All Around the World
Sputnik Mania
Review by Ross Anthony

I screened this film just a day after the U.S. shot down one of its own satellites. What timing. I read on the web that it cost the U.S. 30 million to run that maneuver. I wondered why they just didn't have NASA pick it up with the Space Shuttle and return it to Earth. Then it occurred to me there might be sensitive spy info the U.S. didn't want getting out. I could be way wrong about that. Anyway, it served as an excellent appetizer for this fascinating documentary on space exploration, military one-upmanship, fear, propaganda and high-stakes.

Cute little sputnik, nary the size of a beach ball, became the first manmade devise to orbit Earth in 1957. This made the USA uneasy for two reasons. 1) They didn't send it up. 2) Their cold war adversary, Russia, did. The documentary follows the mood of American citizens, military and politicians in the days following. I was fascinated by Eisenhower's attempts to calm the country. Surprised too, that despite his military background, he was the one trying to quell his own military's impetus to spring into an arms race. Ike's caution reminded me of the depiction of Kennedy in the tense film about the Cuban Missile crisis: Thirteen Days. Embarrassingly, Ike had many more surprises for me – after all, this is history, I should know it already.

Besides 2007 being Russia's little moon's 50-year anniversary, the release of "Sputnik Mania" at this time in history may prove even more timely. We are reminded that an "atmosphere" of fear may be much more dangerous than the threat. Which certainly brings to mind a quote from my history class that I actually remember, "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself." Seems like a great time in US history to recall that.

Well worth seeing.

-- Book Contest --

  • Sputnik Mania. Copyright © 2008.
  • Directed by David Hoffman.
  • Written by David Hoffman and Paul Dickson. Based on the book "Sputnik: The Shock of the Century" by Paul Dickson.
  • Produced by Eric Reid, David Hoffman, John Vincent Barrett at Varied Directions

Grade..........................A (3/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 26-Feb-2008 12:13:57 PST