“Operation Moonglow: A Political History of Project Apollo” author presentation

May 12, 2021 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us for a presentation by author Teasel Muir-Harmony, PhD, Curator of the Apollo Collection, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Date: Wednesday, May 12 at 6pm via Zoom.
Email education@evergreenmuseum.org for the Zoom link prior to presentation time. 

We often remember Project Apollo as a feat of science and engineering, but from the very start, it was part of a broader geopolitical strategy to build alliances, win “hearts and minds,” and secure superpower status in the Cold War. This talk traces the politics of Project Apollo, from President John F. Kennedy’s call in 1961 to win the battle “between freedom and tyranny” with lunar exploration, to President Richard Nixon’s “Operation Moonglow” diplomatic tour of Southeast Asia in 1969. Drawing on a rich array of untapped archives and firsthand interviews with Apollo astronauts, Operation Moonglow explores the intersection of spaceflight, geopolitics, propaganda, and diplomacy during the Cold War.

Teasel Muir-Harmony is the curator of the Apollo Collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. She earned a PhD from MIT and has held positions at the American Institute of Physics and the Adler Planetarium and Science Museum. She is the author of Apollo to the Moon: A History in 50 Objects and a contributor to the television series Apollo’s Moon Shot.

Praise for Operation Moonglow
Operation Moonglow: I love the title, because to me, the moon does glow. The book is a thorough examination of the Apollo Program, and provides a fascinating tour of our political evolution from nationalism to global diplomacy. As a work of history, it is first rate. Teasel Muir-Harmony’s focus on space diplomacy lends a unique perspective on the space age. Full of fascinating interviews, sprinkled with little-known tidbits, the narrative glows.”
Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut

“Teasel Muir-Harmony brings the early years of the space race vividly back to life in this wonderful book. Operation Moonglow focuses on a little-known part of this story: how NASA astronauts came to play a significant role in U.S. diplomacy, and the impact they had on America’s international standing. Muir-Harmony’s richly-detailed narrative reminds us how turbulent this era was-with the Cold War at its height, the fall of colonial powers abroad, racial unrest, and assassinations at home-and the many delightful anecdotes she includes humanize the main actors.” 
Kathryn D. Sullivan, former NASA astronaut

“The epic tale of Apollo has been told with precision and passion by numerous historians of politics and technology, including myself. But only now, fifty years after the first Moon landing, we have at last the big story others ignored: Apollo’s global triumph in public relations. Moreover, Muir-Harmony’s thorough research, elegant style, and evocative anecdotes decorate every page. Operation Moonglow is a joyful trip down memory lane for aging baby-boomers and a welcome inspiration for younger Americans.”
Walter A. McDougall, author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning Heavens and the Earth

“The Apollo program is a performance of power in this fascinating history of the way American presidents used the race to the moon to strengthen U.S. diplomacy. Operation Moonglow is a deeply researched and beautifully written fusion of space, politics, and international relations. It will appeal to a broad audience.”
Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time

“A look at recent history shows that human spaceflight casts a long shadow on the world’s stage. In Operation Moonglow, curator of the Apollo collection at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Teasel Muir-Harmony combines interviews with NASA veterans, historical documents, and international press clippings to bring this forgotten story to life.”

“[A] fascinating account of the links between spaceflight and diplomacy in the early Space Age.”
Jeff Foust, The Space Review

“Engaging.... Muir-Harmony, a curator at the Smithsonian, draws on a rich cache of documents from NASA and the United States Information Agency, among other sources, to bring to vivid life the ground-level public relations onslaught surrounding the Apollo project.”

"Anyone interested in the early days of space exploration will be drawn to this fast-paced, accessible book."
Library Journal


A Political History of Project Apollo

By Teasel Muir-Harmony

Published by Basic Books

Publication date: November 24, 2020

ISBN: 9781541699878 ·  $32.00 US / $40.00 CAN  ·  Hardcover  ·  384 pages

E-book ISBN: 9781541699861

Join us for a presentation by author Teasel Muir-Harmony, PhD, Curator of the Apollo Collection, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

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