A modest review of the book "The Rocket Men" by Rex Hall and David J. Shayler

Sven Grahn

The book "The Rocket Men" by Rex Hall and David J. Shayler was published by Springer-Praxis Verlag in 2001, ISBN 1-85233-391-X.


The subtitle of this book is "Vostok & Voskhod, The first Soviet manned Spaceflights". For me, this book reads as a story of my boyhood and adolescence. That is how closely I followed these events. I lived and breathed the space missions. Reading about the real story behind Vostok & Voskhod is therefore an intensely personal experience. "The Rocket Men" is not the only book about this period, just let me mention Asif Siddiqi's "Challenge to Apollo", but it is the most complete about these particular flights. So, for us that grew up with these heroic spaceflights the book reads as a love story.

The book pleasantly combines information from many sources (including myself) without getting tedious. The book contains many photographs, both well known and "new". In addition, Dave Wood's fantastic line drawings give life to the story (see for example the drawing of  the ejection seat leaving Vostok on p. 82)

So, I can really recommend this book. However, a review is not complete without mentioning errors, shortcomings and interesting questions raised by the book. Let me start with errors and shortcomings.



Interesting questions raised

Early sputniks and Vostok test flights Gagarin's flight Vostok-3/4 flight Vostok-5/6 flight Voskhod flights Miscellaneous

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