surviving participants in the cosmonaut programme, Walker, an accomplished documentary maker, shows how much nearly went wrong and how much of a gamble it all was.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
17 Apr 2021

"it is impossible to read Beyond and avoid feeling that, ultimately, [the Soviets] deserved to win"

Walker is primarily a film-maker, and Beyondstarted life as notes for an eventually abandoned 2012 documentary. In addition to its reliably cinematic qualities — the inbuilt inflection points of climax and disaster, and the spectacle of space with its vistas of ecstasy and terror — Walker develops a colourful sense of the political theatre of space exploration, detecting in and around Gagarin’s story the elements of a well-balanced drama. 

 

4 stars out of 5
James McConnachie
14 Mar 2021

"A remarkable account of the first person to leave the planet"

It took eight years and $20 billion, but it worked. The Americans lost all the heats in the space race, but triumphed in the final. Apollo 11 turned Gagarin into little more than the answer to a quiz question: who was the first man in space? This book ends that. It is high-definition history: tight, thrilling and beautifully researched.