13 episodes

“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 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.

Moonrise The Washington Post

    • Astronomy

“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 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

    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.

    • 49 min
    Magnificent Desolation

    Magnificent Desolation

    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.

    • 50 min
    The Beyond

    The Beyond

    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.

    • 57 min
    JFK and the Secret Tapes

    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.

    • 46 min
    A New Frontier

    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.”

    • 48 min
    Nightmare on the Hill

    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.

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

ALackoff ,

Excess drama

Great story, well researched. It is presented well, except there is too much drama in the narration, music, and writing. Less drama would have given this series a a 5 star rating.

Fortunamia ,

Drama, drama, drama!

The premise is outstanding. Having said that, I can only express disappointment. There are far too many pregnant pauses, overly dramatic music and a narrative that would have made my high school English teacher cringe. If you can get past the flaws then go for it. Sadly I give up.

WV Al ,

Excellent podcast

Very enlightening. Great historical info on the background of the space race and very easy to listen to.

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