A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey


Paperback Version

A Ball, a Dog, and a Monkey :1957 – The Space Race Begins

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Published: September 18, 2007

Full of exploding rockets, political wrangling, interservice rivalries, space cowboys, American spies, UFO sightings, Florida boomtowns and space-themed beauty pageants, the years 1957 and 1958 were a time when the U.S. raced to match the Soviets in space and recover its pride. After having gone through archives and film footage and having interviewed many of the scientists, reporters, and others who were involved in the first year of the space race, D’Antonio brings to life all the people, places, and stories of a time when the U.S. went space-crazy and a flying monkey helped save the day. His book revives the early days of space with all the zaniness and urgency of the time.


NPR’s Science Friday
“Best Science Book of 2007”

“Amazing we had to wait ‘til the 50th anniversary of that year’s tumultuous events to get the popular history they deserved.”

The Christian Science Monitor
“D’Antonio skillfully captures both the energy and the urgency of the U.S. drive toward space. His narrative is further enlivened by firsthand accounts from U.S. citizens recalling their excitement during those heady days.”

Tucson Citizen
“Michael D’Antonio tells the story of the first year of the space race, sparing none of its panic, scientific fervor and zaniness…D’Antonio’s narrative is brilliant and, best of all, extremely entertaining.”

“An entertaining writer, D’Antonio delivers the technological heroics on which spaceflight fans are keen.”

Rocky Mountain News
“If you remember going out into the backyard on nights and craning your neck to see that pinpoint of light that was Sputnik, you owe it to yourself to read this book “