Rockets and People: Volume 1, by Boris Chertok. Published by NASA. PDF, free.
Reviewed by Veronique Greenwood
Cultural critics may bemoan the Internet's effect on our ability to remember, but one has to admit that, as a collective mental filing cabinet, it has its good sides.
This place we've built is immense and variegated, full of stray details and forgotten databases. It is a thick and tangled memory-bank, to mix science metaphors, full of brightly colored plants and stones and tiny parasitic mushrooms clutched in a net of sphagnum moss. For the intrepid e-naturalist, there are great treasures to be found here.
Or at least great curiosities. I think that's what I'd call the memoirs of a rocket designer who was born in the age of the tsars and spent years in the secret Soviet space program, masterminding the control systems of some of the earliest spacecraft.