“Truer, but also darker.” This is the real origin story behind America’s decision to go to the moon. The story we learn starts with Sputnik, then President Kennedy’s challenge, and ends with triumph: an American flag on the lunar surface. But in the 50 years that have passed since the moon landing, as presidential documents have been declassified and secret programs have been revealed, a wilder story has begun to emerge. “Moonrise,” a new Washington Post narrative mini-series, digs into the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, the transformation of American society and politics, and even the birth of science fiction, to unearth what really drove us to the moon. Join host Lillian Cunningham (of the Presidential and Constitutional podcasts) as she uncovers a story that has so much to reveal about America -- and about the dreams and nightmares of being human on this Earth.
The Dark Moon
Apollo 11 lifts off from Earth, fulfilling but also waking us from a longtime science-fiction dream. In the finale of “Moonrise,” we find ourselves on the moon.
The United States confronts race riots and the Vietnam War. Science fiction wrestles with its purpose now that space travel has become real. And NASA investigates its own failings. In the 11th chapter of “Moonrise,” we look inward.
Lyndon Johnson takes over the presidency following John F. Kennedy’s assassination, while rocketeer Sergei Korolev watches his fate rise and fall in the Soviet Union. In the 10th chapter of “Moonrise,” both countries hit setbacks in the race to the moon.
JFK and the Secret Tapes
John F. Kennedy announces the moonshot. Then the doubts creep in …In the ninth chapter of “Moonrise,” old White House recordings reveal the president’s true views on the space race.
A New Frontier
John F. Kennedy goes from senator to president. Space cowboys go from fiction to reality. And the United States chooses to go to the moon — in the eighth chapter of “Moonrise.”
Nightmare on the Hill
Congress investigates the Sputnik launch. Lyndon Johnson seizes the spotlight. And President Eisenhower gets backed into a corner. In the seventh chapter of “Moonrise,” space gets political.