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  Recommandations: 3 books about space exploration

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Author Topic:   Recommandations: 3 books about space exploration
Teacher in space
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Posts: 58
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Registered: Sep 2013

posted 06-01-2014 02:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Teacher in space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Which three books would you recommend to a person, who would like to get better idea of human space exploration? Together they should be able to give information from times of Apollo until International Space Station era. Any kind of books can be listed.

If you think this cannot be done with three books, please suggest additional ones.

It is not possible to learn everything from Internet, thus buying books is must. Ordering books overseas to Europe will be expensive and I can't afford many miss purchases. I will be grateful for any help.

David C
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Posts: 184
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 06-01-2014 04:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The short answer is that it cannot be done in three books, all you will get is a taster. Before making suggestions may I ask two questions? Do you wish to cover the Soviet and American programs, or only one? Secondly, why start at Apollo rather than at the beginning?

ColinBurgess
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 06-01-2014 06:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With hand firmly on heart I would suggest the three Outward Odyssey series books, "Into That Silent Sea," "In the Shadow of the Moon," and "Footprints in the Dust." These three books take you right through from the flight of Yuri Gagarin to the end of the ASTP mission, covering every human space flight and all astronauts and cosmonauts involved in those flights.

To take you from the Apollo era through to the ISS, I have to suggest another three Outward Odyssey series books: "Homesteading Space" by David Hitt, Owen Garriott and Joe Kerwin, "Bold They Rise" (David Hitt and Heather Smith) and "Wheels Stop" by Rick Houston. The first book discusses the Skylab program, whilst the latter two books relate the entire history of the space shuttle program.

I know my name is on the first three books as a co-author and series editor, but in all honesty and sincerity I could not think of three books that better answer your question concerning the pre-shuttle days of human space exploration, while the other three books bring the story right up to date.

I know that's six books in all, but if you want a complete and fully international history on the subject then that's where I'd point you.

Teacher in space
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posted 06-01-2014 06:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Teacher in space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for ideas. I am looking for good start and will of course get more books latter. Both American, Russian and European space programs are all interesting.

David C
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Posts: 184
From: Pasadena
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 06-01-2014 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for David C     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Far and away the best single book is "The History of Manned Spaceflight" by David Baker. It's big and old but no other single book comes close (sorry Colin).

For the shuttle I'd suggest the most recent edition of "Space Shuttle" by Denis Jenkins, but, he's working on the definitive final edition at the moment so you may wish to wait until it's published.

They'll give you good history excluding ISS and Shenzhou which have not been comprehensively addressed yet (unsurprisingly). For a first hand description of spaceflight "Carrying The Fire" by Michael Collins remains the gold standard.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-01-2014 11:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The above suggestions are excellent. I'll make three (well, four) others:
  1. Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" — the book, not the movie, which will introduce you to the Mercury astronauts and the time period in which the early space race was set.

  2. Andrew Chaikin's "A Man on the Moon" — introduces you to the men who would voyage to the moon.

  3. Asif Siddiqi's "Challenge to Apollo" — tells the comprehensive story of what was happening in the Soviet Union as the events of the two previous books were unfolding.

    And, as a bonus, to bring you more current:

  4. Bryan Burrough's "Dragonfly" — sets the stage for the International Space Station by examining the Shuttle-Mir missions.

GoesTo11
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Posts: 1143
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-01-2014 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Notwithstanding Colin's shameless plugging , the "Outward Odyssey" series has indeed been uniformly outstanding to date.

I'd add Apollo by Charles Murray and Catherine Bly Cox to the list. It's a fantastic read and a perfect complement to A Man on the Moon, which Robert already cited. While Chaikin's book tells the story of Apollo primarily (though not exclusively) from the astronauts' perspective, Murray & Cox give us the narrative as experienced by the engineers, controllers, and managers who made the whole thing go. It has to be on any short "must-read" list of space history.

spkjb
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From: Merritt Island, Florida USA
Registered: May 2011

posted 06-01-2014 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spkjb   Click Here to Email spkjb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would recommend the classic precursor books to actual space travel. "Across the Space Frontier", "The Conquest of Space", "Conquest of the Moon" and "The Exploration of Mars".

These books had authors/contributors that included Werner Von Braun, Willey Ley and Chesley Bonestell.

I would also recommend "The Art of Chesley Bonestell."

The books sparked the imagination and aspirations of many that were responsible for developing the U.S. space program.

Much of the material in these books was in "Colliers Space Series". Parts (all?) can be accessed as part of AIAA Horizons.

GoesTo11
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From: Denver, CO USA
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posted 06-01-2014 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spkjb:
I would recommend the classic precursor books to actual space travel. "Across the Space Frontier", "The Conquest of Space", "Conquest of the Moon" and "The Exploration of Mars".

All of which, while certainly worthwhile, come with a pretty stiff price of acquisition, even for copies in marginal condition.

Heck, I have a copy of the much more recent Art of Chesley Bonestell, and I was startled to see the cheapest secondhand copy on Amazon at $200!

onesmallstep
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Posts: 701
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-02-2014 01:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would highly recommend the books of Henry S.F. Cooper, a long time writer for The New Yorker magazine:
  • Apollo on the Moon
  • Moon Rocks
  • Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed
  • A House in Space (about Skylab)
  • The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew
He also wrote several other titles on unmanned space exploration. As a side note, he is a direct descendant of James Fenimore Cooper, author of "The Last of the Mohicans," among other famous works.

As for older titles from the 50s or 60s on space; I find alibris.com helpful in choosing out of print copies, but if the title is rare and out of one's price range (and will only be read, not collected) then go to your nearest library, or if you have access to a college library they can arrange for an Inter-library loan if not on their stacks.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1762
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-02-2014 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A lot of great books above. I agree Baker's "History of Manned Spaceflight" is a seminal text on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. For a look at the engineering behind these feats I recommend "How Apollo Flew to the Moon," and for the human side of flying in space Mike Mullane's "Riding Rockets."

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