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Space Race: The Untold Story of Two Rivals and Their Struggle for the Moon [Hardcover]

Deborah Cadbury
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Sep 2005

From the author of ‘Seven Wonders of the Industrial World’, another highly anticipated TV tie-in charting the shocking but true story behind the space race – and the ruthless, brilliant scientists who fuelled it.

The end of the Cold War finally reveals a generation of secrets and cover-ups, bringing a historical opportunity: the unmasking of the true heroes and villains behind the biggest race of mankind.

This is one of the greatest stories in world history, beginning in the bloody throes of the Second World War and spanning through to the moon landings. With the two superpowers pitched against one another during the Cold War, this is the race to create the most powerful rocket and dominate the world, culminating in 1969's 'giant leap for mankind'. The most pioneering and high-risk experiments ever undertaken cost untold millions – and hundreds of lives as mistakes were made, some too horrific to be made public.

It is a tale that plays out against a backdrop of communism and espionage. Buried within this multi-million-dollar battle between nations are the dramatic accounts of the individuals whose passion to be the winner of this dream at any cost. With ex-Nazi Wernher von Braun on the American side pitted against the enigmatic Sergei Korolev on the Soviet side, this revealing new history shows the extent to which politics and personal ambition combined to create an explosive race for the glory of victory.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; First Edition, First Impression edition (5 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007209959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007209958
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 608,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


‘Lucid, pacy and readable.’ New Statesman

‘This fascinating book illuminates the complex relations between Germany, America and Russia during the space race of the Cold War years…”The Space Race” is much sharper than the usual television tie-in … Heroes, villains and victims populate this gripping story.’ Daily Telegraph

Praise for Deborah Cadbury:

‘The Lost King of France’:
'This is history as it should be. It is stunningly written, I could not put it down. This is the best account of the French Revolution I have ever read.' Alison Weir

‘The Dinosaur Hunters’:
'Beautifully structured and sympathetically narrated, Cadbury's book benefits from having a subject that successfully brings together science, suspense and sentiment. Something for everyone, then.' Sunday Times

About the Author

Deborah Cadbury is the award-winning TV science producer for the BBC, including Horizon for which she won an Emmy . She is also the highly-acclaimed author of ‘The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World’, ‘The Feminisation of Nature’, ‘The Dinosaur Hunters’, ‘The Lost King of France’ and ‘Space Race’.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 26 Jun 2006
Having an interest in all things involved in space I was eager to read this book although I did expect it to be a hard read that the history books that I have read in the past.
Imagine my suprise therefore when I started reading it and found myself engrossed in it form thte outset.
It tracks the progress of the space programmes in the US and in the USSR mainly concentrating on the two chief rocket designers in the seperate countries. This book reads like a novel and is often filled with more background information (the power struggles that existed with the soviets for example are particularly interesting) than was expected. This is good as it gives a fuller account of the people involved in the two programmes.
The book finishes quite abruptly with the landing of the Apollo 11 mission. This is no so much of a problem as the mission signified the end of the space race and has been covered well in many other books. However, there seems to be more of an emphasis on the soviet space programme. Reasons for this may be due to the fact that much of the information regarding the soviet programme was kept classified for a long period of time whereas the American space programme was a very public affair.
Finally this is a well written book that reads much more like a novel than a historic account on the 20-30 years prior to the Apollo 11 landing. This is a book that would therefore appeal to all who have an interest in the space race.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! really enjoyable read 6 Oct 2005
By T Drew
This book is really fascinating to anyone who is interested in the "space race" the author has done a wonderful job of showing the human sides of the amazing people who build and flew in these rockets. It's far more detailed then the TV series and is certainly a good companion to accompany it. From the moment I got this book in my hands I couldn't put it down. It's the best book I have read since Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" I will defiantly be looking into other works by this author
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Two Instruments of Fate 31 Oct 2006
Reading this story, one finds it hard to shake off the feeling that there was some kind of fate in the stories of both Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev. Both were energetic, brilliant space visionaries, with the clout and charisma to see their dreams through, both should have died young, in the conflagrations of Stalin purge and war respectively, yet they didn't ... and was it a coincidence that both ended up on each side of the Cold War superpower divide, so both had both the political and monetary backing necessary to achieve their hugely expensive dreams? It was as if Something had decreed that it was necessary for humankind to get into space, and therefore Korolev and von Braun were selected by it to lead the way.

Cadbury's book is a captivating and clear-eyed account of this extraordinary tale. It is so good to see, at long last, a book that is not exclusively concerned with the American side of things, we are all getting a bit bored with that. Wonderful as it was, the American venture was not the only one, and it was, in any case, nowhere near as interesting as the Russian story. Due to the hardships the Russians endured, their tale has a depth and poignancy lacking in that of their rivals, not least because of the fact that Sergei Korolev was so much more attractive a personality than von Braun. Cadbury describes Korolev's suffering at the hands of Stalin's minions with great sensitivity, and her account of his early death is quite heartbreaking.

However, there are some caveats.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as a novel 17 Jan 2006
By the elf
This was bought for me as a gift and to be honest I expected it to join others of a similar vein on the bookshelf and stay there. Not so, I picked it up and find it so hard to put down. Not technical, not boring historical facts but easy to read and very interesting, if you're into this sort of thing. So well told you'd never believe that it was all true.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars race to space 19 April 2007
Written to accompany the bbc series of the same name, this is a non fiction book that relates the story of the american and russian race to be furthest ahead with their space programme. Starting at the end of the second world war and ending with the first moon landing, it tells the story by focussing on the two chief designers, von braun in america and korolev in russia.

Having seen and liked the tv series I thought this would just be a retread of that and I wouldn't get anything else out of it, but it turned to be quite an engrossing read. The style of the writing is good enough to make this work as a book in it's own right, rather than just a transcript of the tv show. An enjoyable and engrossing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Deborah Cadbury.... 4 Jan 2006
By A Customer
Having read some of her previous books, I read this one purely on the basis that it was written by Deborah Cadbury. As with her other books, she takes a piece of history and weaves the 'human' stories around it. This is a gripping story - even though you know the end results, it is unputdownable as the race between America and Russia speeds up. Who will put a man in space first? Who will land on the moon first?
For anyone interested in a 'what happened next?' I would suggest reading 'What do you care what other people think?' by Richard P Feynman which includes a substantial section on the American Space Shuttle diaster in the 1980's.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Crammed full of wonderful stuff
I loved this book - stands on its own or as a companion too the TV series - Honestly - you wont regret buying it
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
An excellent book with very interesting facts, have always been interested in the space race, its really an eye opener for anyone who is unfamiliar with all the details and how it... Read more
Published 13 months ago by patk
5.0 out of 5 stars For a friend.
My friend asked me to buy her this so she could use it in her a level history coursework, she used it, didn't complain so Im assuming it must be good. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2011 by Mr. Connor Brailsford
4.0 out of 5 stars The whole story?
Being a child of the early 60s, I grew up during the Space Race. Like many around my age, my dad got me out of bed during the early hours of the morning to watch the moon... Read more
Published on 9 Dec 2009 by S. Horrigan
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read
Entertaining review of the post-war space race between the US and the Soviet Union, told primarily through the eyes of the two men who led the teams designing each country's... Read more
Published on 26 May 2009 by lifeclearout
4.0 out of 5 stars And across the line...
Deborah's way of telling this amazing story really makes you feel as if you're in the race, or a spectator at least. Read more
Published on 8 Nov 2008 by J. A. van Biljon
3.0 out of 5 stars Get the physics right!
I found that the reading and enjoyment of this book somewhat marred by the type of basic A level physics mistakes commonly made by my students when they do not consider the... Read more
Published on 18 Nov 2007 by Mr. Adrian R. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Space Race
It was the greatest race of the 20th century ... the race to rule the heavens ... a race between the two superpowers, Russia and the USA. Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2006 by J. Otto
2.0 out of 5 stars Space Race?
I should have realized when I picked up the book that I was wasting my money. The title is “Space Race: The untold story of two rivals & their struggle for the... Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2006 by Susan Anonstrom
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