Korolev How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat


  • Paperback
  • 432 pages
  • Korolev How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon
  • James Harford
  • English
  • 23 June 2015
  • 9780471327219

10 thoughts on “Korolev How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon

  1. Lisa Lisa says:

    If you don't know who Sergei Pavlovich Korlev was you should He was the mastermind behind the Soviet space effort the man responsible for Sputnik His efforts kept the Soviets ahead in the space race until his death in 1966 This would be remarkable enough on its own but his story becomes still remarkable when you realize that he survived being denounced and consigned to the Stalinist gulag only to be rehabilitated and ultimately become integral to rocket and missile design efforts under Stalin and to subseuently head the space program And he did all this in the utmost secrecy his contributions to history were not publicly acknowledged until after his deathThis book was an excellent look at Korolev relying heavily on Soviet sources not widely available at the time the book was written in the early 1990s including both official accounts as well as interviews with those who knew him If it suffers from a flaw it is that the author is perhaps too eager to uote these sources in full and at length Also at times it is tricky to remember if one is reading an account of the Soviet space program or a biography of the man running it it is almost as if the author got caught up with the former only to realize shortly before Korolev's death that he must return to the latter as the man's time was cut short


  2. Jeffrey Williams Jeffrey Williams says:

    If you are not familiar with the space race between the US and Soviet Union from 1946 1969 this book would bore you If you have a degree of familiarity with the subject this tome will fascinate you Harford does a fabulous job in his depiction of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev the Chief Designer of the Soviet space program He was able to interview several of the engineers and designers who worked under Korolev who died in 1969 shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union By utilizing these rare oral histories from the actual participants mixed with his review of archival documentation and his knowledge in rocketry he weaves together a fact based account of the life of one of the most important people in the history of the space race If there is a detriment to the book it would be that his technical expertise comes in during discussions of rockets and rocket engines Without prior knowledge of the intricacies of rocket dynamics the information becomes meaningless to the readerHaving an extensive interest and curiosity into the space race and with having read numerous volumes on the topic prior to picking this book up I rate it five stars


  3. Mike Mike says:

    As someone who read up on the US space program as a kid especially reading over and over the National Geographic issues at my great aunt's house As an adult I can go deeper into the US stories to learn the ups and downs the characters that became national heros flying out into the blackMore recently is an interest in the Soviet space program at the same time It can be hard to separate the men and the myths Especially from the Soviet era But there are authors who have pierced the veil to give the Soviet efforts their dueHere is a biography of Korolev the mastermind behind Soviet rocketry space efforts The author has taken great strides in getting at Soviet archives and interviewing people directly involved in the space program including his daughter Those interviews are just gold as they help paint a portrait of a man on who's shoulders rode many mankind firsts Be forewarned though This book can be dry in places The writing academic at times You will probably get lost in all of the names But at the end I feel you'll know have a greater appreciation for what he had to overcomeFrom the book I have a greater appreciation of just how crazy their space program was at the time With rudimentary computer hardware and heavy electronics they were able to automate uite a bit These days we'd run software on processors but in those days there wasn't a Space OS The Soviets were big on automating as much as possible and testing it that way before putting men in the loop But at the same time they cut corners in order to be first My take is that the firsts were one offs in order to claim the achievement than the stair step method of incremental expansion of the envelope Korolev tried to deal with this knowledge debt but with a severely limited budget overworked people and a NASA Apollo effort that tapped into country wide talent he could never have one the race to the Moon The Soviet effort was super secret so less sharing of data hiding of failures from the publicThe outcome of the Soviet program was a family of launchers that still operate today They are super reliable though not as technically elegant as former NASA designs With this book done I have two on the Soviet programs especially around the N 1L 1


  4. Lee Adams Lee Adams says:

    This book was both boring yet extremely fascinating The abundance of Soviet names acronyms rocket technology and the like made this book uite slow going but taken as a whole the book is fantastic I'm amazed at the level of research that went into this and have a whole difference perspective of the space race The American side built up the race to be a neck and neck affair coming right down to Apollo 11 but this book peels the Soviet onion at the massive bureaucratic technological and financial limitations that really caused a chasm in the two programs much earlier than I was previously led to believe The timing of the writing 1997 fell nicely in line with Soviet Glasnost and allowed the author to conduct plenty of firsthand interviews with Russians who worked in the Soviet space program in the 1950's and 1960's The timing was also interesting talking about the dream of teaming up with the Americans and others on the grand project of the ISS Spoiler it happens Maybe not the best book for the weekend space dork but really cool for anyone interested in really seeing what was going on behind the iron curtain


  5. Kaspars Laizans Kaspars Laizans says:

    Could be that it's the only comprehensive book on Korolev in English haven't looked around BUT the book is only partially about the man himself and his work I would say about 12 or 23 on the Space Race topic and how Soviet developments compared to US including tables and charts Those who are able to read Russian might be interested in reading one of his main referenced works by YGolovanov can't guarantee that it's better but it's definitely thicker And next on my reading listThe narrative is good reasonable amount of technical details


  6. Brian Brian says:

    Attempts to straddle the line between character study and history book Definitely falls into the latter category Harford clearly has a great affinity for the subject but the material still comes off as very dry


  7. Phil Smith Phil Smith says:

    A good biography of Sergei Korolev chief engineer responsible for OBK 1 design bureau during the early part of the Space Race Korolev was a key ingredient in the enormously successful space shots of the USSR beginning with the R 7 launch system Sputnik follow on satellites and payloads Vostok which took Gagarin up in April 1961 Voskhod and Soyuz He was also in charge of the ill fated N 1 lunar launch vehicle system but since he died in 1966 that program and the Soviet space efforts in general suffered greatly An important book about a man who was kept secret frokm the world until the late 1990s


  8. A Cheung A Cheung says:

    A very rare and extremely well researchedwritten account on the history of Soviet space era There is nobody in the US or any other places where one person is responsible for tasks stretching from management design fabrication launch and control of all manned and unmanned programs in a space program The book is like a fresh breeze different from the abundant historical accounts of US space program


  9. Paul Kinzer Paul Kinzer says:

    Excellent biography of Sergei Pavlovich Korolev Thoroughly researched through archives and numerous interviews of Korolev's contemporaries Highly detailed yet still an engaging read for space geeks


  10. Cedoleban Cedoleban says:

    A fascinating look at the central figure in the Soviet space program told by a space race insider Having interviewed nearly everyone who was associated with the Soviet program and willing to discuss their role this book stands apart from other Soviet space race narratives for its readability


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Korolev How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive to Beat America to the Moon How One Man Masterminded the Soviet Drive Beat America to the Moon Fascinating packed with technical and historical detail for the space expert and enthusiast alike Great stuff New Scientist In this exceptional book James Harford pieces together a most compelling and well written tale Must reading Space News Through masterful research and an engaging narrative style James Harford gives the world its first in depth look at the man who should rightly be called the father of the Soviet space program Norman R Augustine CEO Lockheed Martin In Korolev James Harford has written a masterly biography of this enigmatic 'Chief Designer' whose role the Soviets kept secret for fear that Western agents might 'get at' him Daily Telegraph Harford's fluency in Russian and his intimate knowledge of space technology give us insights that few if any Americans and Russians have had into this dark history of Soviet space Dr Herbert Friedman Chief Scientist Hulburt Center for Space Research Naval Research Laboratory Reveals the complex driven personality of a man who despite unjust imprisonment in the Gulag toiled tirelessly for the Soviet military industrial complex More than just a biography this is also a history of the Soviet space program at the height of the Cold War Highly recommended Library Journal For decades the identity of the Russian Chief Designer who shocked the world with the launching of the first Sputnik was one of the Soviet Union's best kept secrets This book tells vividly the story of that man Sergei Korolev in remarkable detail with many facts and anecdotes previously unavailable to the West Sergei Khrushchev Visiting Senior Fellow Center for Foreign Policy Development