The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967

Book Reviews

kaleidoscopic view of the passions, personalities, and trends that
were affecting the future of Texas and the Southwest.
St. Edward's University FABIUS DUNN, C.S.C.
An Administrative History of NASA, 1958-1963. By Robert L.
Rosholt. Washington, D. C. (U. S. Government Printing
Office [NASA SP-41ol]), 1966. Pp. xviii+381. Illustrations,
appendices, bibliography, index. $4.00.
Space exploration is as exciting an adventure as man has yet
enjoyed. Exploring the social organization that has made possible
American space achievements is an adventure of a different order,
but it is one no less indispensable for our understanding of the
causes and effects of the space age. Robert L. Rosholt has pro-
vided us with a noble exploratory survey, a meticulous mono-
graph that lays the basic coordinates for a temporal map of the
management of the National Aeronautics and Space Administra-
tion during its booming first five years of accomplishment.
Carefully researched by a contractual arrangement from with-
in the agency, this work is essentially the dissertation that Ros-
holt prepared under the joint auspices of the University of
Minnesota's Public Administration Center and the NASA
Historical Office Staff. As such, it is not easy reading, but it is an
invaluable and reliable reference to the five themes it em-
phasizes. These are organizational structure, administrative pro-
cedures, personnel, finance, and procurement management. In
nine chapters (divided into two parts reflecting the Eisenhower
and Kennedy presidencies), together with six appendices, five
tables, and sixteen foldout organization charts, Rosholt amplified
his themes and provided a wealth of data on the internal work-
ings of the space agency. His work will appear too analytic to
some historians and too descriptive to some social scientists, and
both positions will prove its worth as an administrative history.
Curiously, the Foreword by the current NASA Administrator,
James E. Webb, underscores certain shortcomings of this type of
history, lamenting its tendency toward impersonality and an
apparently rigid decision-making process. Webb would remind
Rosholt's readers that this is not the whole story, but then Ros-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed April 20, 2014.