A tale that rewrites the story of America's early space effort delights Alice Gorman

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

Abstract

A tale that rewrites the story of America's early space effort delights Alice Gorman Escape from Earth: A Secret History of the Space Rocket By Fraser MacDonald Profile Books, 368pp, £20.00 ISBN 9781781259702 Published 27 June 2019 If you think you know the story of the space race, think again. In the 1940s, Malina was a student at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he became the centre of a group making a sounding rocket to study the unknown regions of the upper atmosphere. The pair's research led to the foundation of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If you think you know the story of the space race, think again. This book has it all: rocket scientists, wild magicians, duplicitous psychoanalysts, Scientologists, spies, Communists, love, vengeance and atom bombs. It's a meticulously researched yet immensely readable story of the personalities and politics of the early space age in America. But it is not the usual tale recounted in documentaries and museum exhibitions. Wernher von Braun and Robert Goddard, generally considered the parents of the US space programme, are not the heroes here. This is about a quieter man and a little-known rocket: Frank Malina and the WAC Corporal, the first US rocket truly to reach outer space.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Volume2415
Specialist publicationTimes Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Space -- History
  • Escape from Earth
  • Fraser MacDonald
  • Book Review
  • Space race
  • NASA
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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