This is how America's first intercontinental ballistics missile came into being--the ATLAS--which hit a speed upwards of 18,000 miles per hour when it was used to orbit the famous ""talking satellite"" that broadcast President Eisenhower's Christmas message all over the world in December, 1958. In a clear style that makes much technical information palatable and interesting, the author describes the Atlas' derivation from the German ""flying stove pipes"", and how the brilliant team of American engineers at Convair, in spite of early disinterest in high places, literally had to create a rocket technology from scratch as they worked to produce a multi-stage rocket that could safely project a hydrogen warhead a prescribed 5,500 miles. Here is the step by step process of how this was done...the men who inspired it, designed the component parts, tested the prototypes, struggled with the inevitable ""bugs"", tested and retested rocket engines, guidance systems and launching methods. An inspiring and often dramatic narrative of American ingenuity and technological success, this can be read by anyone--teen-ager to grandfather-- who wants to know all about one of the first great space-age vehicles. For bookstores and libraries who are seriously interested in rocketry and astronautics.