WERNHER VON BRAUN: ROCKET ENGINEER by Helen B. Walters

WERNHER VON BRAUN: ROCKET ENGINEER

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The subject of this authorized biography for young people supplied his blessing to the facts in an Introduction. He also provided the clue to what it lacks. He says, ""...the perspective is quite different for a person directly involved in a tension-ridden drama from that of a writer reviewing it a decade or two later from the comfortable vantage point of an armchair."" Add to this comfortable view the usual liability of an authorized effort, where warts become dimples, and what you've got is the only book on Von Braun at this level. The chapters are headed with captions from Von Braun's writings and lectures. These suggest an eloquence that may make him his own best biographer. His adolescent start in rocketry and his single-minded rise to the top in this unique field are reported together with clear, elementary explanations of the technological advances he directed both in Germany and the U.S. The case for his total disengagement from the Nazi regime, for which he did important rocket research and production, seems overstated. His surrender to American rather than Russian or other Allied forces is not mined for the implicit critical, ideological and practical considerations the move entailed. Van Braun's career is happily given precedence over the facts of his family background and private life. There is a synoptic calendar of Von Braun's life, a bibliography and a glossary. To be illustrated with photographs and diagrams. This is it, on an attractive subject, until the real thing comes along.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1964
Publisher: Macmillan