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[i] Neufeld writes with economy and dispatch, and the narrative moves quickly, particularly in the early going. Although von Braun's surviving German colleagues refused to grant interviews, Neufeld's mastery of available German material and memoirs, coupled with the records of post-World War II debriefings and the harrowing recollections of former French prisoners-of-war at the Nordhausen V-2 plant, give von Braun's German period a vivid immediacy.
The book, however, frequently glosses over the engineering challenges faced by early rocketeers and the techniques and hardware developed by von Braun and others to resolve them. Aficionados will immediately notice this shortcoming, and even the uninitiated will occasionally wonder how seemingly intractable problems are suddenly overcome 10 pages later. Also missing are details about von Braun's personal life. The family has never granted interviews, and readers will be curious about his 1947 marriage, almost sight unseen, to his 18-year-old first cousin and his born-again conversion to evangelical Protestantism around the same time.
The American half of von Braun's life will be more familiar to U.S. readers. Neufeld focuses considerable attention on von Braun's career as the U.S. space program's designated visionary, contrasting his public triumphs with continued but sporadic embarrassments about his Nazi past.[/i]
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