Saturday, October 18, 2003

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

Yes, another space history book! This is a remarkable treatment of a remarkable man. Robert Goddard is one of the fathers of the space age. Along with Tsiolkovsky and Oberth, Goddard founded the science and engineering of modern rocketry. Neither the Russian or German did any practical application of their theories, but then Goddard never achieved as much as he might have, had he relinquished a proprietary interest in all rocketry.

Clary does a great job in recounting the history of a great man and his achievments. He also does well at the needed separation of the mythical from the real in Goddard's life. He does this sympathetically, but makes clear (I think) that Goddard was his own obstacle in many ways.

Very good! Now on to something lighter - some space opera, not history! (Though I have a history of the early Russian manned space program on hand).