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Publisher's Summary

Ignition! is the inside story of the Cold War era search for a rocket propellant that could be trusted to take man into space. A favorite of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, listeners will want to tune into this "really good book on rocket[s]," available for the first time in audio. 

Ignition! is the story of the search for a rocket propellant which could be trusted to take man into space. This search was a hazardous enterprise carried out by rival labs who worked against the known laws of nature, with no guarantee of success or safety. 

Acclaimed scientist and sci-fi author John Drury Clark writes with irreverent and eyewitness immediacy about the development of the explosive fuels strong enough to negate the relentless restraints of gravity. The resulting volume is as much a memoir as a work of history, sharing a behind-the-scenes view of an enterprise that eventually took men to the moon, missiles to the planets, and satellites to outer space. A classic work in the history of science, listeners will want to get their hands on this influential classic, available for the first time in decades.

©2018 John Drury Clark (P)2018 Random House Audio

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun and informative.

The author has a fun writing style. It's an interesting look back at the evolution of rocket propellant, even if you are not great at chemistry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A fascinating look into high end chemistry

One for the chemistry buff!!!

Makes me feel like I wasted my youth creating ridiculously expensive precious metal acids, when I could have been making rocket fuels, oh to bed few decades older.

A fascinating look at chemistry & chemical engineering back when not everything wasn't already known and people risked life & limb for their knowledge.

Bravo to the narrator, so many devilishly complicated chemical names delivered flawlessly, if he doesn't have a degree with a chemical background ....

OK, to be fair if you don't have a science or engineering degree this might be heavy going, but if you do it reminds you of the first time you blew things up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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fun science

An interesting and rare approach to practical science and a fun read to boot. enjoy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An audiobook only flawed by the unavoidable.

In audiobook format, it should many of the complaints - poor scanning and the like - that going the print book. it is read with spirit and clarity. Its only downfall is an artifact of the type of book and the audio format, that is, reading out chemical and mathematical formula.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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you don't need to know chemistry.

hilarious anecdotes about explosions and government contracting. if you don't know any chemistry at the start you'll know some at the end.

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Verry interesting for the knowledgehungry engineer

Loved the detaining level and the humorous mix. Well enjoyed! Not for the faint of heart looking for an easy read tho.

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A very entertaining read

You will rarely find a tale of science and engineering told with such wit and humor.

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A riveting tale...

A riveting tale accessible to the layman of the history of rocketry. A very well written book, read by a phenomenal narrator.

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A Bit Dated

A lot of technical information is presented, but I didn't realise it was 40 yearsold.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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very interesting dive into rocketry history

this was a very interesting dive into rocketry history, covering as many fuels as possible.