Posts tagged ‘astronauts’


The Apollo Program: The History and Legacy of America’s Most Famous Space Missions

Written by Charles River Editors


I have read several historical collections by Charles River Editors and have found them informative and useful, particularly for younger audiences. In my opinion, this one was a bit disappointing.

The book is jammed packed with information about every aspect of the Apollo Program focusing mostly on the Apollo I disaster, Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. But that strength is also its weakness. In many sections of the book, one feels as if she is reading a textbook. In an effort to present an accurate picture, the reader becomes lost in a sea of technical information.

The biographical sketches of the astronauts proved interesting as well as the tie in with the Cold War and the space race with the Soviets. The discussion of how NASA decided on spacecraft design and the team effort of government and private sectors is interesting for any reader. Most of the Charles River Editions are geared toward middle grade and young adult readers, but I think this one will turn most of that audience away. The diagrams and photos are an asset, but most readers will lose interest in the myriad of details. If the book had been written more as a story and less as a cut and paste collection of facts, it would merit a higher rating. The graphic detail of the Apollo I accident is too overwhelming for readers under age ten. Recommended especially for readers who have a definite interest in space science.

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Area 51 Aliens and UFOS – Mysteries, Secrets and Facts about Aliens and UFOs at Area 51

Written by Michael Dicks


Dicks has done his research on a controversial topic; he presents it in a straightforward and objective fashion. This book is not a sci-fi tale of invasion of the earth by little green men. In this book of approximately eighty pages, the author covers a lot of territory.

To summarize briefly, readers will learn about the exact location and historical background of Area 51. They will learn about the earliest projects dating back to the 1940’s and 1950’s like the A-12 Spy Plane and the Lockheed U-2, plus other projects that have been rumored tested there. The author explores the conspiracy theories, and the rumored alien crash at Roswell, NM. He discusses mysterious cleanup activities around the base. I found the discussion about ancient texts around the world and DNA analysis interesting. Dicks discusses the testimony of those who claimed to have seen aliens including astronauts and pilots from the US and Russia. Perhaps the most controversial part of the book is the work of Dr. Dan Burisch and the Lotus Project which discuss aliens as human intelligences from the future.

Whether you believe in aliens or not, this book is a well-written analysis on the subject of Area 51. Appropriate for readers ages twelve and older, I am sure that budding middle grade scientists and sci-fi fans interested in the subject will be able to handle the text.

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