For quite some time ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' was visiting different bookshops all over Mumbai in search of Yuri Gagarin's well known autobiography, ``Road To The Stars,'' but met with no success.
Last month thanks to Flipkart.com BMM managed to obtain a copy and it was really worth the effort to secure this book. Significantly, BMM got the book when the world was celebrating the 50th anniv of the first manned space mission by Yuri.
``Road To The Stars,'' makes a fantastic reading and BMM found it difficult to keep it down. It portrays Yuri as a warm and extremely friendly person, who despite his success, did not allow the unmatched achievement to go into his head. He remained a simple, humble and above all a down-to-earth person inspite of the accomplishment. Stories have been circulating about him which aim to destroy his image and reputation. But, the question is whether there is any truth in them. The possibility of a rival faction planting these stories cannot be really ruled out.
The book views the success of the first manned space flight more as a triumph of communism over capitalism than a technological accomplishment. The hidden message it conveys is that the virtues of communism cannot be found in capitalism. In that sense, though this book is completely about Yuri, it has a political message too.
A great and superb book which BMM will read and read.