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The Space Race

An Audible Original
Narrated by: Kate Mulgrew
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (161 ratings)

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Summary

Winner of the Gold Science & Technology trophy at the 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards

The 1960s space race captured our imaginations and our dreams. Today’s efforts to revitalize and expand space travel is being driven not just by government agencies such as NASA, but also by visionaries such as Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), Elon Musk (SpaceX), and Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin).

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing, this major documentary-drama series brings to life the past, present, and future of man’s exploration of space. Between 1969 and 1972, twelve Americans walked on the moon. You’ll get to experience the thrill of that era and much, much more.

Narrated by Kate Mulgrew (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee for Orange Is the New Black; Obie Award winner for Iphigenia 2.0); TV: Star Trek: Voyager, film: Star Trek: Nemesis), The Space Race uses actual audio, original interviews, dramatic reconstructions, and first-hand accounts to tell the story of mankind’s first amazing steps off our world and onto the lunar surface.

With unprecedented access, The Space Race takes listeners to Virgin Galactic’s space program in the Mojave Desert, features conversations with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Sergei Krikalev, Tim Peake, and numerous key players at mission control. This Audible Original and takes you behind the scenes to see how these exciting adventures in outer space came to be. 

©2019 Audible, Ltd (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Space Race

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not bad but skip the first chapter

Most important: Skip the first chapter. The first hour has little to do with the historical space race, but seems to be an 'America to the stars! (again)' piece of propaganda talking about the future of space exploration, and how America - with a little nod to other countries - deserves to rule space. This would have been much better placed at the end as a final chapter, but no - it's at the beginning.

The rest of the audiobook is pretty good - Mulgrew is a competent reader, the dramatisations are well done, and the mix between live-action, interviews, and historical dialogue is well done and not confusing - an ever present worry.

There is some repetition in places where a particular point is being hammered home, and once you get past the initial chapter there's a heady mix of national history starting with the V1 - not much of it is sugar-coated; Von Braun's Nazims isn't glossed over, and America's Vanguard TV-3 embarrassment is cheerfully remembered.

Yeah, worth a listen, but by its nature, probably not a recurring one.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating, intelligent and insightful

Fifty years on from the moon landing, and the subject of many Hollywood movies, early space exploration is in danger of being mythologised. The Space Race takes it back to basics with an engaging, intelligent mix of eye witness accounts, original newsreels and fact based dramatisation.

6 people found this helpful

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Easy listening but a little light on content

I enjoy anything serious about the history of space. This book provides a good arc across the decades from rocket development in WWII to future missions to Mars and beyond. However, it is quite light on content in many places, perhaps because it is trying to be so comprehensive. As a result it lacked the detail to make it a really great book. Also the narrative is padded out by scenes played out by actors at various moments in history. They drag on a bit sometimes in the loquacious way that American speakers often labour a point. More substantive content would have been appreciated. If you know your space history well, then this might fill in the odd gaps, especially the more recent stuff involving potential issues with long range space travel. The narration by Kate Mulgrew is enjoyable and has the right pace. The fictional trip towards the end set in the future on an interstellar starship is possibly a little fanciful, though it does throw up some interesting notions of the reality of such travel. Overall an interesting listen though not the best I have heard on individual topics like the space shuttle. But a good introduction to the topics and a nice refresher of some of the headlines from Wernher von Braun working for the Nazis before being squirrelled away after WWII by the Americans through to the present time and collaborative space exploration between nations and between governments and commercial ventures.

4 people found this helpful

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Good but frustrating

More like a documentary than an audio book. What really frustrated me was the use of actors in place of real recordings. When it can to Neil Armstrong's famous words they used an actor instead of listening to the man himself! It was this that took the edge off for me. Still happy with my purchase.

3 people found this helpful

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Science fiction, science fact

If you’re interested in the moon landings and man in space, this is a must for you.
I listened to this book in hospital while I had issues with my eyes, so couldn’t watch tv, it was great being able to listen to a documentary. It was really well narrated, and I could visualise exactly what was being said.

2 people found this helpful

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Good overview of the space program

Overall its a decent summary of the space race, with great production quality. Includes many historical figures voices, quotes, speeches, mission comms etc, only marred by a few "just too long" silences and Kate Mulgrew`s highly individual take on the pronounciation of NASA as Nasarr, which was a little irritating at times. I do enjoy these kind of Audible productions, they are a welcome break from a single narrator in the usual type of audiobooks I listen to. I`m about 75% of the way through and would recommend it to anyone wanting a refresher or good introduction to the timelines; the absolute genius of the scientists, engineers and specialists,the sheer guts, lateral thinking, and ambition to achieve is a welcome reminder of mankinds ability to reach for the stars and succeed, even though the authors were ever so slightly aggrieved they were mostly white men.

2 people found this helpful

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enjoyable but nothing new

i enjoyed the book but towards the end its starts to lose steam as it enters sci fi

1 person found this helpful

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First chapters are a little slow

First chapters are a little slow but I really enjoyed the book, definitive story of the past, present and future of humankind’s exploration of space. Well narrated recommended

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Not what you think...

Not a good listen by any stretch. Was hoping for history, but got whimsical musings instead.

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Lots of good stuff, tho...

The story of the space race is immense and it's good to hear some stuff about the Soviet cosmonaut program. Kate Mulgrew has a way of flattening everything she delivers, so it is here. Additionally the broad and wide content is descriptive. The sum effect is a bit well flat. Against this is some over the top reenactments. I'm left a bit underwhelmed and a bit bothered that I wasn't always clear what was straight reporting and what was drama based on fact.

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  • Catherine Puma
  • 18-03-20

All Nonfiction Parts GREAT but Fiction Bad

"The Space Race" is an audio documentary-drama series production of the era during which twelve American astronauts went to the moon (1969 - 1972), released in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first human moon landing. This includes narration of some historical facts, excerpts of command recordings or interviews from the time period, as well as speculative scenes acted out to try and give this production more flavor and originality.

This is fun to listen to, does not take too long, and I definitely recommend to lifelong fans of space exploration.

As advertised in the book description, this work "features conversations with Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Sergei Krikalev, Tim Peake, and numerous key players at mission control. This Audible Original takes you behind the scenes to see how these exciting adventures in outer space came to be." The strongest parts are when this work explains the history of the Space Race and includes sections of interviews with people who were really there, especially never-before-heard audio and inputs from important, yet underrepresented, figures.

The weakest parts of this audio production are when the content deviates from the facts of what really occurred during this crucial period in man's history. The scenes within aircraft where actors portray conversations between astronauts etc., for which we have no official record of, are so fake and unbelievable. The writing and acting of these scenes are so bad. I just do not see what they bring to the table other than to just take up airtime and give Audible Originals copyright permissions for the "original content" of this documentary-drama piece.

All of the "drama" bits should have been cut, and this would have been much better served as a straight no-nonsense nonfiction discussion of history, science, and technology. As it has been released, I can only give this 4 stars. I expected better.

OVERALL:
This is a great listen for super space exploration fans, especially those excited for plans for new operations to the moon and Mars. I really liked the interviews with people who lived during the Space Race and were either astronauts themselves or worked on the ground crew team. Having real recordings from the COMS were also really powerful in explaining key moments of this important and inspiring history. However, I did not like the narrator's voice and some of the reenactments were significantly overacted and therefore silly. I thought this would have been stronger if it stuck to what had actually happened, though the final chapter about possible futures was thought provoking.

This is fun to listen to once, but it is not the best product about the Space Race.

43 people found this helpful

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  • Hoky Blaster16
  • 30-09-19

really long

This was a hard one. I loved the material, but really didn't need the dramatizations. Perhaps that should have been another book entirely. I enjoyed the interviews, however, perhaps it should have also been another book. Trust me, I feel like I just read 3 books.

29 people found this helpful

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  • David Pick
  • 23-07-19

A blend of past and future prediction space travel

Listened to all 10 chapters because of Kate Mulgrew as narrator. And to hear what they all cover. They do a thorough job of covering the space race between the U.S. and former U.S.S.R. But the story gets a little far out with the future prediction with human space travel. Overall, a worth while listen.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Susan
  • 12-06-20

Can’t hear half of the book

I Love all the history books, about Space Travel. I was so disappointed in this one, because I could not hear half, of the recording. Chapter 5, was the only Chapter (until I stopped listening) that adjusted the Historical voice recordings, with the Narrators voice volume. The Narrator and the Story is a 5 Star. The Production of the recording was horrible.
If this book get redone, so I can actually hear it, I would love to try it again.

16 people found this helpful

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  • B.A. Lopez
  • 29-12-19

Great Overview of Humanity's Second Greatest Story

Great hearing Kate Mulgrew's voice telling the story of the Space Race. Just enough detail in each chapter about each period of the past space programs to remind folks of just how dangerous this whole journey has been. The next steps will be even more so. It was also nice to hear about the Russian side of the story. Although I'm not sure why audio books insist on quoting non-Enlgish speakers with heavy accents!

I highly recommend this title for anyone needing a good reminder or new inspiration for why we NEED to continue to pursue space exploration.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nate
  • 10-02-20

Produced Re-enactments in some unnecessary spots

Some of the main historical audio was reproduced in places where it felt very unnecessary. Production quality was fantastic, I just struggled with parts that were re-done, sometimes mid-sentence. Overall a very interesting audiobook

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-20

Science without God Self Distruction

Even though this was great I am old enough to know most of the history, Excellent up to the Criticism of NASA Astronauts Reciting Psalms, Ok I thought that's interesting, Futher into this Audio Book I come to realize you did not right this book as History or the present Race, You Want to remove God from Science, You should pause the arrogance, Humans as you call us, "People" lol, Please be advised your own book is exactly why God is Omnipresent, No matter where you turn what you say or do, whatever achievement you make it is God. however you, we ,I or them get there, God is the Creator, Your arrogance and lack of Humilty speaks volumes, Even your stupid storyline of people going to colonize another world, thinking you can manipulate erase and control is very shameful, Yes we are Flawed Yes we make mistakes, But you remove God and History, You set a course for sad lonely people who self Distruct, As is playing out in your own STORY. The new science is. God wasn't necessary to Create the Universe Gravity did it on it's own. So we finally reduced it to the Chicken and the Egg, Well Where did Gravity come from, How did we acquire the specific fine tuning to be able to under stand even what gravity is, It is shameful the title. Should be a warning. Wake Up People, Past is necessary for future and We God is why we are here.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Julia Murphy
  • 07-05-20

Things I didn't know

Interesting review of the devopment of space flight from its beginnings after WW2 to speculation about the future. Learned things I didn't know, esp about the Russians' programs.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 21-12-19

A great listen

I heard Sue and Richard mention this on Space Boffins and decided to give it a listen. Glad I did. Even if you think you're familiar with all of the stories there are lots of details to keep you interested. You'll know more at the end then you knew at the beginning. It is well produced. Give it a try.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JB
  • 06-08-19

Ok

Overall, ok. Too many ad libs and theatrics from bad actors. Stick to the history next time.

18 people found this helpful