384 pages, no illustrations
Wernher von Braun, the father of modern rocketry, is a hero to some and villain to others. After seven years of investigation, veteran aerospace journalist Bob Ward has rejected the extremes and presents a revealing, even-handed portrait of the one-time Nazi Party member who brought the United States into the Space Age. From the young German aristocrat's leadership role in the development of the world's first ballistic missile - the infamous V-2 rocket used against the Allies during the invasion of Europe - to his successes in the United States after the war, a picture of von Braun emerges as a brilliant scientist with limitless curiosity and a drive to achieve his goals at almost any price. Ward sheds new light on von Braun's extraordinary contributions to launching the first US satellite and winning the 'Moon race' with the Saturn V super-booster that powered Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins, and their successors to the lunar surface. A gregarious night owl, von Braun also played the piano and cello, mastered scuba diving, flew an array of aircraft, spoke several languages, became a serious amateur astronomer, and was an avid reader and conversationalist, as much at ease discussing Nietzsche as nuclear fission.
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