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  Mailer's Moonfire (Was: Race to the Moon)

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Author Topic:   Mailer's Moonfire (Was: Race to the Moon)
cspg
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posted 11-07-2008 09:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Race to the Moon: Apollo 11
by Norman Mailer with photographs by Ralph Morse

List price: $1,500

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Taschen (July 20, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 3836511797
  • ISBN-13: 978-3836511797

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-07-2008 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Taschen, an art book publisher, is known for their limited edition publications.

According to Wikipedia, Taschen published the second most expensive book in publishing history, the $12,500, 75 pound, 700 page GOAT (Greatest of All Time), a tribute to Muhammad Ali which Der Spiegel called "the biggest, heaviest, most radiant thing ever printed in the history of civilization."

The $1,500 price tag on "The Race to the Moon" might be worth it though, as Taschen's books are highly praised for their quality and appeal. Their limited editions are also often signed, so it will be interesting to see who they may have worked with on this title...

GoesTo11
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posted 11-07-2008 12:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Guess I'd better start saving now...

heng44
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posted 03-10-2009 06:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A larger-than-life edition befitting the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing, pairing the iconic writing of Norman Mailer with the surprisingly intimate photographs of Ralph Morse, limited to 1969 copies. It has been called the single most historic event of the 20th century. On July 20, 1969 three men, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins heeded the call of President John F. Kennedy to land a man on the moon. Two men captured the men, the mood, and the machinery: Mailer and Morse. Given access to America space program, Morse spent fifteen years using inventive photography to explain the astronauts and the space flights to LIFEs readers. Selected from over 10,000 photographs from the LIFE vault, utilizing state of the art digital technology to restore the original photographic materials to the highest standards. The results of this effort create unparalleled intensity and range in the colors, and exquisite tone and density within the duotone images. Printed on archival-quality paper.
I understand that this is a shorter version of Mailer's 'Of A Fire On The Moon'. I also understand that Buzz Aldrin has agreed to sign the books, which would explain the steep price...

I was approached by the publisher to supply a certain photo and asked if I could get a copy of the book. Then I googled it and found out about the price... I was told I could probably get an (unsigned) copy anyway, but now they are first going to ask NASA for the photo.

Oh well, that's life.

GoesTo11
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posted 03-10-2009 10:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see that the cover art now on Amazon shows the book titled, rather more grandiosely, "From Planet Earth."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-02-2009 06:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The title has changed yet again: MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11.

Further, according to the Business Standard out of India, only 20 copies of this book are to be released, each to be packaged with a piece of a moon rock.

A coffee table book, Moonfire that chronicles the entire journey of Apollo 11 and its occupants - astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins landing on the moon - will be auctioned in Mumbai next month.

However, the book will not come cheap -- the base price would be no less than Rs 4 lakh.

Moonfire's claim to fame is that there are only 20 copies available in the world, of which a single copy will be brought into India. Moreover, a certified piece of moon rock - weighing around 30 grams - will be provided in a decorative ornamental casket along with the book.

The astronauts had returned to earth with around 5 kg of moon rock, and the piece to be given away is an original one.

GoesTo11
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posted 04-03-2009 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe I've missed something here (the article's English translation was so muddled, I can't be sure), but wouldn't such an offering require a heretofore unheard-of, and potentially very controversial, arrangement between the publisher and NASA? It's always been my understanding that the rock samples returned by Apollo missions have since either been stored in NASA vaults, on loan to researchers, or displayed in museums. I know that various mementos containing moon rock have been presented to individuals over the years such as dignitaries, heads of state, and key players in the Apollo program, and I know that some of these have made their way to the auction market... But this is different, isn't it?

There's either a lot more to this story... or nothing to it at all. And From Planet Earth, or Moonfire, or whatever it's called, is starting to resemble the "Bigfoot" of Apollo books.

heng44
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posted 04-05-2009 03:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To me it seems foolish to spend a lot of time and effort making a magnificent book, and then let only 20 people enjoy it...

It sounds like a book I would like to have, but not at that price. When they asked about using one of my photos I was led to believe that there will be a 'normal' edition as well.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-05-2009 07:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GoesTo11:
...wouldn't such an offering require a heretofore unheard-of, and potentially very controversial, arrangement between the publisher and NASA?
Yes, were it a moon rock retrieved by Apollo astronauts and not among the state owned goodwill gifts that were presented in 1971 and 1973.

Each of the goodwill gifts however, was no more than a gram, so if each of the 20 books comes with a 30 gram sample, we can rule out those as being the source.

Note that the article doesn't say that the lunar material included with the book was returned by astronauts, only that the Apollo crews brought back 5 kg (which is wrong; 842 pounds, or about 380 kg of moon rock was retrieved by Apollo in total).

My guess, is that the lunar material is from one or more meteorites.

cspg
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posted 04-24-2009 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazon now list the book for $1,000 with 1969 copies available signed by Aldrin.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2009 11:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Taschen release
New Book Release Taschen: MoonFire

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing, Taschen has paired Norman Mailer's seminal text with spectacular photography -- from the archives of NASA, LIFE magazine, and many other sources -- to create a unique tribute to the defining scientific mission of our time.

It has been called the single most historic event of the 20th century: On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins met John F. Kennedy's call for a manned Moon landing by the end of the 1960s. A decade of tests and training, a staff of 400,000 engineers and scientists, a budget of $24 billion, and the most powerful rocket ever launched all combined in an unprecedented event watched by millions of people the world over. And no one captured the men, the mood, and the machinery like Norman Mailer.

One of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Norman Mailer, was hired by LIFE in 1969 to cover the moon shot. His three-part feature was the longest nonfiction piece the magazine had ever published. He enhanced and extended his reportage with deeper reflection in the brilliantly crafted book, Of a Fire on the Moon, excerpted here for the first time. Equally adept at examining the science of space travel and the psychology of the men involved -- from Saturn V rocket engineer Wernher von Braun to the crucial NASA support staff to the three astronauts -- Mailer provides provocative and trenchant insights into this epoch-making event.

Illustrating this volume are hundreds of the best photographs and maps from the NASA vaults, magazine archives, and private collections. Many of them previously unpublished, these images document the development of the agency and the mission, life from inside the command module and out on the Moon's surface, and the world's jubilant reaction to the mission's success. This new edition includes an original introduction by Colum McCann and captions by leading Apollo 11 experts which explain the history and science behind the images, citing the mission log, post-flight interviews with the astronauts, and publications of the day.

  • Limited Edition of 1957 copies, No. 1-1957. Each copy includes a Plexiglas-framed, numbered, ready-to-hang, archival-quality photographic print, produced using the revolutionary new Skia printing technique, and signed by Buzz Aldrin
  • XL format, includes 4 foldouts. Presented in a custom box with a plexiglass convex window.
  • Original photographic materials restored to the highest standards.
  • Print dimensions: 32.5 x 40 cm (12.8 x 15.7 in.)
Their website also clarifies the earlier reported moon rock offer:
The Lunar Rock edition of twelve copies numbered 1958-1969 will also include a certified piece of Moon meteorite - the rarest mineral on Earth - encapsulated in a special design by Marc Newson.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-30-2009 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Publisher's Weekly comments on the price of the Lunar Rock edition:
Numbers 1 through 1,957 will be priced at $1,000, while the final 12 copies (numbered 1,958 through 1,969) will come with a certified fragment of moon meteorite. Taschen has not yet priced the 12 "Lunar Rock" editions, but will base the price according to the meteorite size. Those volumes will come with cases designed by Australian designer Marc Newson, who recently designed aluminum champagne coolers for Dom Perignon. Public relations manager Creed Poulson said the meteorite editions "will be the most expensive books we have ever done." Publisher Benedikt Taschen told PW, "We are confident that the 1,969 copies will sell out very quickly."

GoesTo11
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posted 06-30-2009 12:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, just pre-ordered mine (sans moon rock) from Amazon US. $812.29 with standard shipping... A one-item "space stuff" record for me. (What can I say? I ain't one of the cS high-rollers.)

TASCHEN New York
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posted 07-03-2009 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TASCHEN New York   Click Here to Email TASCHEN New York     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Greetings from TASCHEN New York--

It's great to hear your thoughts on the upcoming MOONFIRE. We just had a copy come through our PR department and the book is absolutely stunning in person! This may be one of the nicest books we've ever done. We're all very excited here at Store New York to spread the word about MOONFIRE... please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the book. We've just recently started taking pre-orders at the store and they're coming in quite fast!

Jeff Alford
Store Manager

GoesTo11
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posted 07-10-2009 02:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For anyone on the fence about ordering Moonfire, TASCHEN's Web page for the book now has a "Leaf Through" feature (upper right) that allows you to view every page spread online. The resolution isn't high enough to read the text, but you can see all the illustrations and see how the page layouts are designed. Personally, I'm even more excited about receiving my copy than before! (No, I'm not getting any "pitch money" from the publisher )

JPSastro
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posted 07-10-2009 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JPSastro   Click Here to Email JPSastro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, at that price it should be autographed by each astronaut... period!

Sorry I can comprehend the book costing that much without something really, really spectacular about it.

It better be absolutely 100% flawless. Zero errors. Sorry, I just don't see it.

Dave Clow
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posted 07-12-2009 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd be interested in this if the text were by someone else, but Mailer's book in my opinion was worthless drivel. Anyone else among the many authors then and now would have been a better choice.

heng44
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posted 07-13-2009 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for heng44   Click Here to Email heng44     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There will no doubt be a market for this book, but when I leaf through it I get the feeling I have seen it all before. Of course the book is well done, but I see the same old NASA and LIFE photos, perhaps with a few exceptions.

Funny thing is that on the Apollo 11 disc that RetroSpaceImages has produced there are at least 100 and maybe more images that I had not seen before. No, not even I. And yet nobody bothers to put these in a book.

Well, maybe in 10 years time...

garymilgrom
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posted 08-26-2009 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think this is a collectible like any other. Some people like and treasure one item, others another. Also I think Mailer had some unique and insightful comments into the Apollo program but I agree his arrogant way of writing can be hard to read. I for one love books and photography so the low number published plus the framed "high definition" Skia print included are attractive. And Buzz's signature is missing from my collection.

I guess you can tell I'm at home waiting for delivery - UPS called yesterday saying this package would arrive today and requires a signature. The only other time that's happened to me is getting my passport from the Canadian government.

A 27 pound book (or at least package) - I can't wait!

GoesTo11
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posted 08-26-2009 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm expecting my copy today as well. I'll post my impression of the overall package once I've had a chance to look it over, but in the meantime I'll throw in a word about Mailer's prose, as the release of "Moonfire" prompted me to dig out and re-examine "Of a Fire on the Moon."

When I first read this book, over a decade ago, I found it nearly impenetrable. A few years later, I picked it up again and, with a little more patience and a broader perspective, I was rewarded. That said, I have never been a fan of Mailer as a writer or a personality, and "Of a Fire on the Moon" was definitely freighted with the flaws that weighed down his other work: Egotism, overly dense and often self-indulgent prose, and all the stylistic and ideological baggage of the era. However, Mailer was also a brilliant (if cynical) observer of humanity and human endeavors, and "Of a Fire on the Moon" contains some of the most perceptive and vivid observations of the space program and its personalities I've ever read. For example, his account of witnessing the launch itself and his impressions of Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins gleaned from a single press conference are compelling, spot-on, and by themselves worth plowing through most of the book's less relevant exposition.

"Of a Fire on the Moon" comes in at over 400 pages of densely-packed prose (Mailer didn't really "do" one-sentence paragraphs or enclosed dialogue). Since "Moonfire" is a primarily pictorial production, I'm sure TASCHEN's editors had to be quite selective in sampling Mailer's original text. I hope they did a good job separating the wheat from the chaff. In any case, like Gary, I bought it as a keepsake, not as a literary experience.

medaris
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posted 08-26-2009 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for medaris   Click Here to Email medaris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I quite liked the original book when I read it. I agree beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I don't have any problem with people choosing to spend their money on the limited edition.

For the undecided (or poor!) I'd merely point out that copies of the original book, signed by Mailer, are available for anything between $100 and $300. Add on Aldrin's signing fee, if you felt the need, and you'd have a very nice collectable.

On the other hand, other people are mentioned in the book, including Gene Kranz. His interview is quoted early in the book. $200 for a Mailer signed first edition plus the cost of shipping it to Gene to sign, and even with a contribution to his church, you'd have change from $300.

garymilgrom
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posted 08-26-2009 06:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's some early comments. This is a beautiful product. The album below shows the book in relation to my 15 lb. cat - this is a LARGE book, container and print. The HD Skia print is superb, the first time film has looked better than digital to me in several years (I have a 30+ year career in imaging). It looks like an 8K scan of a 35mm neg, not sure how this translates to the 6x6cm of Hasselblad format. The print is superbly sharp but does not have more contrast or more saturation; it's actually a bit less of everything and this helps you see every nuance and tone of the scene. The focus on this shot is in front of Buzz with limited depth of field but the colors of the suit and anodized fittings stand out magnificently. Finally seeing exactly what Neil or his camera saw is breathtaking.

The Aldrin signature on the rear of this print is 7.25" (185mm) in width, a large example in my experience. The "container" for the book is a plastic marketing construction, maybe the porthole is dumb or maybe it's like a fancy wood box for a limited edition old bottle of whiskey.

Overall I think this is a worthwhile and unique piece and if friends don't mind showering twice and irradiating themselves before donning special clothes I'll let them view me holding the book thru a special window J. Katzowitz is building for me.

Seriously used versions are already selling at a premium even as a few last new ones are available at list or discounted prices.

Here's my photo site.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 08-27-2009 06:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My copy of MOONFIRE arrived in the office today. I did get it home, but I have scheduled an appointment to see my doctor for an anticipated hernia operation.

It is large. I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Cramer wants to create a coffee table book that is actually a coffee table.

It is hard to be critical about this book, because they pulled out all the stops to create a masterpiece. It does suffer the same issues as any bound publication does when enlarging a photograph across the binding fold, but the publisher counters that with numerous fold out photos.

The quality is marvelous. The plastic protective storage case is quite necessary, because you cannot put this book in many standard bookcases due to the book's size. I am glad for it, since it will protect the book from damage.

As Gary said previously, people are going to have to be briefed on how to handle this volume. It is quite heavy and so large that if not properly handled the spine could break doing severe damage to the book.

I would enjoy asking Benedikt Taschen some questions about his thoughts and inspirations in creating this beautiful book.

rickdiii
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posted 09-12-2009 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for rickdiii   Click Here to Email rickdiii     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As A new collector, I could not be more pleased with this book. Yes there are lots of books out there. But If I was going to start, why not with the best! It is trully a gem! Thank you for letting me know about this once in a lifetime book!

Gilbert
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posted 09-12-2009 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Larry, or another lucky owner...post some photos of the books with something in the image for scale. I would really like to see it.

dsenechal
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posted 03-27-2010 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dsenechal   Click Here to Email dsenechal     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It appears that the book formerly known as "Of a Fire on the Moon," and recently released as "Moonfire" (a forty pound, thousand dollar extravaganza), is about to be re-issued in a somewhat more sveldt, affordable version.

ilbasso
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posted 03-27-2010 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Drat! And I was waiting for a $1500 version to be released for the Kindle!

cspg
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posted 04-17-2010 12:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But there's a $40 version of it (although it appears that it does not contain the full text of Moonfire).

I like the collection of models behind von Braun - rather neat!

cspg
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posted 05-04-2010 08:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Got my copy today.

WOW! If you have been collecting books remembering the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, this one ought to be on your bookshelf.

A large coffee-table sized book, 350 pages, beautifully illustrated (I don't recall having seen pictures of the Command Module burning up in the Earth's atmosphere). It's probably one of the best Apollo 11 at 40 books and I would compare it to Andrew Chaikin's "A Man on the Moon" three-volume box set. A truly impressive work. I wouldn't have minded pitching a few extra dollars for a slipcase, though!

And for $26.39! No it's not a typo! Unbelievable.

GoesTo11
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posted 05-04-2010 10:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
And for $26.39! No it's not a typo! Unbelievable.
Agree 100%. The "small" edition is still very impressive and a FANTASTIC bargain if you buy it through Amazon.

I have the limited, boxed edition (copy #157), and it's spectacular, but at 17" x 14" and over 30 lbs. it's a little unwieldy to be read at leisure.

The wide-release edition is 13.5" x 11" with a dust jacket with art similar to the original release. The actual cover is a beautiful wraparound photo of the Apollo 11 CSM against the lunar surface. (The gold Taschen "30th Anniversary" art shown on the Amazon page is a cardboard insert that comes off with the shrink wrap.)

If you missed out on the original edition, or just couldn't swallow the price, this is still a gorgeous book, and, as Chris said, a terrific value.

Tykeanaut
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posted 05-06-2010 02:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have now ordered one via Amazon.co.uk, £18 including delivery looks a real steal!

cspg
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posted 05-06-2010 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Similar books for the next year's anniversaries would be nice (Challenger 25, Columbia 30, Gagarin 50)!

Gilbert
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posted 06-18-2010 12:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just purchased a copy of Moonfire. I used a 40% off coupon but the book is worth full cover price. It is one of the nicest coffee table type books on space exploration published in recent years. I read the original Mailer text many years ago but plan to re-read it in this new edition with lots of photographs. It really is a nice book.

pharoid
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posted 08-16-2010 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for pharoid   Click Here to Email pharoid     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just received Easton Press Early Autumn catalog and Norman Mailer's Moonfire is being released at four monthly payments of $49.

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