The man who brought us Guadalcanal Diary and many another interesting volume now turns to the field of rocketry. This is his account of ""covering"" the story of the North American X-15--America's first rocket plane--from February of 1959 until this year. Other books have recently appeared dealing with, or making reference to, the X-15. Nobody however has dealt with that black missile-with-wings as thoroughly as Tregaskis. He attacks every conceivable angle of it--- the pilots like Scott Crossfield and Bob White---the history and construction of the plane---the tension and build-up for record-breaking flights---the companies, engineers and, military people behind the project. He even manages to slip in a fascinating, detailed account of the history of rocketry which dates back to 13th Century China, no less: The book ends with the plane travelling at speeds up to 2200 miles per hour, or reaching altitudes in the ""Wild Black Yonder"" above 135,000 feet. It is, in short, a compendium, a fragment of history. As such it is extremely valuable as a document, but unfortunately is a little dull and over-involved for the average reader. So much minutiae: Best for technically-minded people.