Fascinated by the space race? Then this is a good place to find out how it all started.
Its a behind-the-scenes (or maybe behind-the-iron-curtain?) look at the intense competition that spurred on the race for space: the great rivalries between the US and USSR, the US Army and Air Force, Khrushchev and Eisenhower, even the rivalry between the Allies and Axis powers in the war. They all play into mankind’s first foray into the Space Age.
There are some brilliant characters in here: former Nazi scientist turned US rocket expert Wernher von Braun; Soviet engineer Sergei Korolev – a man so secret he lived in a place that didn’t exist; and a relatively unknown soldier called General Medaris.
In fact, this description of Medaris is probably my favourite bit of the book:
Despite the best efforts of these guys, the star of the show is the Soviet satellite, Sputnik.
Any way, this book is super detailed (Brzezinski has really done his research here), and can be heavy going at times – but if you stick with it, its worth it.
NB – not really relavent in this review, but listening to Public Service Broadcasting’s album, The Race for Space while reading it, is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.