Trim: 6¼ x 9½
978-1-4985-2814-6 • Hardback • November 2016 • $117.00 • (£90.00)
978-1-4985-2816-0 • Paperback • September 2018 • $47.99 • (£37.00)
978-1-4985-2815-3 • eBook • November 2016 • $45.50 • (£33.00)
Mark Shanahan is lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Reading.
Chapter 1: The Policymaking Character
Chapter 2: Missile and Reconnaissance Development under Eisenhower
Chapter 3: The Sputnik Season
Chapter 4: From Confrontation to Legislation
Chapter 5: From Strategy to Implementation
Chapter 6: Final Thoughts: Ike Revisited on Space
Shanahan draws on extensive archival research to defend Eisenhower as a pragmatic leader who put national security ahead of partisan political advantage. He rebuts the still-widespread view that Eisenhower was caught by surprise by Sputnik. Ike had a robust plan for developing US rocketry and space reconnaissance capacity from 1955 on, and did not see any need to change that. Hysteria was fanned by Lyndon Johnson, scheming to become the Democratic presidential nominee, and by scientists and defense lobbyists seeking to boost the military budget. That led to Ike’s approval dropping from 79 percent to 57 percent in three months. However, Ike “had no interest whatsoever in weaponizing space nor in engaging in a fatuous race that seemed to define outer space only as a Cold War battlefield." He could not share information from secret U2 overflights that proved the USSR was lagging in missile capacity. It was a “misstep” for Ike to go golfing the weekend after Sputnik I, but he was much better at handling the media in the wake of Sputnik II. This is an important contribution to Cold War history and very relevant in the era of “fake news” and the chasm between media debate and sound national security policy. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
— Choice Reviews
Eisenhower at the Dawn of the Space Age is by far one of the best revisionist works on the Eisenhower presidency published in recent years. This thoroughly researched book not only offers a new lens on Ike's understudied and often underplayed space policy, but also makes a significant contribution towards our understanding of the executive office in the 1950s, its powers, and its relations with Congress. A must read for all historians and students of the modern presidency.
— Mara Oliva, University of Reading
So, who was Eisenhower, a reasoned strategist who effectively used space in the Cold War arena, or a weak president forced to take actions in space that he viewed as inappropriate and ill-informed? Mark Shanahan has done those working in space history a good turn by reassessing these competing
This is an accessibly-written and spirited account of President Eisenhower’s space policy that argues persuasively that it evolved out of long-term planning, rather than emergency reactions to the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957.
— Zuoyue Wang, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Eisenhower at the Dawn of the Space Age is a fine and original work focusing on the space politics of the Eisenhower administration. Shanahan creates a subtle and nuanced portrait of Eisenhower as policy maker, suggesting Eisenhower was both more consistent in his space policy and more capable of driving the agenda than previous work has suggested. In doing so, he expands on the existing school of Eisenhower revisionism.... This is a seminal work that would be consulted by scholars of both the Eisenhower administration and Space policy for years to come.
— 2017 Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize Committee
• Winner, The Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize (2017)