One of the most exhilarating true adventures in history, the race into space was marked by courage, duplicity, political paranoia, astonishing technological feats, and unbelievable triumphs in the face of overwhelming adversity. It is the story of an unparalleled rivalry between superpowers and of the two remarkable men at the center of the conflict. On the American side was Wernher von Braun, the camera-friendly former Nazi scientist, who was granted hero status and almost unlimited resources by a government panicked at the thought of the Cold War enemy taking the lead. The Soviet program was headed by Sergei Korolev, a former political prisoner whose identity was a closely guarded state secret. Korolev was expected to—and did—work miracles on a shoestring budget, his cooperation assured through intimidation and threats of possible disgrace or death. These rivals were opposite in every way, save for one: each was obsessed with the idea of launching a man to the Moon.
Deborah Cadbury's extraordinary history combines action and suspense with a moving portrayal of the space race's human dimension. Using source materials never before available, she tells a riveting story of the espionage, ambition, ingenuity, and passion behind humankind's mind-bending voyage beyond the bounds of Earth.