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Black Space (ePub)

The Nazi Superweapons That Launched Humanity Into Orbit

Colour eBooks Military Photographic eBooks WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By David Axe
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 23.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781399014243
Published: 6th March 2023


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Orbital fortresses poised to fry entire cities with no warning using giant mirrors. Bombers that take off from Earth, punch through the thin border between the atmosphere and vacuum and take advantage of that lofty altitude to speed across the globe on missions of mass destruction.

These and other exotic orbital weapons were under consideration, or even active development, in the early decades of humanity’s push into space.

And no wonder. The era of frantic, dueling, American and Soviet space-exploration efforts -- which stretched from the end of World War II to the United States’ successful Moon landing in July 1969 -- had its roots in Nazi Germany, a country that pinned its hope for global conquest on equally ambitious superweapons.

In the decades following World War II, the top scientists in the U.S. and Soviet space programs were ex-Nazis—most notably rocket-designer Wernher von Braun, who sided with the Americans. The basic technologies of the space race derived from Nazi superweapons, in particular von Braun’s V-2 rocket.

But orbital war never broke out in those heady decades of intense space competition. It’s possible to triangulate the moment the seemingly inevitable became evitable. July 29, 1958. The day U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower reluctantly signed the law creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Starting that day, the U.S. military gradually ceded to NASA, a civilian agency, leadership of American efforts in space. Even von Braun, once a leading advocate of orbital warfare, went along. Space-based superweapons and their architects, and the high-stakes politics that reined them in, are the subject of this brief book.

A very interesting book on how the Americans developed their space technology and advanced as a superpower. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in space exploration and technology.

NetGalley, Lional Jones

Informatively enhanced for the reader with the inclusion of a four page listing of Sources and a nine page Index, "Black Space: The Nazi Superweapons That Launched Humanity Into Orbit" is an impressively informed and seminal work of meticulous research resulting in a significant and appreciated addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library Space Age Military Aviation and Weapons Technology collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Black Space by David Axe brings a lot of commonly known (but largely overlooked) details and new information together into a fascinating narrative that sheds light on just how willing we are to dance with the devil if we perceive a benefit.

NetGalley, Jack Messer

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

As featured in

The Bookseller, Jan 23

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I really liked the idea behind this book, I have been interested in space and all things associated with it now for several years and I am always keen to read any new releases as I do find it fascinating.

I, along with most people who have an interest in the topic will be aware, I would assume, of the background to who really was the main player behind the development of getting the United States to the Moon and that he was a former member of the Nazi party and had been the lead on the development of their V2 “vengeance weapons”.

I liked the order that the book followed and that it was chronological in terms of the development and the different victories that were achieved initially by the USSR and then by the United States which culminated and peaked with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing and taking the first steps on the Moon.

The details shared on Operation Paperclip were great, very informative and you don’t get bogged down in too much detail. The chapters are concise, and the detail shared is key to the topic and I did learn quite a bit from that section which I really enjoyed.

I will say that the author quite clearly has a bit of a “dislike” towards Wernher von Braun who was technically a civilian scientist alongside being in the Nazi Party and that did come across in the book on several occasions, but he has back up the reasons why, including expanding on the details of the attempts made to rehabilitate him and to be honest it didn’t put me off reading the book.

As with the author, I will be honest that I do have my own views and I do think that von Braun should really have been tried with the other members of his party as it was his V2 rocket development that caused thousands of deaths, not only from those that were on the receiving end of the rocket, but those forced to work as slave labour during the construction and development. I think that the book could well be an eye opener for quite a few people.

I thought that this book was an easy read, the chapters were well laid out and the photographs and images used really linked the past of the development to the future and the ultimate target, which was landing on the Moon, and beating the USSR to it. It is 5 stars from me for this one.

NetGalley, Donna Maguire

About David Axe

DAVID AXE is a journalist, historian, filmmaker and former war correspondent. A prolific contributor to Forbes, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone and many other publications, David has also directed independent movies including the horror-comedy Bae Wolf. David has written and edited several nonfiction books, most recently the graphic novel war memoir Machete Squad and the Pen & Sword book Drone War: Vietnam.

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