Space Race by Deborah Cadbury
The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space

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Synopsis

The story of the race into space is marked by the greatest superpower rivalries, political paranoia, and technological feats of the twentieth century. But until now, we have known only half the story. With the end of the cold war, decades of secrets have been exposed, bringing with them a remarkable opportunity: the unmasking of the true heroes and villains behind one of the most exciting races in history.

At the center of this exhilarating, fast-paced account are Wernher von Braun, the camera-friendly former Nazi scientist who led the American rocket design team, and Sergei Korolev, the chief Soviet designer and former political prisoner whose identity was a closely guarded state secret. These rivals were opposite in every way, save for one: each was obsessed by the idea of launching a man to the Moon. Korolev told his wife, "In every century men were looking into the sky and dreaming. And now I'm close to the greatest dream of mankind."

In attempting to fulfill this dream, Korolev was initially hampered by a budget so small that his engineers were forced to repurpose cardboard boxes as drafting tables. Von Braun, meanwhile, was eventually granted almost limitless access to funds by an American government panicked at the thought that their cold war enemy might take the lead in the exploration of space. Korolev, whose family life was destroyed by his long sentence in the Gulag, was constantly aware that any false move would finish his career or even his life. His rival, on the other hand, enjoyed remarkable celebrity in America and was even the subject of a 1960 biopic.

In this extraordinary book, Deborah Cadbury combines sheeradventure and nail-biting suspense with a moving portrayal of the space race's human dimension. Using source materials never before seen, she reveals that the essential story of the cold war is a mind-bending voyage beyond the bounds of the Earth, one marked by espionage, ambition, ingenuity, and passion.

 

About Deborah Cadbury

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Deborah Cadbury is the highly acclaimed author of several books, including Dreams of Iron and Steel, The Lost King of France, and Terrible Lizard. She has also won numerous international awards as a television producer for the BBC. She lives in London.
 
Published June 26, 2007 by Harper Perennial. 400 pages
Genres: History, Computers & Technology, Arts & Photography, Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Science writer Cadbury (Terrible Lizard, 2001, etc.) also produced a four-part BBC/National Geographic series about the 12-year competition between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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BC Books

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Cadbury tells the story by alternating in each chapter between Wernher von Braun and the American program and the Soviet program during roughly the same time period with a focus on von Braun's Soviet counterpart, Sergei Korolev.

May 08 2006 | Read Full Review of Space Race: The Epic Battle B...

Monsters and Critics

Korolev was denounced during the second world war and sent to the gulags to dig ditches until, as the war neared its end, the Soviets realized they needed him for the next war: the war for supremacy in space.

May 30 2006 | Read Full Review of Space Race: The Epic Battle B...

The Space Review

Even without Sputnik and Gagarin, and even without Von Braun, it is likely that the US would have launched some sort of space exploration program in the 1960s.

Mar 27 2006 | Read Full Review of Space Race: The Epic Battle B...

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