Retro-futurist books

I have a few interesting books about space exploration that show, in some respects, how little and how much has been accomplished in space exploration.

These four children book describe the Apollo program in clear and simple words but they still manage to be quite informative, even for an adult reader. I bought those when I was probably 8 back in 1974 and I managed to keep them in good condition all those years. The original sticker prices are still on the books: 69 cents each!

Objectif Lune: En route…

I also have this quite rare french book that I either borrowed from or was given to me by my cousin. “Victoire sur l’espace” (by Albert Ducrocq) describes the first space steps of the russian and american programs. The content is a notch above popular books because of the inclusion of various formulas and diagrams. The book, printed in 1959, shows a bit its age and is due for some kind of restoration.

Victoire sur l’espace

Next up is a Time-Life box set published in 1969 containing a book and 6 33 1/3 records. The records feature narration, stock recordings and interviews. The book is mostly a “picture book” which starts with a short history of mankind’s relation to the Moon and then to the history of space exploration, as it was up to 1969.

To the moon

To the moon

Then there is this book, written in 1953, which is somewhat rare. It is the second book in a series of three by Wernher von Braun, Fred L. Whipple and Willy Ley and illustrated Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman and Rolf Klep. They might look like children books but the content, as the Ducrocq book above, is clearly intended for an adult reader. The scope of these books is tremendous in depth and detail but simple and enjoyable to read at the same time.

Conquest of the moon

Here is another interesting book, a limited edition, by Werner Von Braun:

History of rocketry and space travel

The last book (for now) in this small collection is another somewhat rare book written and illustrated by Chesley Bonestell. This one is clearly intended for children but is to be used in the classroom. The book contains slides and 45 rpm-sized 33 1/3 rpm record. Walter Cronkite narrates the content of the slides and the book. It is interesting to note the acknowledgement given by Chesley Bonestell to Wernher von Braun about the design of the moon-ship in this book. The design is clearly in line with the design of the moon-ship in the Braun book above, both moon-ships having been designed by him but at an eight-years interval.

Rocket to the moon


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