From the author of ‘Seven Wonders of the Industrial World’, the ebook edition of the TV tie-in charting the shocking but true story behind the space race – and the ruthless, brilliant scientists who fuelled it.
With the end of the Cold War it is now possible to reveal its generation of secrets and cover-ups, bringing an historical opportunity: the unmasking of the true heroes and villains behind the race to be the first to conquer space.
This is one of the greatest stories in history, beginning in the throes of the Second World War and spanning through to the moon landings. With the US and Russia pitched against one another during the Cold War, it was the race to create the most powerful rocket and dominate the world, culminating in 1969's 'giant leap for mankind'. The most pioneering and high-risk experiments ever undertaken cost untold millions – and hundreds of lives, as mistakes were made, some too horrific to be made public.
It is a tale that plays out against a backdrop of communism and espionage. Buried within this multi-million-dollar battle between nations, are the dramatic accounts of the individuals who seek to be the winners at any cost. With ex-Nazi Wernher von Braun on the American side pitted against the enigmatic Sergei Korolev on the Soviet side, this revealing new history shows the extent to which politics and personal ambition combined to create an explosive race for the glory of victory.
Note that it has not been possible to include the same picture content that appeared in the original print version.
‘Lucid, pacy and readable.’ Bryan Appleyard, New Statesman
‘This fascinating book illuminates the complex relations between Germany, America and Russia during the space race of the Cold War years…’The Space Race’ is much sharper than the usual television tie-in … Heroes, villains and victims populate this gripping story.’ Maggie Gee, Daily Telegraph
Praise for Deborah Cadbury:
‘The Lost King of France’:
'This is history as it should be. It is stunningly written, I could not put it down. This is the best account of the French Revolution I have ever read.' Alison Weir
‘The Dinosaur Hunters’:
'Beautifully structured and sympathetically narrated, Cadbury's book benefits from having a subject that successfully brings together science, suspense and sentiment. Something for everyone, then.' Miranda Seymour, Sunday Times
About the author
Deborah Cadbury is the award-winning TV science producer for the BBC, including Horizon for which she won an Emmy. She is also the highly- acclaimed author of ‘The Feminisation of Nature’ and ‘The Dinosaur Hunters’.
Cadbury (Dreams of Iron and Steel) focuses on two men "obsessed by the same vision... locked in an unparalleled contest" to reach outer space: one is the cold, charismatic Wernher von Braun, but the soul of this finely honed, consistently compelling tale (the basis for a National Geographic channel series to air in June) belongs to Sergei Korolev. Korolev survived Stalin's gulag to become the mythical chief designer of the Soviet space program for 20 years. Driven to beat the Americans, Korolev and his team of long-suffering scientists and technicians, working with inadequate funding, threw together spacecraft of dubious quality and launched them into space. While von Braun's reputation has suffered immeasurably from the release of secret files revealing his use of slave labor under the Nazis, Korolev, though unacknowledged in his lifetime, today remains a hero in Russia. In the end this is a cautionary tale, a story of what happens when the dreams of humankind are hijacked by the darker aspirations of politics: the space shuttle still flies and the ICBMs still wait in their silos, and we are left to wonder at what price we soar to the heavens. 8 pages of color and 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.