A thrill ride punctuated with spectacular failures—but also spectacular successes.

READ REVIEW

DISASTER STRIKES!

THE MOST DANGEROUS SPACE MISSIONS OF ALL TIME

Twelve harrowing episodes in the history of space travel.

Beginning with the hatch that prematurely blew off Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 capsule, Kluger (To the Moon!, 2018) offers a truly terrifying tally of catastrophes or near catastrophes—basing each incident on authoritative sources and relating each with melodramatic flair: “It can be oddly peaceful inside a dying spacecraft.” To requisite accounts of the Apollo 1 fire, the Apollo 13 thriller, and the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, he adds the less-well-known tragedies of the Soyuz 1 crash and the asphyxiation of the three cosmonauts of Soyuz 11 as well as such near misses as Gene Cernan’s first extravehicular venture (“The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Space Walk”), the lightning bolt that struck Apollo 12 as it was taking off, and the space-suited Italian astronaut who (ironically) narrowly escaped drowning outside the ISS when his helmet filled with water. The author analyzes the causes of each explosion or snafu, and his view of early spacecraft as exciting but chancy death traps riddled with flawed, often hastily designed technology will be an eye-opener for readers schooled on blander space-program narratives. Sharp black-and-white photos at the chapter heads depict the actual disasters or earlier views of the affected spacecraft or astronauts (where faces are discernible, all present white).

A thrill ride punctuated with spectacular failures—but also spectacular successes. (sources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1275-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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