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Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age
     

Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age

5.0 2
by David A. Clary
 

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Now in paperback, the life and legacy of the much-overlooked yet highly influential Robert Goddard—the brilliant, eccentric, and controversial pioneer of the space age.

More famous in his day than Einstein or Edison, the troubled, solitary genius Robert H. Goddard was the American father of rocketry and space flight, launching the world's first liquid

Overview

Now in paperback, the life and legacy of the much-overlooked yet highly influential Robert Goddard—the brilliant, eccentric, and controversial pioneer of the space age.

More famous in his day than Einstein or Edison, the troubled, solitary genius Robert H. Goddard was the American father of rocketry and space flight, launching the world's first liquid-fuel rockets and the first powered vehicles to break the sound barrier. Supported by Charles Lindbergh and Harry Guggenheim, he devised the methods that carried men to the moon. Today, no rocket or jet plane can fly without his inventions.

Yet Goddard is the "forgotten man" of the Space Age. After the Germans launched the V-2 missiles of World War II, the American government usurped his 214 patents and suppressed his contributions in the name of national security, until it was forced to pay one million dollars for patent infringement. Goddard became famous again; monuments and medals raining upon his memory. But his renewed fame soon faded, and Goddard's pivotal role in launching the Space Age has been largely forgotten—until now.

Editorial Reviews

Chris Kraft
Goddard's stick-to-itiveness nature is evident . . . reminder of what it takes to persevere and make significant contribution to science.
Arthur C. Clarke
Rocket Man is a long overdue tribute to one of the greatest engineers of the 20th Century . . .
James A. Lovell
Robert Goddard was the visionary who laid the path for America's ventures into space and Rocket Man is the story of his dream.
Publishers Weekly
Americans of the WWII generation will probably recognize the name of Massachusetts-born scientist Robert Goddard (1882-1945), who frequently made the pages of American newspapers and magazines in the 1930s with his rocket experiments outside Roswell, N.Mex. Baby boomers and their children, however, may never have heard of this pioneer in the construction of liquid-fuel rockets. Clary, former chief historian of the U.S. Forest Service, attempts to clean Goddard's biography of the varnish applied in earlier biographies supervised by the scientist's widow and his close friend Charles Lindbergh. Goddard emerges here as a paradoxical man who relentlessly promoted his work, winning hundreds of thousands of dollars in Guggenheim grants, while shunning offers to collaborate with other scientists. Clary presents a clear and relatively straightforward narrative of his subject's life, but the book is undermined by his inclination to be a detail-oriented documentarian (describing every launch and its outcome) rather than taking the broader view of a historian. If readers skipped the book's last few pages, where the author sums up the significance of Goddard's work for rocket science, they might come away thinking that he was just another New England crank with a flair for self-promotion. Clary also fails to confront directly the question of whether Goddard's drinking habits undermined his work or just his health. Nevertheless, readers who come to this generally well-written biography with some knowledge of Goddard's significance will find much of interest to fill out their knowledge of this complex and fascinating scientist for whom NASA's Goddard Space Center is named. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Jim Donovan. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"This well-researched portrait cements Goddard's status as a hero in the history of space technology." (Booklist)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786887057
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
08/11/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
584,068
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

David A. Clary, former chief historian of the U.S. Forest Service, is the author of numerous books and other publications on military and scientific history. He has served as consultant to several government agencies and teaches history at Eastern New Mexico University at Roswell, where he resides.

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Rocket Man: Robert H. Goddard and the Birth of the Space Age 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine who's nuts about all things that fly gave me Rocket Man and insisted I read it. I expected a boring old science bio, but I was surprised by how interesting and well-written it is. Goddard was this Cassandra-like, paranoid genius. Nobody ever believed that his rockets would fly, that his rockets would the be future of airplanes and weapons, and that rockets would take man to the moon. His achievements were pretty amazine, but the really interesting part of his story is what he didn't get to do, because he was too suspicious of the government and other scientists. This book is really good, and not just space-nuts and model rocket builders will like it.