RDS Library & Archives

MacDonald, Fraser, 1972-

Escape from earth : the secret history of the space rocket / Fraser MacDonald. - 371 p. , 16 unnumbered pages of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

California -- The suicide squad -- Facts and fancies -- Unit 122 -- War games -- Give the fascists hell -- The way of the beast -- Enterprise -- The quest for space -- The shrinks -- The problem of escape -- These terrible times -- Definite Leftists -- Degradation Ceremonies -- The coffee can -- Taking the fifth -- The Rosenberg connection -- Light engineering -- Afterword.

Escape from earth is the untold story of the engineers, dreamers and rebels who started the American space programme. In particular, it is the story of Frank Malina, founder of what became Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the scientist who cracked the, as he called it, problem of escape from the Earth by rocket.

It's a wild ride. Jack Parsons, Malina's chemistry-expert research partner, was a bed-hopping occultist with delusions of grandeur. We get all the horrible details: drug parties and sex magic, cameos by Aleister Crowley and L Ron Hubbard, and an ill-fated attempt to start a mail-order religion.

Armed with hitherto unpublished letters, journals, and documents from the Malina family archives, Fraser MacDonald reveals what we didn't know. Jack Parsons betrayed Frank Malina to the FBI, cooperating fully in their investigation of Malina for un-American activities. The Jet Propulsion Lab's second director secretly denounced Frank as a Communist. Frank's research group had close ties to the spy network of the infamous Rosenbergs - the only Americans executed during the Red Scare. This is a story of soaring ideals entangled in the most human of complications: infidelity and divorce, betrayal and treason.



9781781259702 : (hbk.) £20.00

GBB962351 bnb

019347163 Uk


Malina, Frank J.
Parsons, Jack, 1914-1952


Jet Propulsion Laboratory (U.S.)--History.


Astronautics--History.--United States--20th century.
Communism--History--United States--20th century.
Aeronautical engineers--Biography.

629.40922

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