An investigation of the roots of the first moon landing forty years ago, "Dark Side of the Moon" reaches back to the reactionary modernism of the Third Reich, using the life of Wernher von Braun as its narrative path through the crumbling of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Nazi regime. Von Braun, an opportunist who could apply only tunnel vision to his meteoric career, stands as an archetype of myriad twentieth-century technologists who thrived under regimes of military secrecy and unlimited money. His transformation from developer of the V-2 ballistic missile for Hitler to an American celebrity, as the supposed genius behind the golden years of the US space programme in the 1950s and 1960s, raises questions about the culture of the Cold War, the shared values of technology in totalitarian and democratic societies, and the imperatives of material progress.
Wayne Biddle was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and educated at Cornell University, where he studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate and was a graduate student in the English department's master of fine arts program. He has been a contributing editor at Harper's magazine, a reporter for The New York Times (where he won a Pulitzer prize for writing about the "Star Wars" anti-missile system), and a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Technical University in Berlin. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the American Medical Writers Association, the National Press Club, and the Newspaper Guild of New York.
Visit his website at waynebiddle.com