David Clary - Another view of Goddard

Vol. 2, No. 1 - Winter 2004

On November 11, 2003, author David Clary spoke at Clark University and at the Tatnuck Bookseller promoting his biography of Robert Goddard, Rocket Man.

Clary's view of Goddard's life differs from that which is commonly presented. Clary's premise is that although Goddard was often depicted as a shy, reclusive scientist, he was in reality a prima donna who zealously pursued publicity in order to protect his accomplishments from being claimed by other rocket scientists, especially those in Germany and Russia. It is difficult to reconcile the view that Goddard, on the one hand, was seeking recognition, as Clary claims, while at the same time was secretive about his work. In balanced biography, Clary does credit Goddard with being the first rocket scientist to translate his theories into concrete models, some of which had profound effects on both battlefield and space rocketry.

As Albert B. Southwick states in his article in the Sunday Telegram, January 4, 2004: "Given that kind of achievement, does it matter that Robert Goddard was egoistic, paranoid, narcissistic and sometime hard to get along with (as Clary contends)? I don't think so. Mr. Clary has produced a well-rounded portrait of an extraordinary individual."

Read Clary's Rocket Man and learn more about this extraordinary man.