Ward, Bob 1934- (Robert J. Ward)

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Ward, Bob 1934- (Robert J. Ward)

PERSONAL:

Born July 29, 1934.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Huntsville, AL.

CAREER:

Journalist. Huntsville Times, Huntsville, AL, managing editor and editor-in-chief.

WRITINGS:

Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher Von Braun, foreword by John Glenn, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Bob Ward is a journalist. Born on July 29, 1934, Ward eventually began working in Alabama, putting him close to one of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's facilities. He served as the managing editor and editor-in-chief of Alabama's Huntsville Times.

Ward published his first book, Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher Von Braun, with a foreword by John Glenn in 2005. The account is a biography of the German engineer Wernher von Braun, who was responsible for inspiring a number of advances in the American aeronautics industry. The biography takes into account von Braun's personal relationship with associates, his contributions to the United States' early space program, his work with the Nazis during World War II, and his charismatic personality in the public sphere. Ward collected his information from over one hundred interviews, as well as archival material and personal encounters.

A contributor writing on Technocrat.net, called the book "commendably objective," adding that "Ward has given us a vivid portrait of a nerd with people skills whose entire life was bent to putting humans in space, regardless of the ethical or financial cost." The same contributor noted, however, that "there's a glaring omission. Von Braun's working hours, waking hours, and dreams were dedicated to debugging rockets. There should have been much more coverage of rocket technology. A biography of von Braun that doesn't explore rocket technology is like a book about Pope Paul that only has a few words about the Catholic Church." A contributor to Publishers Weekly observed that "a clear picture of von Braun's enormous charisma, intellect and personality does come through" in this biography. A contributor to the SciTech Book News found that the author "covers the many sides of this complex, driven man," using "extensive archival research." Booklist contributor Bryce Christensen described the account as "a book sure to narrow the disputes separating von Braun's admirers from his detractors." Rick W. Sturdevant, reviewing the book in Air Power History, wrote that "both its strengths and weaknesses render Dr. Space a worthwhile book about a fascinating, historically important person. This biography includes little-known or new details, affords unique insights, and raises intriguing questions about von Braun and his times. It also offers a perfect example of why future scholars will revisit the man." Writing in Library Journal, Nancy R. Curtis noted that readers looking for an analysis of von Braun's character "will be sorely disappointed." Nevertheless, Curtis felt the book contained "extensive new research."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Air Power History, fall, 2006, Rick W. Sturdevant, review of Dr. Space: The Life of Wernher Von Braun, p. 58.

Army, September 1, 2006, Kevin M. Hymel, review of Dr. Space, p. 107.

Booklist, May 1, 2004, Bryce Christensen, review of Dr. Space, p. 1533.

Journal of Military History, October 1, 2006, Rainer Eisfeld, review of Dr. Space, p. 1177.

Library Journal, May 15, 2005, Nancy R. Curtis, review of Dr. Space, p. 143.

Publishers Weekly, May 9, 2005, review of Dr. Space, p. 60.

SciTech Book News, September 1, 2005, review of Dr. Space.

Technology and Culture, April 1, 2006, Tom D. Crouch, review of Dr. Space, p. 455.

ONLINE

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Web site,http://www.nasa.gov/ (August 11, 2008), author profile.

Technocrat.net,http://technocrat.net/ (April 17, 2006), review of Dr. Space.

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Ward, Bob 1934- (Robert J. Ward)

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