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In the Shadow of the Moon: America, Russia, and the Hidden Story of the Space Race



by
Amy Cherrix

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
HarperCollins
Imprint
Balzer + Bray
ISBN
9780062888754
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Genocide , Violence: Death
$21.42   $17.85
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JLG Category

History High

An exhilarating dive into the secret history of humankind’s race to the moon, from acclaimed author Amy Cherrix. For fans of Bomb and Symphony for the City of the Dead.

You’ve heard of the space race, but do you know the whole story?

The most ambitious race humankind has ever undertaken was masterminded in the shadows by two engineers on opposite sides of the Cold War: Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi officer living in the US, and Sergei Korolev, a Russian rocket designer once jailed for crimes against his country—and your textbooks probably never told you.

These two brilliant but controversial rocketeers never met, yet together they reshaped spaceflight and warfare. From Stalin’s brutal gulags and Hitler’s concentration camps to Cape Canaveral and beyond, their simultaneous quests pushed science—and human ingenuity—to the breaking point.

Von Braun became an American hero, recognized the world over, while Korolev toiled in obscurity. But as each of these men altered human history, they were eclipsed by their troubled pasts, living out their lives in the shadow of the same moon that drove them to such astonishing feats of scientific achievement.

From Amy Cherrix comes the extraordinary hidden story of the space race and the bitter rivalry that took humankind to the moon.“Note to a Reluctant Reader.” Author’s note. Bibliography. Endnotes. Index.

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
Violence: Genocide , Violence: Death

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

336

Trim Size

8 3/10" x 5 1/2"

Dewey

629.409

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

Apr 2021

Book Genres

Autobiography/Biography, Narrative Nonfiction

Topics

Technology. Aeronautics, astronautics, and space science. History of science. Science and technology. Cold War. The Soviet Union. Space race. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Nazism. Wernher von Braun (1912–1977). Sergei Pavlovich Korolev (1907–1966).

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–This title provides a fascinating look at the early space race and the two engineers who led the technological innovations. Wernher von Braun was a German-born high-ranking Nazi official and SS officer, who developed Germany’s devastating V-2 missiles. V-2s were built at factories using forced labor; von Braun worked at Mittelwerk, a production facility where countless prisoners suffered and died. At the close of World War II, top German engineers knew the future of rocketry would involve either the Soviets or Americans. Von Braun chose the Americans and surrendered in May 1945. U.S. policy mandated that former SS officers would not be accepted into the States, but von Braun’s knowledge was too extensive to dismiss. His background was quietly classified and not released for decades. Von Braun and his team later developed the Saturn rockets, which gave him celebrity status in the U.S. Meanwhile, as a young man, Sergei Korolev refused to implicate a coworker with false allegations during Stalin’s Great Purge and was arrested. He barely survived a Soviet gulag and was sent to a work prison. In the 1950s, the Soviets classified his name when he developed the Sputnik rocket. The text adds depth to the history of the space race, with thoughtful, ethical discussions of the U.S. concealing von Braun’s history to further its agenda. The back matter is extensive. ­VERDICT This book contains numerous interesting biographical and technological facts, which results in an engaging, fast-paced narrative that will delight readers of history and space technology. A worthy addition to all libraries serving teens.–Karen Bilton, Franklin Township P.L., NJ

Horn Book

Starting with an intriguing preface, Cherrix informs her audience that the space race was in fact run “in the shadows by a former Nazi and a Russian who was jailed for crimes against his country.” The former Nazi, Wernher von Braun, had created the deadliest weapon in Hitler’s arsenal (the V-2 missile), and through a classified U.S. government program known as Operation Paperclip was able to bypass the U.S. immigration system in exchange for scientific intelligence. In the Soviet Union, Sergei Korolev was a Russian engineer and victim of Stalin’s secret police force who had spent roughly five years falsely imprisoned in various Gulags until his release and acceptance of a mission to develop a Soviet missile program. Von Braun’s and Korolev’s subsequent parallel careers are the focus of Cherrix’s suspenseful, engaging narrative. Political and social context are ever present, and connections are frequently drawn between the scientists’ work and historical events—such as World War II, the Korean War, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War. Frequent quotes are effectively woven throughout the text, while occasional historical photographs (many unseen) and sidebars feature key subjects. Significantly, the scientific accomplishments of these two men are shadowed by the reality that their work (sustained by government propaganda/secrecy campaigns) led to needless deaths and the existential threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This eye-opening look into a typically venerated aspect of American history is a stark reminder, as stated by Cherrix, that “scientific advancement comes at a price.” Extensive back matter includes an author’s note, acknowledgments, a bibliography, endnotes, and an index. PATRICK GALL

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–This title provides a fascinating look at the early space race and the two engineers who led the technological innovations. Wernher von Braun was a German-born high-ranking Nazi official and SS officer, who developed Germany’s devastating V-2 missiles. V-2s were built at factories using forced labor; von Braun worked at Mittelwerk, a production facility where countless prisoners suffered and died. At the close of World War II, top German engineers knew the future of rocketry would involve either the Soviets or Americans. Von Braun chose the Americans and surrendered in May 1945. U.S. policy mandated that former SS officers would not be accepted into the States, but von Braun’s knowledge was too extensive to dismiss. His background was quietly classified and not released for decades. Von Braun and his team later developed the Saturn rockets, which gave him celebrity status in the U.S. Meanwhile, as a young man, Sergei Korolev refused to implicate a coworker with false allegations during Stalin’s Great Purge and was arrested. He barely survived a Soviet gulag and was sent to a work prison. In the 1950s, the Soviets classified his name when he developed the Sputnik rocket. The text adds depth to the history of the space race, with thoughtful, ethical discussions of the U.S. concealing von Braun’s history to further its agenda. The back matter is extensive. ­VERDICT This book contains numerous interesting biographical and technological facts, which results in an engaging, fast-paced narrative that will delight readers of history and space technology. A worthy addition to all libraries serving teens.–Karen Bilton, Franklin Township P.L., NJ

Horn Book

Starting with an intriguing preface, Cherrix informs her audience that the space race was in fact run “in the shadows by a former Nazi and a Russian who was jailed for crimes against his country.” The former Nazi, Wernher von Braun, had created the deadliest weapon in Hitler’s arsenal (the V-2 missile), and through a classified U.S. government program known as Operation Paperclip was able to bypass the U.S. immigration system in exchange for scientific intelligence. In the Soviet Union, Sergei Korolev was a Russian engineer and victim of Stalin’s secret police force who had spent roughly five years falsely imprisoned in various Gulags until his release and acceptance of a mission to develop a Soviet missile program. Von Braun’s and Korolev’s subsequent parallel careers are the focus of Cherrix’s suspenseful, engaging narrative. Political and social context are ever present, and connections are frequently drawn between the scientists’ work and historical events—such as World War II, the Korean War, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War. Frequent quotes are effectively woven throughout the text, while occasional historical photographs (many unseen) and sidebars feature key subjects. Significantly, the scientific accomplishments of these two men are shadowed by the reality that their work (sustained by government propaganda/secrecy campaigns) led to needless deaths and the existential threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This eye-opening look into a typically venerated aspect of American history is a stark reminder, as stated by Cherrix, that “scientific advancement comes at a price.” Extensive back matter includes an author’s note, acknowledgments, a bibliography, endnotes, and an index. PATRICK GALL

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