From Publishers Weekly
Based on previously untapped sources, Neufeld's comprehensive history of German rocket research and development during WWII includes an analysis of Hitler's indirect involvement with the Peenemunde-based project and SS chief Heinrich Himmler's ultimate domination of it. The study reveals how the decision came about to use slave labor from the concentration camps to manufacture the terrifying "buzz bombs" that, according to Neufeld, had minimal effect on the course of the war. He presents solid evidence that the project's technical director-Wernher von Braun, who later headed NASA's rock booster program-was an SS officer, and describes his 1944 arrest accused of sabotaging the A-4 project by concentrating more on space flight than on his duties. Von Braun was freed after several days. The author discusses the postwar rebirth of the rocket program at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., where von Braun and several of his Peenemunde colleagues played a historic role in the development of the intercontinental ballistic missile and the space-launch vehicle. Neufeld, curator of WWII history at the National Air and Space Museum, has written a major study of the Nazi rocket program. Illustrations.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Neufeld, the curator of World War II history at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., provides a well-written, comprehensively researched analysis of Nazi Germany's missile program and its antecedents. The German army became interested in rocket technology during the 1930s at the urging of Karl Becker, an engineer who believed a radical new weapon could deliver a psychological blow to an enemy. The construction of Peenemunde in 1936-37 provided a focal point for research and development that made guided missiles a reality despite Germany's limited material and scientific resources. Neufeld shows that while the rocket program was not Nazi in origin, its leaders readily compromised themselves by accepting National Socialism, especially in agreeing to the widespread use of slave labor. A more ambiguous legacy of Peenemunde is its rocket technology, which decisively shaped the second half of the 20th century. For academic collections.D.E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.