Books by James Harford
Korolev: How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon
by James Harford
The Americans may have put the first man on the Moon, but it was the Russians who put the first satellite into orbit and the first man into space. This book is about the life and work of the mastermind of the Soviet space programme, Sergei Korolev, who was kept anonymous until after his death in 1966.
As Tom Wolfe writes so memorably in The Right Stuff, "The Soviet program gave off an aura of sorcery. The Soviets released practically no figures, pictures or diagrams. And no names; it was revealed only that the Soviet program was guided by a mysterious individual known as "the Chief Designer." But his powers were indisputable! Every time the United States announced a great space experiment, the Chief Designer accomplished it first, in the most startling fashion."
This book reveals the fascinating man who was that Chief Designer, a survivor of the Stalinist purges in the 1930s and imprisonment in a gulag where 30% of prisoners died.