It’s impossible to write about the history of rocketry without writing about Wernher von Braun. Von Braun is, alas, the dominant figure. His V-2 rocket is certainly the most important progenitor of modern launch vehicles but it is not the only one. And it bothers me that von Braun has become such a hegemon in historical studies of rocketry that other characters and other rockets struggle to get the attention they deserve. Still, if Weapons of Mass Destruction have a Genesis account, it is probably the story of von Braun and the V-2. Easily the best rendering is to be found in the outstanding scholarship of Michael Neufeld at NASM. But if you need the one minute version it is hard to beat the Tom Lehrer classic.