Thursday, September 16, 2010
Von Braun, Dreamer of Space Engineer of War, by Michael J Neufeld.
This was a pretty good book. It gave a pretty comprehensive look at one of the most influntial men in the history of rocket and space travel.
I think Von Braun could be compared to Oppenheimer who headed up the American atomic bomb program. A brilliant mind who could bring together many engineering disciplines and overcome the many problems to get a rocket going.
Their is no doubt that Von Braun lifetime dream was space travel. Yet, this is where it is interesting, he had to make compromises along the way. For both the Nazis and the Americans his sales pitch was often how rockets could be made as instruments of war.
His Nazi past clouds his many accomplishments, membership to the SS, the V2 production lines in the slave labour camps in the caves of 'Dora'.
The book missed much of what I wanted to know about the man. I would have been more interested in his Christian conversion (Was it to redeem his past...), What was he like as a father? did he show signs of remorse?
I found the book often got off topic with more of NASA's funding worries and the US space program than Von Braun.