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Posted October 5, 2000
In 'How We Got to The Moon - The Story of the German Space Pioneers,' Marsha Freeman's relates a story not entirely unknown to devotees of space exploration. And yet her extensive interviews with many of the 'old-timers' from the Peenemunde days as well as research conducted in the Peenemunde archives in Munich and in the Oberth archives at the Herman Oberth Museum in Feucht have yielded some very important and fascinating new insights into the story. In that clear and eminently readable style that has served her so well in illuminating for the non-technical reader so many complicated and difficult technological subjects, Freeman succeeds in taking the reader through that panorama of events leading up to the 1969 Moon landing, from its simple origins in the scientific curiosity of a few amateur rocket enthusiasts, including a humble ethnic German teacher of mathematics in Romania who submitted the visions of Jules Verne to the rigor of mathematical calculation, to the launching of Saturn-V in July 1969. From the first initial experiments in a vacant field outside of Berlin in the 1920s, through the crucial experiments at Peenemunde and the follow-up experiments under U.S. direction at White Sands, Freeman follows the protagonists in their experiments and then in their efforts to mobilize popular support for an undertaking that would have its culmination on the launch-pad at Cape Canaveral. Although the main characters, in the story like Werner von Braun and Herman Oberth, are well known, some of the lesser known, but very significant figures, have really first been given their true significance in Freeman's story. The well-known science writer, Willy Ley, who helped illuminate the mysteries of science for the U.S. post-war generation, played a not unimportant role in the story. Also Krafft Ehricke, undoubtedly one of the most creative minds in the field of space science, was given some of his just due in Freeman's work. For those who want an introduction to this exciting story of man's voyage to the Moon, none could be more enjoyable or enlightening than Freeman's book. For those who know the story all to well, 'How We Got to the Moon' will undoubtedly prove a pleasant re-visiting of an old subject.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.