Willy Ley inspired young rocket scientists and would-be astronauts around the world to imagine a future of interplanetary travel long before space shuttles existed. This is the first biography of the science writer and rocketeer who predicted and boosted the rise of the Space Age. Born in Germany, Ley became involved in amateur rocketry until the field was taken over by the Nazis. He fled to America, where he forged a new life as a weapons expert and journalist during World War II and as a rocket researcher after the war. As America's foremost authority on rockets, missiles, and space travel, he authored books and scientific articles, while also regularly writing for science fiction pulp magazines and publishing what he termed romantic zoology--a blend of zoology, cryptozoology, history, and mythology. He even consulted for television's Tom Corbett, Space Cadet and the Disney program Man in Space, thrilling audiences with a romanticized view of what spaceflight would be like. Yet as astronauts took center stage and scientific intellectuals such as Wernher von Braun became influential during the space race, Ley lost his celebrity status. With an old-fashioned style of popular writing and eccentric perspectives influenced by romanticism and science fiction, he was ignored by younger historians. This book returns Willy Ley to his rightful place as the energizer of an era--a time when scientists and science popularizers mixed ranks and shared the spotlight so that our far-fetched, fantastic dreams could turn into the reality of tomorrow.