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Michael J. Neufeld, curator and space historian at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, delivers a brilliantly nuanced biography of Wernher von Braun.
Chief rocket engineer of the Third Reich and one of the fathers of the U.S. space program, Wernher von Braun is a source of consistent fascination. Glorified as a visionary and vilified as a war criminal, he was a man of profound moral complexities, whose intelligence and charisma were coupled with an enormous and, some would say, blinding ambition. Based on new sources, Neufeld’s biography delivers a meticulously researched and authoritative portrait of the creator of the V-2 rocket and his times, detailing how he was a man caught between morality and progress, between his dreams of the heavens and the earthbound realities of his life.
“Neufeld’s Von Braun surpasses all previous books about the man. . . . Deeply researched, vigorously written, and balanced in its judgments.”—Daniel J. Kevles, The Boston Globe
“A serious, important book that does justice to its subject's moral complexity and place in history. It details what happened and why during the race to the moon.” —M.G. Lord, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Neufeld has a deep understanding of the technical and human challenges von Braun faced in leading the U.S. space program and lucidly explains his role in navigating the personal and public politics, management challenges and engineering problems that had to be solved before landing men on the moon.” —Publishers Weekly
“The defining work on a still-controversial figure.”—Kirkus
“Neufeld’s judicious portrait of von Braun’s outstanding qualities and his moral compromises promises to become a space-history mainstay.”—Booklist
“Neufeld’s very deep research provides rich new insights into all phases of [von Braun’s] life. . . . Convincing, balanced, and insightful. In Micheal Neufeld, in fact, von Braun at las has a biographer who is able to do justice to his remarkable life. . . . With his superb Von Braun, Michael Neufeld has staked a claime to be the author of the second great work of space history.” —Robert W. Smith, Isis