A welcome addition to the literature about mankind’s fascination with Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor.

A personal and occasionally technical account of one man’s involvement with NASA’s first manned mission to the moon.

Halajian (Armenian Church Architecture, 2006) went to Harvard in 1948, studied soil mechanics and was hired as an engineer at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., which became Grumman Aerospace Corp. just in time for its various labs and specialists to begin work on the techniques and technologies that would make President Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon a reality. If astronauts such as Neil Armstrong are the NASCAR superstars of what was to become NASA’s Apollo missions, the hundreds of scientists like Halajian were the pit crews—unknown to the public but essential to the mission. In a series of 22 short “moon stories” (one gets the strong—and comfortable—impression the author has been telling these stories for years), Halajian recounts his days working on problems of lunar soil analysis and landing-module mechanics. There are charts and diagrams only his fellow scientists will understand (several of his scientific papers are also reprinted in the back of the book), but these are more than counterbalanced by the humane and touching stories Halajian tells of his various co-workers (and more distant luminaries such as Werner Von Braun and Gerard Kuiper). Interwoven through the book is the author’s deep affection for his adoptive homeland of the United States and his persistent inquiries into the “pioneer spirit” of its nature. The bulk of this slim book of recollections involves the work he did on mapping and imaging the moon’s surface, and although some of the discussions can be dauntingly technical, the sense of path-finding is ultimately exhilarating.

A welcome addition to the literature about mankind’s fascination with Earth’s nearest celestial neighbor.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1602475281

Page Count: 194

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2010



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Close Quickview