American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race (Christian Lecture 2019)

Time Period
1925 to Today
Media Type
Politics & Government
Science & Technology
Douglas Brinkley

On April 17, 2019, Douglas Brinkley delivered the 2019 Stuart G. Christian, Jr. Lecture, "American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.”

On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War. Drawing on new primary source material and major interviews with many of the surviving figures who were key to America’s success, Brinkley brings this fascinating history to life as never before. A vivid and enthralling chronicle of one of the most thrilling, hopeful, and turbulent eras in the nation’s history, American Moonshot is an homage to scientific ingenuity, human curiosity, and the boundless American spirit.

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, the CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. His book Cronkite won the Sperber Prize for Best Book in Journalism and was a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year. The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is the author of numerous books, including The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America; Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America; and American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

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