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Reviewed Non-Fiction Books (alphabetically by title)

  • Abundance, by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler (2012). The authors masterfully synthesize data on the forces that can make nine billion people live a life of abundance within 25 years.
  • Across the Space Frontier, by Wernher von Braun, et. al. (1952). First in a set of three books that are expanded treatments of a series of articles in Collier's magazine that inspired a generation of Americans.
  • Apollo EECOM: Journey of a Lifetime, by Sy Liebergot (2008 reprint from 2003). A unique first person account of the behind-the-scenes drama that unfolded on Apollo and Skylab missions.
  • The Astronaut Wives Club, by Lily Koppel (2013). How the wives of the early astronauts dealt with the intense pressure of their new-found celebrity.
  • Astro Turf, by M. G. Lord (2005). A personal account of how JPL's hierarchical, male-oriented management structure gradually shifted to a more inclusive model.
  • Canada's Fifty Years in Space, by Gordon Shepherd and Agnes Kruchio (2008). As enjoyable to read as it is a thoroughly comprehensive history of Canada's space efforts.
  • The Case for Mars, by Robert Zubrin (1996/1997). "Bob Zubrin really, nearly alone, changed our thinking on this issue."—Carl Sagan
  • Colonies in Space, by T. A. Heppenheimer (1977). The best book on space settlement written to date – full of colorful narrative and satisfying, but clearly explained, technical detail.
  • Colonizing Mars: The Mission to the Red Planet, by Robert Zubrin, Harrison Schmitt, Edgar Mitchell, et. al. (2012). Anthology of thought-provoking essays on the reasons for sending humans to the Red Planet and what challenges will impact the effort.
  • Conquest of the Moon, by Wernher von Braun, et. al. (1953). The greatest space visionaries of the 1950s lay out a highly ambitious plan for exploring the Moon.
  • Drifting on Alien Winds, by Michael Carroll (2011). Vivid descriptions, stunning photo assemblies, and inspiring original artwork provide a grand tour of solar system weather.
  • The Exploration of Mars, by Wernher von Braun & Willey Ley (1956). The father of the U.S. space program and the founding president of the National Space Institute (now National Space Society) describes his plans for exploring Mars.
  • 50 Years in Space, by Patrick Moore, illustrated by David A. Hardy (2006). Noted author-astronomer and BBC commentator attempts to rekindle the wonder of the Space Age.
  • First Man, by James R. Hansen (2005). The first-ever authorized biography of Neil Armstrong, masterfully written by James Hansen, a professor of history at Auburn University.
  • Forever Young: A Life of Adventure in Air and Space, by John W. Young with James R. Hansen (2012). What makes this book different than other astronauts' memoirs is the comprehensive technical detail he uses to describe each of his missions and his entire career at NASA.
  • The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, 3rd Edition, by Gerard K. O'Neill (2000). In one of THE great books about space development, O'Neill offered answers to most of humanity’s energy problems and at the same time planned for a grand expansion of the human race into the solar system.
  • Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story, by David Hitt, Owen Garriott, and Joe Kerwin (2008). Provides an excellent oral history of the Skylab program, including Alan Bean’s complete journal from the Skylab II mission.
  • How to Find a Habitable Planet, by James Kasting (2010). Kasting, a distinguished professor of geosciences at Penn State University, has worked to detect habitable worlds outside our solar system, and in this clear and accessible book he introduces readers to the advanced methodologies being used in this extraordinary quest.
  • How to Live on Mars, by Robert Zubrin (2008). Everything you need to know to achieve Great Wealth and Fame on Mars.
  • In the Shadow of the Moon, movie directed by David Sington and produced by Ron Howard (2007). Remember when the whole world looked up? Beautifully edited with new footage and no narration, the Apollo astronauts tell their own story.
  • ISScapades, by Donald A. Beattie (2007). Does an admirable job of providing the reader with an understanding of why we have the space station we have.
  • License to Orbit, by Joseph Pelton and Peter Marshall (2009). Knowledgeable authors cover the wide spectrum of space tourism operations.
  • The Living Cosmos, by Chris Impey (2007). A readable survey of astrobiology and how it may lead to deeper knowledge of our place in the universe.
  • Living in Space, edited by Sherry Bell (2009). 21 essays on the cultural and social dynamics, opportunities, and challenges in permanent space habitats.
  • The Lunar Exploration Scrapbook, by Robert Godwin (2007). A fascinating tour of more than 200 proposed lunar vehicles, with beautiful color illustrations and designs that until now have existed only as blueprints.
  • Lunar Settlements, Edited by Haym Benaroya (2010). Comprehensive collection of papers from the 2007 Rutgers University Symposium on Lunar Settlements.
  • Mars Wars, by Thor Hogan (2007). Chronicles the reasons for the failure of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) in the early 1990s.
  • Megacatastrophes, by David Darling and Dirk Schulze-Makuch (2012). An astronomer and an astrobiologist describe nine ways the world could end.
  • Men Into Space, by John C. Fredriksen (2012). The story of the 1959 television series about human space flight.
  • Mining the Sky, by John S. Lewis (1997). One of the most important books space advocates can own. Provides a justification and roadmap for incorporating the material and energy resources of the solar system into the world’s economy.
  • Missions to the Moon, by Rod Pyle (2009). With relatively few pages, this book is oversized and crammed with information — even with all the other histories out there, a valuable and fun book.
  • Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration, by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David (2013). Apollo astronaut and developer of the Aldrin Mars Cycler which could provide regular service between Earth and Mars, gives his vision of humanity's future in space.
  • Moonrush, by Dennis Wingo (2004). Makes a strong case that there are important reasons for humans to return to the Moon, as well as why past efforts have failed.
  • NASA/ART: 50 Years of Exploration, edited by James D. Dean and Bertram Ulrich (2008). Showcases some of the paintings that NASA commissioned as part of its historic art program.
  • New Moon Rising, by Frank Sietzen Jr. and Keith Cowing (2004). Provides the inside story of the formation of a major space policy in 2004: The Vision for Space Exploration.
  • Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth, by Les Johnson, Gregory L. Matloff, C Bangs (2009). How humans might use the resources of the solar system for terrestrial benefit, allowing civilization to live in harmony with the environment.
  • A Passion for Mars, by Andrew Chaikin (2008). The author of the landmark A Man on the Moon offers striking new information about humankind’s quest for the Red Planet.
  • The Planet-Girded Suns, by Sylvia Engdahl (2012). A thought-provoking history of human thought about extrasolar worlds. For young adult to adult.
  • Postcards from Mars, by Jim Bell (2006). A coffee-table book of fabulous photos that also includes the compelling human story behind the successful Spirit and Opportunity rovers.
  • Red Moon Rising, by Matthew Brzezinski (2007). Captures the essence of the opening of the Space Age with masterful political savvy.
  • Riding Rockets, by Mike Mullane (2006). Former NASA astronaut Mike Mullane pulls back the cover on the astronaut corps, revealing the humor and humanity missing from the agency's official biographies.
  • Rocketeers, by Michael Belfiore (2007). A personal glimpse into the space entrepreneur and why people will risk fortunes and even their lives in an effort to open space to a wider audience.
  • Roving Mars, by Steven W. Squyres (2005). The passionate story of the human perserverance involved in creating the Spirit and Opportunity rovers.
  • Saturn, by Alan Lawrie (2005). The definitive reference work on what is arguably the crowning achievement of American aerospace technology, the Saturn V Moon rocket.
  • Saturn 1/1B, by Alan Lawrie (2008). A comprehensive history of the rocket that started the Apollo program on its way to the Moon.
  • Saturn: A New View, by Laura Lovett, Joan Horvath, and Jeff Cuzzi (2006). An incredible volume of history, facts, and 150 awe-inspiring photographs of the planet and its moons, taken from the Cassini and Huygens spacecraft.
  • Secrets of the Universe, by Paul Murdin (2009). A storyteller's history of astronomy, constructed like a collection of short stories that invites readers to delve into it at any point, that makes the most complex topics accessible and absorbing.
  • Sex in Space, by Laura Woodmansee (2006). An interesting study in possibilities that have not as yet been documented, and a good starting point for future space tourists and planners.
  • The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil (2006). How might the hypothetical "Technological Singularity"—when computers become smarter than humans and take over their own evolution—affect space development?
  • Sky Alert: When Satellites Fail, by Les Johnson (2013). Compelling account of how tenuous and entwined our existence has become with orbiting satellites.
  • The Space Shuttle Decision, by T. A. Heppenheimer (1999). A masterful piece of research and writing, this volume deals with the technical, economic, and political factors in the initial decision to build the Shuttle (time period 1965-1972).
  • The Space Tourist's Handbook, by Eric Anderson and Joshua Piven (2005). The "wealthy hitchhiker's" guide to space, with emphasis on the details of a Soyuz launch to the International Space Station.
  • Too Far From Home, by Chris Jones (2007). The true story of what it was like to be stranded aboard the International Space Station after the loss of the Shuttle Columbia.
  • Tourists in Space, by Erik Seedhouse (2008). A nuts-and-bolts look at suborbital and orbital space tourism, particularly for those people considering signing up for a ride into space.
  • A Traveler's Guide To Mars, by William K. Hartmann (2003). "A masterpiece of scientific writing for the general reader" that provides an integrated understanding of what makes Mars "tick."
  • 2081: A Hopeful View of the Human Future, by Gerard K. O'Neill (1981). This second book by O'Neill describes his thoughts on anticipated advancements in computers, automation, space colonies, energy, and communications.
  • Utilization of Space, edited by Berndt Feuerbacher and Heinz Stoewer (2005). A comprehensive scholarly book addressing how space contributes to the advancement and betterment of human society.
  • The Visioneers, by W. Patrick McCray (2012). "How a Group of Elite Scientists Pursued Space Colonies, Nanotechnologies, and a Limitless Frontier."
  • Voices from the Moon, byAndrew Chaikin with Victoria Kohl (2009). High-def photos combined with the words of the lunar astronauts themselves makes this book a cut above.
  • Von Braun, by Michael Neufeld (2007). Probably the definitive biography of this "dreamer of space, engineer of war."
  • Where Is Everybody? Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox, by Stephen Webb (2002). Are there any spacefaring civilizations out there? Either answer leads to a paradox. This stimulating feast for the mind is a scholarly yet highly readable work "for any reader interested in science and the sheer pleasure of speculative thinking."

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Updated Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 15:37:32
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