Southwestern Historical Quarterly
development was a necessary prerequisite to the transition from aero-
nautics to astronautics. Alexander's major emphasis is on the research
that was needed for the development of a spacecraft that could be
mounted on a ballistic missile. This spacecraft had to be dynamically
stable, capable of resisting extremely high temperatures on re-entry,
carry life support equipment, and otherwise minimize the hazards to
In the section on development Loyd S. Swenson, Jr., Assistant Pro-
fessor of History at the University of Houston, traces the growth of a
working organization. Swenson mentions many of the individuals con-
nected with Project Mercury and records the successes, frustrations,
and details associated with pioneer work in a major technical develop-
ment, particularly in the production of the Mercury spacecraft. Finally,
he reviews the criteria employed in the selection and the final choice
of the first seven astronauts.
In the final section on operations, James M. Grimwood, NASA
Manned Spacecraft Center Historian, gives a narrative of man's initial
flights into space. Grimwood details the experiences of each astronaut,
the scientific experiments he performed, and the photographs taken
on each flight. Unfortunately, Grimwood made no effort to describe
the results of the experiments or their contributions to the growth
of scientific knowledge.
The authors have written an accurate and comprehensive historical
narrative. If the documentation of the progress of the Gemini and
Apollo projects (goal: the moon) is pursued with the same vigor as
that displayed in This New Ocean, the manned space program will be
adequately recorded for the necessary interpretation and evaluation
by future historians.
University of Texas ERVIN J. PROUSE
James K. Polk, Continentalist, 1843-1846. By Charles Sellers. Princeton
(Princeton University Press), 1966. Pp. x+513. Illustrations,
sources, index. $12.50.
This a remarkable book of potential interest and value to many
readers. The second volume of a projected three-volume biography,
it follows James K. Polk, Jacksonian, which dealt with the future
President's career through his second defeat for the governorship of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed July 1, 2015.