The Rocket and the Reich: Peenemünde and the Coming of the Ballistic Missle Era

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9780674776500: The Rocket and the Reich: Peenemünde and the Coming of the Ballistic Missle Era
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Launched by the Third Reich in late 1944, the first ballistic missile, the V-2, fell on London, Paris, and Antwerp after covering nearly two hundred miles in five minutes. The design and construction of this daring and deadly advance in weaponry took place at the German rocket development center at Peenemünde, a remote island off the Baltic Coast. Now, Michael J. Neufeld gives the first comprehensive and accurate account of the story behind one of the greatest engineering feats of World War II. At a time when rockets were minor battlefield weapons, Germany ushered in a new form of warfare that would bequeath a long legacy of terror to the Cold War era and a tactical legacy that remains essential today. Both democracy's and communism's ballistic missile and space programs, as well as the SCUD and Patriot missiles of the Gulf War, began in the service of the Nazi State.

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About the Author:

Michael J. Neufeld is Curator of World War II History at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Review:

One cannot study science and technology in the Third Reich without raising dangerous, difficult and important general questions about the relationship between knowledge and power, the moral responsibility of scientists and engineers, and the relationship between modernity and brutality...[Neufeld] has written the first complete history in English of the story of the German liquid-fuelled rocket programme...and does not shy away from these issues. (David Edgerton Nature)

Absorbing...This is a hard-hitting book, but is also a fair and scholarly one that does equal justice to all aspects of the German rocket program--technical, political, moral, and human. It bids fair to become the standard work on this subject for many years to come. (Richard J. Evans New York Times Book Review)

The German V-2 rockets that hit London in 1944 arrived silently, having covered 200 miles in five minutes. The Rocket and the Reich...is the astonishing story of their development and how the Allies tried to kill the development teams and destroy the factories. It is a dispassionate account, but one that builds excitement and tension in the reader. (New Scientist)

A truly remarkable, wonderful book. This history of German missile technology is a must...The author...has developed in a magnificent way the origins, motivations, technical development and advent of the German rockets...In a word, a very well written book. (The Space Book Board(Barcelona-based web site))

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