The V2 was a costly, grim success: the rockets killed about 2,700 men, women and children and injured 6,500. Approximately 20,000 houses were destroyed and 580,000 damaged. Recognising the Germans’ knack with rocketry, the United States recruited about 1,000 of them with appropriate technical skills. Von Braun was eager to take his talents to America. As this excellent novel makes clear, he was a perfect model for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove.