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The Space Above Us The Space Above Us

Recommended Books

I am often asked for a list of books that I’ve mentioned on the podcast or just what space books I recommend in general. Well, it took me about five years to finally get around to putting this list together, but here you go. Note that this is sort of a separate thing from my sources list, which is still being assembled. Most of my sources are NASA documents like press kits, mission reports, and oral histories, along with contemporary newspaper and magazine articles. So while books are in the sources list, they tend to get drowned out by all the other sources. This page is just dedicated to books that you might find enjoyable or useful for research. I plan on adding some brief descriptions of these books, and maybe separating out biographies from histories and such, but rather than delay even further, here’s just a straightforward list.

Space History Books>

Space History Books #

  • Deke! - Deke Slayton
  • Failure is Not an Option - Gene Kranz
  • Flight - Chris Kraft
  • The History of Manned Space Flight - David Baker (It has recently become clear that Baker has been less than forthright about aspects of his own personal history. From what I can tell, that does not extend to this book, which still seems to be reliable. That said, I would recommend researching Baker before deciding to read this book)
  • This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury - Swenson, Grimwood, Alexander (available free from NASA)
  • The Edge of Space - Milt Thompson
  • Transiting from Air to Space: The North American X-15 - Houston, Hallion, Boston (available for free from NASA)
  • On the Shoulders of Titans: A History of Project Gemini - Hacker, Grimwood (available for free from NASA)
  • A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts - Andrew Chaikin
  • Angle of Attack - Mike Gray (about the Apollo CSM)
  • Lost Moon - Lovell, Kruger
  • The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation - Frank O’Brien
  • Chariots for Apollo: A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft (available for free from NASA) - Courtney G Brooks, James M. Grimwood, Loyd S. Swenson
  • Digital Apollo - David A. Mindell
  • Falling to Earth - Al Worden
  • Moon Lander: How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module - Thomas J. Kelly
  • Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story - Hitt, Garriott, Kerwin
  • Bold They Rise: The Space Shuttle Early Years, 1972-1986 - Hitt, Smith
  • The Space Shuttle Decision, 1965-1972 (History of the Space Shuttle, Volume 1) - T.A. Heppenheimer
  • Development of the Space Shuttle, 1972-1981 (History of the Space Shuttle, Volume 2) - T.A. Heppenheimer
  • Space Shuttle: Developing an Icon - Dennis Jenkins
  • Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record-Setting Frequent Flyer - Ross, Norberg
  • Truth, Lies, and O-Rings - Allan McDonald
  • The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA - Diane Vaughan
  • Sky Walking: An Astronaut’s Memoir - Tom Jones
  • Partnership in Space: The Mid to Late Nineties - Ben Evans
  • Space Systems Failures - Harland, Lorenz
  • The Hubble Space Telescope: From Concept to Success - Shayler, Harland
  • Space Shuttle Legacy: How We Did It and What We Learned - Launius, Krige, Craig
  • Outposts on the Frontier: A Fifty-Year History of Space Stations - Jay Chladek
  • Riding Rockets - Mike Mullane
  • Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her - Rowland White
  • Disasters and Accidents in Manned Spaceflight - David J. Shayler
  • Space Shuttle: The First 20 Years - DK Publishing
  • Before Lift-off: The Making of a Space Shuttle Crew - Henry Cooper Jr.

Recommended by Listeners (but I haven’t read yet) #

  • Carrying the Fire - Michael Collins
  • Last Man on the Moon - Gene Cernan
  • Highways into Space - Glynn Lunney
  • The Kid from Golden - Jerry Bostick
  • Chasing the Moon - Stone, Anders
  • Go, Flight - Rick Houston
  • Bringing Columbia Home - Mike Leinbach
  • Shuttle, Houston - Paul Dye
  • The Astronaut Maker - Michael Cassut
  • The Ultimate Engineer - Richard Jurek
  • Shoot for the Moon - James Donovan
  • Spaceman - Mike Massamino
  • Beyond - Stephen Walker
  • How Apollo Flew to the Moon - David Woods
  • The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space - Michelle Evans
  • Return to Earth - Buzz Aldrin
  • Apollo in Perspective - Johnathan Allday
  • Endurance - Scott Kelly
Fictional Space Books (these aren’t sources, I just like them)>

Fictional Space Books (these aren’t sources, I just like them) #

  • Red Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Green Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Blue Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Contact - Carl Sagan
  • Seveneves - Neal Stephenson
  • The Martian - Andy Weir
Non-Space Books JP Likes>

Non-Space Books JP Likes #

  • Fiction

    • Anathem - Neal Stephenson
    • Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
    • Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card
    • Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card
    • Xenocide - Orson Scott Card
    • Children of the Mind - Orson Scott Card
    • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami
    • X-COM UFO Defense: The Official Strategy Guide - Dave Ellis
  • Non-Fiction

    • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety - Eric Schloser
    • The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic - Mike Duncan
    • Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster - Jon Krakauer
    • Left For Dead: My Journey Home from Everest - Beck Weathers
    • No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks - Ed Viesturs
    • The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell - Basil Mahon
    • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - Allie Brosh
    • The Making of the Atomic Bomb - Richard Rhodes
Wait, These Aren’t Even Books Anymore>

Wait, These Aren’t Even Books Anymore #

  • The Adventure Zone (podcast)
  • Kerbal Space Program (video game)
  • Metal Gear Solid (video game)
  • Outer Wilds (video game)
  • Aliens (film)
  • Contact (film)
  • Your Name (film)
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service (film)
  • Gravity (film)
  • Spiritfarer (video game)
  • TWRP (band)
  • The Aquabats (band)
  • Haibane Renmei (anime)
  • Little Witch Academia (anime)
  • Formula 1: Drive to Survive (TV show)
  • Futurama (TV show)
  • Mythbusters (TV show)
  • Kurzgesagt (YouTube)
  • Captain Disillusion (YouTube)