RACE TO THE MOON by William B. Breuer


America's Duel with the Soviets
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 Another smasher by Breuer, who specializes in thrilling reports of WW II spycraft and warfare (Geronimo!, Sea Wolf, Hitler's Undercover War--all 1989, etc.). World War II? What does that have to do with the moon? Quite a lot, especially in Breuer's version: Fully half of his text is a dramatic account of German rocketry in 1939-45, when Nazi scientists, led by the young and brilliant Wernher von Braun, developed the V-1 buzz bombs and V-2 rockets that rained terror in the skies of England. Plots and counterplots abound as the Nazis set up their missile shop in PeenemÅnde and the Allies try to knock it down (at one point launching 4000 airmen and nearly the entire British air force in a massive raid), while von Braun, who dreams of extraterrestrial travel, complains that his rockets are landing ``on the wrong planet.'' Himmler arrests von Braun; Speer frees him; Hitler goofs by aiming V-2s at London instead of port cities; as the Third Reich collapses, von Braun and 150 engineers surrender to bewildered GIs, explaining that they want to help America land on the moon. Meanwhile, Stalin's troops pull off ``the most far-reaching and bizarre mass kidnapping in 20th century Europe,'' sealing entire cities and combing them for rocket experts (20,000 fall into the net) to ship to Mother Russia. The space race is on. Breuer runs professionally through the postwar decades, from early White Sands testing to Armstrong's boots in the lunar dust, but this part of the story has been told before (although Breuer confirms that von Braun was ready to launch a satellite months before Sputnik put egg on our face, but was blocked by military squabbling). Crackerjack war adventures--and, in this case, the moon's the limit. (Twenty-nine photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-275-94481-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Praeger
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993


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