Race to the Moon: America's Duel with the Soviets

Race to the Moon: America's Duel with the Soviets

by William B. Breuer


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Race to the Moon is a suspenseful thriller about the 30-year clash between the United States and the Soviet Union to be the first to put a man on the moon. This true account is heavy with intrigue, espionage, and controversy. Beginning with a 1961 pledge by President John F. Kennedy to plant the Stars and Stripes on the lunar surface by the end of the decade, the story flashes back to the first days of World War II. At that time, England was tipped off by a high Nazi official that the Third Reich was developing revolutionary long-range rockets.

This same source clandestinely provided documents that shocked British scientists: The Germans were 25 years ahead of England and the United States in rocket development! And then, in September 1944, 60-foot-long V-2 rockets, for which there was no defense, began raining down on London, causing enormous destruction and loss of life. Even while the fighting was still raging in Germany in the spring of 1945, a handful of young U.S. Army officers scored a colossal coup: They connived to steal 100 of the huge V-2s that had been found in an underground factory. They were dismantled and slipped by train out of Germany, destination White Sands, New Mexico. Then began a no-holds-barred search for German rocket scientists in the chaos of a defeated Third Reich, with the Americans and British on one side and the Russians on the other. Within weeks of the close of the war, Wernher von Braun and 126 of his rocket team members were corraled, shipped to the United States, and began working secretly on missile development. At the same time, the Soviets literally kidnapped other German rocket scientists and sent them to Russia to continue their space work. In the years ahead, Wernher von Braun and his German rocket team, nearly all of whom became naturalized citizens of the United States, collaborated with American scientists to overcome enormous space achievements by the Soviets—and bungling by Washington politicians—to send Neil Armstrong scampering about on the moon in 1969.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780275944810
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/27/1993
Pages: 232
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

WILLIAM B. BREUER landed with the first assault waves in Normandy on D-Day, then fought across Europe. Later, he founded a daily newspaper in Rolla, Missouri, and after that, a highly successful public relations firm in St. Louis. He has been writing books full time since 1982, twelve of which are now in paperback, and eight of which have become main selections of the Military Book Club.

Table of Contents

"This Great New American Enterprise"

The Oslo Mystery Package

"Today the Space Ship Was Born!"

A Bitter Clash of Viewpoints

Operation Hydra

The Gestapo Strikes at Midnight

The Polish Underground Steals a V-2

The Great Treasure Hunt Begins

"Germany Has Lost the War!"

Journey to the Bavarian Alps

Discovery at Kohnstein Mountain

"They're 25 Years Ahead of Us!"

Smuggling a Trainload of Missile Experts

Threats and Blackmail

Rattlesnakes, Tarantulas, and Guided Missiles

Operation Osvakim: A Mass Kidnapping

A Fateful "Wrong Decision"

Billy Mitchell of the Space Age

Goldstone Has the Bird!

"I'm Tired of America Being Second!"

An Astronaut is Missing

"But Why, Some Say, the Moon?"

A Christmas Eve Spectacular

"The Eagle Has Landed!"




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