Stuttgart: K. Thienemanns Verlag. 1928. First edition. Octavo, pp.108. Publisher's linen spine over paper covered illustrated boards. Illustrated, I might add, with rockets and racing cars(!), and printed in that adorable gothic black letter that makes every single book from that period of German publishing history look as if its sole purpose is to resurrect the dead and use their shambling ravenous corpses for world domination. This one is definitely about rockets though. Gail was a noted author and journalist of the time with an enormous interest in rocketry and space travel, he penned several speculative novels with stirring titles like "By Rocket to The Moon." and was close friends with Max Valier, the crazy genius German rocketry pioneer who wrote the foreward to this particular work and whose portrait forms its frontispiece. Looking exactly like the kind of chap who might say "I wonder what would happen if I strapped a massive alcohol fuelled rocket to this racing car and went that way really fast?" and even more like the kind of chap who would actually do such a thing. Herr Valier was dead a year after the publication of this book, at the age of 35, having unfortunately asked himself the question "What if I strap this extremely powerful rocket to my workbench and switch it on?" A rare, fascinating and somewhat poignant work considering that all this hope, thought and genius madcappery were to be taken and used to break the world just a short decade later. Item #42863
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