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If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government by John O'Leary, William D. Eggers

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Preface

The Conflict Behind the Cliché

It started as a challenge issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. If we can put a man on the moon before the Soviets, Kennedy reasoned, we can prove to the world that democracy works better than socialism. The race to the moon was a contest between two systems of government, and the question would be settled not by debate, but by who could best execute on this endeavor.

When Kennedy issued his challenge, the Soviets had a sizable head start in the space race. They had more powerful rockets, and cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin had just become the first human in space. But America pulled together. In July of 1969, Neil Armstrong planted an American flag on the moon. In Moscow, Soviet officials could only glare ...

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