Andrew L. Jenks is associate professor of history at California State University, Long Beach, and the author of The Perils of Progress: Environmental Disasters in the Twentieth Century and Russia in a Box: Art and Identity in an Age of Revolution.
"Jenks's quest for the 'real' Yuri Gagarin makes for a compelling read. He has unearthed some archival gems that seem particularly valuable given the difficulty of accessing primary material about the first cosmonaut's life. He makes excellent use of these materials, as well as interviews, and an extensive secondary literature of Gagariana. He is to be commended for elucidating many of the contradictory facets of the first space man's life and legacy."--Amy Nelson, Virginia Tech "This is a brilliantly original, incisive work that not only says many new and interesting things about Gagarin, but also about the Soviet Union and Russia. Jenks is the only westerner I know of who has found, and mined, archival and other sources outside of Moscow. By tackling both the man and the myth Jenks has transcended the hagiography." --William P. Barry "This is an intelligent and balanced biography that combines well the cultural history of space technology with Soviet and Russian history. Highly recommended. Academic, professional, and general audiences, all levels." -- CHOICE "This book is an outstanding piece of scholarship. The author has drawn on the best of Soviet historiography to craft a multifaceted biography of a man whose obscure origins made him appear to be a malleable public personality and with an easily masked face. Dr. Jenks has done as much for the scholarship of Soviet-era biography as historian Nell Irvin Painter has done for uncovering the lives of slaves in the United States." -- Cathleen S. Lewis, The Russian Review "This is one of the most compelling works of space history to be published in the past decade....Jenks has given us a thought-provoking look at both the man and the society who led the way into space, and the paradoxical, ironic, and sometimes tragic ways in which they interacted with each other." -- Clifford R. McMurray, National Space Society "This is a brilliantly original, incisive work that not only says many new and interesting things about Gagarin, but also about the Soviet Union and Russia. . . . By tackling both the man and the myth Jenks has transcended the hagiography."-- William P. Barry