The incredible true story of Frank Malina, the man who first launched a rocket into space–but was written out of American history because of his ties to Communism during the McCarthy era.
Most history books contain no mention of Frank Malina, the man who founded NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, who built the first rocket ever launched into extraterrestrial space, and whose overall scientific achievements rank with those of the Wright brothers.
Malina can’t be found in the history books, but the FBI has a thick file on him. He was a committed Communist, and his political life eventually overwhelmed his considerable scientific one. It led to tension with his government superiors, ultimately getting him fired; it determined the fate of his marriage, which ended in divorce; and eventually forced him to flee the country.
This rich, dramatic story is told here by Fraser MacDonald, a historian of science with a deep command of this material and a flair for storytelling. His prose is confident and wryly funny, never failing to catch a fascinating detail. Based on a wealth of newly discovered information, this book will make you rethink the story of humanity’s greatest achievement.