America’s Enduring Fascination with Real and Imagined Spaceflight
Smithsonian Books, 2022, 304 pp., Hardcover. $29.95. www.smithsonianbooks.com
Spanning from the 1929 debut of the futuristic Buck Rogers to present-day privatization of spaceflight, Space Craze celebrates America’s endless enthusiasm for space exploration. Author Margaret Weitekamp, curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, writes with warmth and personal experience to guide readers through extraordinary spaceflight history while highlighting objects from the Smithsonian’s spaceflight collection. Featuring historical milestones in space exploration, films and TV shows, literature and comic strips, toys and games, and internet communities, Space Craze is a sci-fi lover’s dream. The book investigates how spaceflight, both real and imagined, has served as the nexus where contemporary American concerns, such as race, gender, sexuality, freedom, and national identity, have been explored and redefined. From the almost 650 million viewers who tuned in to watch the first steps on the Moon, to the ardent Star Trek fandom that burgeoned into a cultural force, Space Craze taps into the country’s enduring love affair with space.