COUNTDOWN FOR DECISION by Gen. J.B. Medaris

COUNTDOWN FOR DECISION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Army's recently retired top missile-and-ballistics man, Major General Medaris, tells the story of the missiles race of the last five years, and makes some quite disturbing predictions about the future as well. Beginning with a brief personal history, coinciding with the development of rocketry through Dr. Robert Goddard and Werner von Braun, he then goes into long and specific detail of the years 1956-59, during which time he ran the rockets from the Redstone Arsenal and Cape Canaveral. Some of the heroes (including himself) are men like Colonel Nickerson, who prompted a congressional investigation; Secretary McElroy who could not make decisions between inter- service rocket rivalries; von Braun, who fought transfers out of the Army projects. Other heroes are the missiles themselves-- Nike, Bomarc, Jupiter, Titan, and a dozen more--whose history and sometimes frustrating failure Medaris recounts vividly. The launching of the first satellite in itself makes a bookfull of good material. The General of course sounds the alarm against complacency, and against bureaucracy, as most military writers do these days. Unless, he says, men of decision and intelligence are allowed to carry out a balanced, imaginative rocket program, the power will soon shift decidedly to Russia. Perhaps one-sided, but well worth reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 1960
Publisher: Putnam