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  We Came In Peace For All Mankind (Apollo 11's Silicon Disc) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   We Came In Peace For All Mankind (Apollo 11's Silicon Disc)
fabfivefreddy
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posted 05-12-2007 10:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We are pleased to announce the release of a new book entitled "We Came in Peace: The Untold Story of the Apollo 11 Silicon Disc".

The disc was placed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. The story of this disc is almost as mysterious as the moon itself. Few people even realize its existence and historians have often overlooked this fascinating time capsule. Here is the story of the silicon disc, its origin, and the messages left for future humans (or other creatures) to decipher and learn about a past civilization that "came in peace for all mankind". Many of the messages are beautifully scripted in native languages. A striking example is the guilded message form Pope Paul VI.

The disc is the size of a U.S. half dollar coin and it requires magnification to see the messages. The messages in the book are in their native languages with English translations. All pictures were taken through a microscope.

The book will be available in September 2007. We will keep you posted on orders, pricing and availability.

Tahir Rahman

fabfivefreddy
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posted 11-01-2007 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New Book Reveals Untold Stories of the First Moon Landing

(Leawood, KS, November 1, 2007) Nearly four decades ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left mementos on the ancient lunar soil of the Sea of Tranquility. Among these was a tiny, fragile silicon disc with microscopic messages of goodwill from 73 world leaders.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin recollects, "Neil Armstrong and I almost forgot to leave the silicon disc on the Moon. But no one should forget the wonderful messages beautifully portrayed in author Tahir Rahman's new book- We Came In Peace For All Mankind: The Untold Story Of The Apollo 11 Silicon Disc (Leathers Publishing, 2007). The disc will last on the lunar surface for thousands of years."

Lost in the excitement of the time, the disc has gone unread- until now. The 1969 messages came from world leaders such as Queen Elizabeth II, Indira Gandhi, and the Shah of Iran. Rahman spotlights the historical importance of the time capsule and shares the messages of peace and hope in a bold and exciting way. One such message from Eric Williams, the 1969 Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago warned, "It is our earnest hope for mankind that while we gain the Moon, we shall not lose the world."

The book traces the history of the disc's development and includes a library of all the messages in their native script, such as Chinese, Arabic and Hebrew. There is an ornate framed message from the Vatican's Pope Paul VI. There are many other untold ceremonial events which took place during the mission, including a private communion that Aldrin partook in with a tiny vial of wine.

The highly praised book is available from: www.silicondisc.com, Leather's Publishing (913) 498-2625, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. ISBN 9781585974412,hard cover with dust jacket, illustrated, rare photos, 312 pages.

Scott
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posted 11-03-2007 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott   Click Here to Email Scott     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice website design, Tahir!

fabfivefreddy
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posted 11-04-2007 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Scott.

The reviews from Robert Pearlman, James R. Hansen (First Man), and Andrew Chaikin can all be seen on the book's website.

You can also pre-order at Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

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posted 11-29-2007 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert Pearlman's great article on the disc was picked up by Yahoo News!

Orders from all over the world have come in. Thanks to cS members for their orders. All orders were shipped out this week. About 90 copies were sent to newspapers and editors for review.

Barnes and Noble (Ingrams) and Amazon were given their shipment this week. Any orders through our website silicondisc.com can still be filled in time for the holidays.

spaceflori
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posted 12-09-2007 03:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a short note that I have received the new book by fellow cS'er and good friend Tahir Rahman already in the mail this week.

I'm impressed by the quality of the book itself, great design of the pages - easy to read and flip through.

There are quiet a few facts we all certainly didn't know. I enjoyed the chapter about the German government being to dumb to send a message - as usual German officials are bit too late when it becomes important.

This book really steps out of the line and is NOT the 101st re-edition of the "great story of Apollo 11".

So if you don't have a xmas gift for yourself yet or friends keep bugging you about an idea - that's the way to go!

A must have for any space collector not only because of the interesting Silicon disk story but also the great pictures included.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 12-09-2007 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks!

Here is another interesting photo that never made it into my book.

It shows the Apollo 11 lunar plaque message concept. U. Alexis Johnson of the U.S. State Department contributed a great deal to this idea. You can also see the letter from Johnson to NASA administrator Thomas Paine- dated on launch day.

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posted 12-18-2007 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A big thanks to the following cS members for their help in making the book possible:

Robert Pearlman
Mike Constantine
Eric Jones
Scott Cornish
Bob McLeod
Paul Bramley
James Brown
Ken Havekotte

There are lots of other people I thank as well...

fabfivefreddy
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posted 12-21-2007 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We just received a letter from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

The letter to the publisher reads:

A copy of We Came in Peace for all Mankind was sent to the Smithsonian Institution for review by the Museum's leadership and staff. After it was received by the director's office, it was routed to the Division of Space History. As the curator for the Museum's collection of space memorabilia, which includes a duplicate copy of the Apollo 11 silicon disc, I am especially appreciative of being able to review this useful volume. Congratulations to you and Dr. Rahman on an attractive and informative book.

As the Museum works to preserve and commemorate the history of Apollo 11, Tahir Rahman's book will be a valuable part of the research library in the Division of Space History.

Sincerely,

Maragaret A. Weitekamp, PhD
Curator
Social and Cultural Dimensions of Spaceflight

FFrench
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posted 12-25-2007 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just received a copy of this book for Christmas (one thing I love about Amazon wish lists - you get what you hope for!). It looks like a beautifully illustrated and informative book, and I look forward to starting reading it this afternoon.

FFrench
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posted 12-26-2007 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I ended up reading the whole book yesterday afternoon.

I enjoyed it as, instead of being too narrowly focused, it tells the story of this tiny disc as just one symbolic element of the first mission to the lunar surface. Not just for the committed space-geek, this book does a good job of conveying some of the wonder of the first lunar landing mission, both in words and in beautiful full-page images. As a snapshot of the world of 1969, it is fascinating.

The disc, intended as a symbolic gesture, turns out to tell many more stories than its original intention, and in many ways summarize the whole venture. As the book describes the rush to add last-minute messages to the disc, hurriedly collecting messages from world leaders, so we come to understand the tensions between science, engineering, PR and politics that were taking place in the busy runup to launch. Some arguments, such as whether to include religious wording to symbolic statements, sound very familiar to some current political debates.

The political reasonings behind some of the messages, and also why some nations declined involvement, also give an interesting insight into late-1960s global politics. It's very interesting to read all of the messages themselves as a reflection of the times. Some of the blandest statements come from the major powers on the world stage, with smaller countries such as Liberia, Guyana, the Ivory Coast, Trinidad and Tobago providing some of the most thought-provoking words as they decide how to claim their own little intellectual corner of the mission. The messages come from countries which in many cases no longer exist or have been renamed, from leaders long gone, long deposed and in many cases long discredited. Very few of them, such as Queen Elizabeth, are still around.

Without any commentary, the end of the book is nevertheless perhaps the most powerful part. Giving a brief biography of each of the leaders whose words appear on the disc, in many cases we are treated to a rogue's gallery of dictators, coup winners, corrupt tyrants and those who went on to messy and inglorious ends. A good portion of the leaders are people who, today, we may view as the last names we'd want representing humankind in a message to the future. While aiming for a high purpose, the disc therefore also inadvertently summarizes what a messy and imperfect world we lived in in 1969. Perhaps, in doing so, it gives extra luster to the Apollo 11 mission itself, which managed to reach above its Cold War origins and achieve something for all humankind.

Congratulations to Tahir on a very interesting piece of work, presented in beautiful form.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 12-26-2007 10:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you so much for the post Francis! I really enjoyed your remarks and you make some interesting points.

cspg
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posted 12-30-2007 12:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
Congratulations to Tahir on a very interesting piece of work, presented in beautiful form.
Thanks for the review, Francis. Looking forward to my copy which is in the mail somewhere!

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posted 12-31-2007 05:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Author Tahir Rahman will be doing his first book signing of "We Came in Peace for all Mankind" near his home at the Barnes and Noble bookseller in Leawood Town Center Plaza (just outside Kansas City) at 2 PM Saturday January 5. This will be after an interview from a local Fox 4 news affiliate.

A silicon disc will be on display for public viewing during the event. More signings will be announced as they are planned.

mdmyer
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posted 01-01-2008 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great News. I may see if I can make it to Kansas City that afternoon.

How long will you be signing the books?

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-01-2008 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mike-

I would love to see you and your daughter there.

I will be there for 1-2 hours, depending on the interest. I will bring some pieces from my collection including autographed items.

mdmyer
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posted 01-01-2008 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We might just make it. I am working a midnight to eight shift that morning plus my wife is flying out of KC sometime that day. We will just have to see what our schedule is for that day.

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posted 01-08-2008 09:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tahir Rahman on Fox News in Kansas City.

Andy McCulley
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posted 01-08-2008 10:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Andy McCulley   Click Here to Email Andy McCulley     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great interview, Tahir.

lm5eagle
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posted 01-09-2008 04:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for lm5eagle   Click Here to Email lm5eagle     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
Tahir Rahman on Fox News in Kansas City.
Very much enjoyed the interview Tahir.

Now, are you doing more signings or will I be able to get a signed copy from any of the usual sources?

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-09-2008 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Andy, you can still get a signed copy by e-mailing me offline. We stopped offering the signed copies after the holidays, as it was too overwhelming for me.

Thanks for the comments guys! I really do appreciate that.

More signings are planned for future events.

mdmyer
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posted 01-09-2008 08:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just finished reading the book today and I must say I really enjoyed the book. I will have to work on a review and post it in a few days.

I also really enjoyed attending the book signing Saturday. There were a couple of people in line in front of Miranda and myself and we enjoyed listening to Tahir answer the other folks questions. Tahir had his disk on display along with a couple of other signed items. We asked some questions and even after we had our book signed we stayed around and listened to Tahir talk some more.

Tahir spoke of his search for the original copies of the letters and of how the company that made the disk also made parts for the atomic bomb. How ironic is that?

Great book and I recommend it. The story Tahir tells is one I never knew about.

Lou Chinal
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posted 01-09-2008 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lou Chinal   Click Here to Email Lou Chinal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good interview! Any plans to come to NYC, for signings?

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-09-2008 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks. I'm working on NY!

FFrench
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posted 01-09-2008 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tahir, I'd certainly be happy to work with you on setting up signing opportunities if you had a reason to come to San Diego anytime in the future. It's an enjoyable book, the general public would be interested and I imagine you would give a good talk about it.

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posted 01-09-2008 08:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds like fun Francis! Please contact me offline.

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posted 01-10-2008 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A review from Espace.com (the editor Olivier Sanguy in France):
Your book is very interesting and more gives a rare opportunity to feel how Apollo was about to change the world and even what people were (officially) expecting from it. Of course, the historical part of your book is mandatory and very well managed, but you had the humility to give more than the half of it to reproduce the official statements, thus giving the readers a look at how the soon to be done at the time "walking on the Moon" concept was felt by the leaders of the world. Therefore, we can see a lot of notions ranking from references to God to the will of a future peaceful humanity along with the desire to take care of our planet...

Of course a lot of these are politicaly correct official declarations that some could judge naive or just plainly hypocritical, but they reflect that Apollo was already see as a turning point in our civilization, the dawn of earthlings being aware that they were little living things in a vast Universe.

As you guess, the review is going to be a two thumbs up (I could give it a 3 or 4 thumbs up if I were an extraterrestrial...).

Sanguy will be featuring an article about the Moon disc for European readers.

(posted with permission from Olivier Sanguy)

cspg
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posted 01-10-2008 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sanguy is editor-in-chief of Espace Magazine, a French magazine devoted to all aspects of Space Exploration (excellent magazine by the way!).

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posted 01-15-2008 02:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tahir Rahman will be a guest on the The Space Show on March 3, 2008. The radio show airs for 2 hours and will be rebroadcast on the website.

mdmyer
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posted 01-15-2008 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just wanted to share a review of We Came in Peace that I plan on posting on Amazon.com

By the late 1960s it became clear that the American space program was going to win the race to the Moon against the Russians. Since I turned 10 years old that summer I can remember those flights as a special time in history. Later in my life I began to collect books about the space program and I have read many of the autobiographies of the astronauts and NASA workers who were the space program. I have often read the words "We came in peace for all Mankind" but I always wondered if that was true. Was the trip really a representation of All Mankind or was it the final step in an 8-year race with the Russians to get a Man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth? After all it was an American Space Program. Rahman's book, and the messages that he reveals, does indeed show that the thoughts and well wishes of Mankind were traveling with the crew of Apollo 11.

I recently had the chance to attend a book signing given by Tahir Rahman, author of We Came in Peace: The Untold Story of the Silicon Disk. I had followed the announcements about the publication of this book at collectSPACE.com and I had the feeling this book was going to touch on a subject that few people, even the well-read space enthusiast, had known about.

When I arrived at the book signing at a local Barnes and Noble I had to wait in line but that turned out to be a pleasure. I was able to listen to Mr. Rahman answer questions about the disc and about his research for his book. Rahman told of how he came to own one of these discs that were made for the flight of Apollo 11. In fact Rahman had the disc with him and he had it on display. You could actually see the tiny messages that were recorded in the disc. Rahman spoke of their arrangement on the disc and how there came to be more that one copy of the disc. He talked of his research to find the messages and how they came to be on the disc and he also spoke of an encounter with Buzz Aldrin and how Buzz was pleased to hear about Rahman's book. Even after I held my signed copy I stepped aside and listened to more customers talking with Tahir about his book. It was a fun afternoon. Now more about the book itself.

Rahman's book explains that it was a last minute decision to contact the World leaders of the day and ask them to submit messages of goodwill to be left on the Moon. In fact the decision was not made till June of 1969, just weeks before the launch, to ask for messages from the World leaders. Rahman's book quotes a family member of the company chosen to make the disc. "Crash program is an understatement. We had almost no time to put this together". The message sent to the World leaders from the United States asking if they would like to have messages taken to the Moon is included in We Came in Peace For All Mankind.

Rahman mentions in his book "NASA sent 116 requests. They received 81 replies, of which 73 provided messages from heads of State." Those messages are the heart and soul of this book. Rahman's research led to the recovery of most if not all of the original copies of those messages. When possible Tahir has included copies of those original messages in his book. Most are written in English but not all and those that were not have been translated. Many are on unique letterheads from those Statesmen. The messages are overlaid on a world map with the county from which each message was sent colored boldly in gold. I though this was a nice addition to the book. It showed just where some of the little known countries are on our spaceship of humanity. We Came in Peace also includes messages from countries explaining why they would not be sending goodwill wishes to the Moon. The book also includes a list of countries that either did not reply to the request or chose not to send a message.

We Came in Peace also reveals an irony. The company chose to make the disc that would hold the Messages of Goodwill also made parts for the early atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

The messages of goodwill are not the only thing covered in this book. We Came in Peace also tells how the plaque attached to the Lunar Lander came to be. Included in this book is a copy of an early version of the plaque attached to the Eagle. This early version has hand written changes inked on to it. Rahman reveals how the silicon disc was not the only item in the beta cloth bag left on the Moon. We Came in Peace also tells of how the American flag was selected packaged for its flight to the Moon.

The effort of getting the messages to the Moon almost went for naught. The disc made the trip to the Moon in Buzz Aldrin's sleeve pouch and Buzz was already back on the Lunar Lander when Neil Armstrong asked Buzz about the package. Buzz is quoted in We Came in Peace; "We had forgotten about this up to this point. And I don't think we really wanted to totally openly talk about what it was so it was sort of guarded". Armstrong asked Buzz "How about that package out of your sleeve? Get that?" Later CAPCOM Owen Garriott asked for verification that the disc and package was left on the Moon.

The book it self is large and it measures 9.5 inches square and it contains 293 pages in all. The book is divided in to two different sections and by looking at the edge of the pages of the book while it is closed it is easy to see the sections. The first half of the book tells the story about the disc and the edges of those pages are gray. The rest of the book shows the copies of the messages and the edges of those pages are white. I thought that was a neat touch and it adds to the beauty of the book. The book also contains color pictures of some of the most memorial events of Mankind's first trip to the Moon. Simply put, this is a beautiful book.

If you are looking for a book that will detail the voyage of the Apollo 11 flight then this book is not for you but if you, like me, have read many books about the space race but had never heard of the messages of good will then this book is a must for your collection. I highly recommend it.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 01-15-2008 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks so much for those kind words, Mike.

It was great to see you and Miranda at the signing. It was a treat for me to share the story of the Apollo 11 disc with both of you.

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posted 01-31-2008 08:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received a nice signed letter from President Jimmy Carter.

In part, "We Came in Peace for all Manind" is a welcome addition to my collection...

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posted 02-02-2008 10:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From Preethi Rao, a New Jersey book review (posted with permission):
I'm going to be honest here... what do you think i did first when i got the book...

I first flipped the pages to get to the part of the goodwill letters from the countries to the astronauts and landed right on what India had written...

There it was, a typed letter from Rashtrapathi Bhavan signed by Indira Gandhi!! I was all WOW. I have never seen a Rashtrapathi Bhavan letter-head before you see. I then flipped and flipped to all the other neighbouring countries that held my interests to see what they'd all written. There were photographs of scores of letters handwritten and signed by leaders we've only read in history books! It was an amazing experience for me.

As always I have my personal favorite... The letter from Ivory Coast. It was so beautiful. Here is the excerpt...

"...I hope also that he would tell the Moon how beautiful it is when it illuminates the nights of Ivory Coast. I especially wish that he would turn towards our planet Earth and cry out how insignificant the problems which torture men are, when viewed from up there..." - Felix Houphouet-Boigny, President

Isn't it just lovely...

I then started all over again from the beginning. The quality of the book is just amazing. As in... the photographs, personal interviews with Neil Armstrong... I lived it all. There is so much information in this book and yet all of it comes with a touch of human hand.

Whether anybody is interested in history or space or books... it doesn't matter. It is a treasure that one would be proud to own..."

Note: There was no author interview with Neil Armstrong.

cspg
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posted 02-02-2008 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fabfivefreddy:
Note: There was no author interview with Neil Armstrong.
If anybody wants to call himself/herself a "book reviewer", the least he/she could do is to read the book, don't you think? It kind of discredits his review...

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posted 02-03-2008 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is her full review.

Also, just to clarify:

I did meet Armstrong in person at the Anaheim SETP meeeting. He has read the book and he gave me permission to publish the quotes and photos of him.

Francis French and Eric Jones pointed out to me that the missing (a) in his famous quotation was not recovered by other acoustics researchers. So I must say that this finding is disputed. That would be a correction to my text. Armstrong and James R. Hansen did not say anything about that section.

Also, the map of the United Kingdom should include Northern Ireland as part of the gold shaded area. I thank Francis for that as well.

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posted 02-04-2008 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A review from the Tucson Citizen.

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posted 02-04-2008 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A book review from Quest, the history of spaceflight quarterly (Vol. 15 No. 1). Posted with permission from the editor of Quest.
In 1969, less than six months before the first human beings landed on the Moon as a part of the Apollo Program, officials at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began to plan the symbolic activities that would mark the historic event. In addition to coordinating the planting of a United States flag and attaching a commemorative plaque to the leg of the lunar lander, NASA officials also solicited "messages of good will" from nations around the world. One hundred sixteen requests went out to world leaders for "a document suitable for microfilming." Eighty-one nations replied. With the results engraved in miniature on a silicon disc and packed inside of an aluminum compact, those good wishes were deposited on the lunar surface without much ceremony-- almost as an afterthought on a mission packed with scheduled objectives and symbolic acts--just before astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin finished their moonwalk. Back on Earth, 16 replica discs were distributed to dignitaries, with one being given to the Smithsonian Institution.

Although the typewritten English translations of the messages included on the Apollo 11 silicon disc have been public in NASA records for almost 40 years, Tahir Rahman's book tells for the first time the full story of this unique object--and in doing so, offers a fresh look at the symbolic importance of the first Moon landing. Rahman, a board-certified psychiatrist by training and a space buff by avocation, uncovered and collected the documentary record of this commemorative act, including locating the original messages in the Library of Congress. Illustrated with gorgeous color photographs, We Came in Peace retells the story of Apollo 11 and reveals the process behind the creation of the silicon disc (including the patent filed for the specific procedure used to emboss the miniaturized messages on the disc). What this book does best, however, is display the original messages in context.

More than half of the volume is dedicated to showcasing the goodwill messages. The glossy, elegant layout allows the reader to consider fully each note and its source. On each two-page spread, a map of the world showing the country in question forms the backdrop for each message presented in its original language--and in some cases, its original calligraphy. On the facing page, translations reveal the sentiments composed by world leaders to be left on the Moon. (The only error in the maps is the confusion of Chiang Kai- Shek's Taiwan-based Republic of China with Mao's mainland People's Republic of China.)

Intended as a time capsule that would last for thousands of years on the Moon, the contents of the silicon disc have become a time capsule of another sort. The geopolitical world recorded in these messages is a relic of 40 years ago. In 1969, Indira Ghandi led India and Haile Selassie was Emperor of Ethiopia. Although the Soviet Union did not respond to the United States' invitation to participate, Josip Tito of Yugoslavia did. Forty years later, the Cold War is over, regimes have changed, and some Eastern European boundaries have been redrawn. Reading the good will messages and noticing who wrote them permits a unique glimpse of a historical moment.

It also reminds one that, in 1969, the events of the early 20th Century remained in living memory for many. For instance, the message from Ireland came from Eamon de Valera, a man who helped to lead the Easter Uprising in Ireland in 1916 and who during Apollo 11 was serving his second term as President of Ireland.

The messages themselves also make interesting reading.

Although some are short declarations, many are poetic. In retrospect, the wishes for good will, brotherhood, and peace delivered by despots and dictators carry an extra layer of irony. Despite the earnest tone of most of the blessings, some messages include lighter notes, such as the wish of President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, that "I hope also that he [the moonwalker] would tell the Moon how beautiful it is when it illuminates the nights of the Ivory Coast" (157).

Beautifully illustrated and elegantly laid-out, this small coffee- table book would be a welcome addition to the collection of any space enthusiast. As the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 approaches in 2009, there will be many volumes on the first lunar landing vying for one's attention. Consider this one. By focusing on the Apollo 11 silicon disc, Tahir Rahman offers a new perspective on the event's resonance, both as it was planned by those creating the commemorations and as viewed 40 years later.

Margaret A. Weitekamp, Curator
National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.

fabfivefreddy
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posted 02-15-2008 09:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A book review by Rebecca's Reads.

FFrench
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posted 02-27-2008 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see that this book is also listed in the NASA History Division's February 2008 "News and Notes" publication, where it is described as "vividly illustrated and inspiring."

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posted 02-27-2008 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fabfivefreddy   Click Here to Email fabfivefreddy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by FFrench:
I see that this book is also listed in the NASA History Division's February 2008 "News and Notes" publication, where it is described as "vividly illustrated and inspiring."
Where can I get a copy of that Francis? Thanks for letting me know.

I am also doing a Dr. Space interview on Monday. Kinda nervous and excited...


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