Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space

Deborah Cadbury, Author . HarperCollins $24.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-06-084553-7

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 . (May)

Reviewed on: 01/16/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 372 pages - 978-0-00-720995-8
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-00-720994-1
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-06-117628-9
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