The history of the intensely secretive Soviet space program makes a riveting backdrop to this lucid biography of the dominant figure in that program, Sergei Korolev (1907-66). A brilliant engineer and superb organizer, Korolev also possessed the cynicism and political cunning necessary to get his work done and protect his staff from a government so paranoid he was forced to work in anonymity, known only as the Chief Designer. The author, himself an aerospace professional, interviewed many of Korolev's colleagues in Russia and brings to life both his enormous achievements and his earthy personality.
From Library Journal
In the late 1950s and early 1960s when the West was stunned by the space accomplishments of the Soviet Union, the identity of their "Chief Designer" was a state secret in keeping with the tradition of Russian national secrecy. It was not until his death at age 59 that the name of Sergei Korolev was revealed to the world for posthumous honor by his government. Through interviews with family members and former colleagues, Harford, executive director-emeritus, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, reveals the complex, driven personality of a man who, despite unjust imprisonment in the Gulag, toiled tirelessly for the Soviet military industrial complex. Harford clearly demonstrates that Korolev was literally the indispensable man behind the Soviet space program whose untimely death hobbled the Soviet effort to land men on the moon. More than just a biography, this is also history of the Soviet space program at the height of the Cold War. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.?Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.