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Publisher's Summary

“This remarkable account of the 1961 race into space is a thrilling piece of storytelling.... It is high definition history: tight, thrilling, and beautifully researched.” (The Times, London, front-page lead review)

Beyond has the exhilaration of a fine thriller, but it is vividly embedded in the historic tensions of the Cold War, and peopled by men and women brought sympathetically, and sometimes tragically, to life.” (Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road)

09.07 am. April 12, 1961. A top secret rocket site in the USSR. A young Russian sits inside a tiny capsule on top of the Soviet Union’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile - originally designed to carry a nuclear warhead - and blasts into the skies. His name is Yuri Gagarin. And he is about to make history.

Travelling at almost 18,000 miles per hour - 10 times faster than a rifle bullet - Gagarin circles the globe in just 106 minutes. From his windows, he sees the Earth as nobody has before, crossing a sunset and a sunrise, crossing oceans and continents, witnessing its beauty and its fragility. While his launch begins in total secrecy, within hours of his landing, he has become a world celebrity - the first human to leave the planet.

Beyond tells the thrilling story behind that epic flight on its 60th anniversary. It happened at the height of the Cold War as the US and USSR confronted each other across an Iron Curtain. Both superpowers took enormous risks to get a man into space first, the Americans in the full glare of the media, the Soviets under deep cover. Both trained their teams of astronauts to the edges of the endurable. In the end, the race between them would come down to the wire.

Drawing on extensive original research and the vivid testimony of eyewitnesses, many of whom have never spoken before, Stephen Walker unpacks secrets that were hidden for decades and takes the listener into the drama of one of humanity’s greatest adventures - to the scientists, engineers, and political leaders on both sides, and, above all, to the American astronauts and their Soviet rivals battling for supremacy in the heavens.

©2021 Stephen Walker (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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‘Beyond’ is Brilliant

A well written story that keeps you riveted!
Woke me up to the pride and incredible similarities AND differences between the soviet and American/Canadian societies, then and now.

The narration is the Best I have Ever heard!
He brings the pages to life, and often makes you laugh!

Fabulous!

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astrological story

I loved it. it's amazing to imagine that this was what it took to be the first man in space. the narration is wonderful

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  • Rick
  • 2021-04-25

Wow!

As a student of the Russian language, I learned a bit about this story, but the historical records from the time left something to be desired.

I was very excited to listen to this book once I heard the author on the BBC History Extra podcast. I was not disappointed! The story and the performance of this book are phenomenal!

Thank you, Stephen Walker, for making this history come alive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-05-03

What a Ride!!

Well written and researched. Exciting!
A Fantastic reading!
The book covers the American space program of the early 1960’s also.

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  • 円相
  • 2021-05-03

Outstanding account and well read too

Also useful for info on the US program I hadn't read elsewhere too (and I've read almost all the us astro bios and more)