It’s not all fun and games and retrorockets when you’re researching the space race. An obituary in the Times today, here, covers the life of Konrad Dannenberg, a father of Apollo, and takes a reader into one of the more morally murky aspects of the beginnings of the American space program, Operation Paperclip, the recruitment of German rocket scientists at the end of World War II.
In the popular culture of the space race era, one can see an America both impressed by these former adversaries, and made uneasy by them. On the impressed side of the ledger, consider Werner von Braun’s stature as a major public figure and his influential series about the potential of manned space flight in Collier’s Magazine. See some of those articles here. For unease, listen to a biting song by Tom Lehrer about von Braun here, or watch Peter Seller’s darkly hilarious Dr. Strangelove here.
And, no, there are no Dr. Strangelove references in Moonshot. This is the sort of background material that does not make it into the book when you’re writing for the four-and-up crowd.