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Publisher's Summary

One small step for a man. One giant leap for rock ‘n roll.

NASA’s race with the Russians to land a man on the moon. The meteoric rise of the Beatles, considered by many to have revolutionized the music industry. In the postwar era, each stood as an unprecedented cultural watershed. Together they captured the heady zeitgeist of the 1960s, and ignited the imagination of - just about everyone on the planet.

Into the Sky with Diamonds is an exhilarating account of these two global phenomena, as seen through the eyes of Dutch Richtman, a young, enterprising NASA engineer who manages to snag a front row seat to both.

Dutch’s memoir takes us on the turbulent ride of breathtaking successes and harrowing failures that marked the early years of space travel - beginning with Projects Mercury and Gemini leading up to the Apollo program. We discover the thrills and sacrifices, personalities and politics involved in navigating these early space missions. 

And through Dutch’s fictional correspondence with buddy Mal Evans (a character true to the Beatles’ real-life roadie of the same name), we are introduced to a rock band of four working class lads from Liverpool who just happen to turn the music industry on its head and become the unwitting leaders of a youth movement for change. We witness it all: the band’s electrifying rise, their unforgettable debut on the Ed Sullivan show, the social, political, and religious controversies they generated, and their painful dissolution, as John’s fierce attachment to Yoko Ono forever alters the trajectory of the “Fab Four.”

Now, in one sweeping 15-hour program, listeners get the highlights of these two cultural phenomena from an expert on all things ‘60s. Those who lived it will be rewarded with insider behind-the-scenes perspective and an abundance of fresh details. Those too young to remember will now never forget the tragedy and triumph that is NASA’s Race to the Moon and the Beatles’ ascent to superstardom. 

Lending relevancy and poignancy, this timely audio edition of Into the Sky with Diamonds coincides with the 50th anniversary of seminal events related to NASA (e.g. the Apollo 13 mission) and the Beatles (their break up, the release of their final album Let it Be as well as the documentary film of the same name). All the more exciting, the book can provide an entertaining, overarching historical background for Walt Disney’s long-anticipated The Beatles: Get Back, award-winning director Peter Jackson’s reworking of the documentary Let it Be.

©2020 Ronald Grelsamer (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

Critic Reviews

“In this audiobook…the real star is narrator Graham Halstead. He adds drama to the space flights - successes and failures - and his exceptional delivery of the Liverpool accents of the Fab Four and their real-life aide-de-camp, Mal Evans, enliven the listening experience…Halstead takes a modest work of historical fiction and makes it better through adept mimicry, fine pacing, and personal style. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” (AudioFile)

"Two of the most defining developments of the sixties, the Space Race and the Beatles rise to fame, "come together" in this fictional memoir that takes off when a young NASA engineer encounters a rock band roadie, Mal Evans, in Hamburg. As both stories unfold in this delightful and informative romp through the '60s, they intersect in surprising ways, treating the listener to a magical mystery tour of science and music." (Dennis Elsas, iconic rock radio personality, Sirius/XM and WFUV) 

"Into The Sky With Diamonds recounts two of the most inspiring moments in human history — the rise of the Beatles and their messages of Love with the rise of the NASA Space Program and its message of Hope. So it should be no surprise that a book about singing and soaring would do exactly the same in audiobook format. The details of the extraordinary highlights of both phenomena are voiced by the talented Graham Halstead in this roller coaster ride of success and failure that is intrinsic to both stories. Not only does Halstead seamlessly voice the two narrators: Everyman NASA engineer Dutch Richtman and the real-life working class Beatles Mr. Fixit from Liverpool, Mal Evans, he performs a multitude of historical figures with aplomb. Among them are the NASA astronauts and ground personnel, U.S. Presidents, each of the Beatles as well as members of their entourage. Listening to this story is simply the best way to fly Into The Sky With Diamonds! I encourage everyone to take this trip.” (Vivek J. Tiwary, award-winning Broadway producer (Jagged Little Pill, American Idiot) and author of the #1 New York Times best seller The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

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