Baron Wernher von Braun is one of the most controversial men in history. While he was responsible for the V-2 missile which caused devastation and killed thousands during WW2, he is also celebrated as the man who flew us to the moon in Apollo 11. Was he good or bad? A very murky line still clouds the truth. Not helped by the fact that there was a very suspicious lack of documentation in regard to his wartime activities. Official paperwork which it is debated, he deliberately destroyed, that would have answered the question of whether he was, in fact, an active member of the SS who brutalized prisoners at the infamous Dora Concentration Camp or simply a scientist doing his duty who bore no direct responsibility for the horrors of the Third Reich. The issue has never been resolved, but either way, there is no doubt that America actively turned a blind eye to his possible war crimes to secure his services. There was post war evidence that well before war’s end, von Braun and his associates attempted to broker a deal with America’s GE Corporation with a view to offering them their expertise in regard to future rocketry. Von Braun’s switching of allegiance from one country to another proved to be a long, hard road. One fought in the desolated desert of New Mexico and against the dyed-in-the-wool prejudice of America’s deep South. He, however, had a relentless drive and fought with a passion to achieve his dreams of space and to sell them to the public. He was a brilliant, charming man, who had it all. Too much, those who were jealous of his worldwide celebrity and genius would say. In both Germany and America, theirs was an unremitting campaign to bring him down and von Braun forever had an uphill battle combating the malicious envy of others and the endless accusations of his Nazi past. The question remains: Was he guilty or innocent? And will this book’s intriguing new insights finally clear his name?
Australian author, Paula Astridge, was born in the NSW country town of Inverell in 1958. Based in Sydney, she worked for Rolling Stone Magazine and the Newspaper Industry before co-founding a successful Advertising Agency and then pursuing her writing career on a full-time basis. Her first three books: Golden Boy, In the Way of the Reich and Kill The Fuhrer focused on WW2, respectively profiling the controversial Albert Speer; Hermann and Albert Goering; and the German conspirators of the failed attempt on Adolf Hitler’s life in 1944. Moving then to concentrate on the largely unknown role Australia has played in world history, her next two books: Waltzing Dixie and Bad Hand tackled, in turn, the untold story of the men from Australia who fought in the American Civil War, and the final solution to the mystery of Fletcher Christian after the Bounty mutiny. Both books piqued interest in the film industry and Bad Hand was nominated for the prestigious UK Mountbatten Literary Award by the First Lord of the Admiralty. Her sixth book: Scallywag and now the release of her seventh: Rocket Man return to WW2: the first, delving into the murky world of Allied espionage and the mysterious wartime disappearance of Flight 777 over the Bay of Biscay; while Rocket Man probes into the story of Baron von Braun – the controversial inventor of the V-2 rocket which devastated London and the Apollo 11 which flew us to the moon. It is the unresolved question of him possibly escaping punishment for war crimes, however, which makes this book a must read.