Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon

Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon

Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon

Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon

Synopsis

Perhaps no one in history has played the role of scientist as celebrity with as much skill--and as much deception--as Wernher von Braun. America's leading rocket expert and most enthusiastic advocate of space travel, he had a closet full of secrets that would have shocked his colleagues and millions of admirers if they had been told during his lifetime. Wernher von Braun: The Man Who Sold the Moon is the first critical biography of the young German aristocrat who created Hitler's most advanced terror weapon, the V-2 rocket, and who came to the U.S. under the Army's Project Paperclip to develop missiles as a central weapon of the Cold War. The book reveals that factions of the U.S. Army, in their zeal to have von Braun's team of scientists working for American interests, covered up what they knew about his complicity in Nazi causes and abetted him in the perpetuation of the myth he carefully created about his past.

Excerpt

Wernher von Braun played the role of scientist as celebrity better than anyone of his era, including Albert Einstein. His story has been told many times by his friends, colleagues, admirers, and by himself. These accounts have always presented his life as he would have told it, yet he kept a closet full of secrets about his early career in Nazi Germany that would have horrified his admirers and those whose approval he courted.

During his sixty-five years, von Braun traveled through the technological, political, and moral terrain of the twentieth century on his journey to outer space. Most Americans knew that he designed the V-2 missile for Hitler's Germany, and most accepted his explanation that he was young and naive, that he worked with the Nazis in order to pursue his real interest, the development of rockets for the exploration of space, but that he had never believed in the Nazi cause. After the destruction of the Third Reich, von Braun came to America, where he worked first for the U.S. Army developing the missiles that were an essential armament of the Cold War, and later for NASA building the huge rockets that would take America into space and carry the Apollo astronauts to the moon.

Wernher von Braun presented an image of himself that many still remember: the aristocratic good looks, the smooth German accent, the authoritative air, the unashamed belief in science and technology, and the . . .

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