adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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

More from the same

What listeners say about Ignition!

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    318
  • 4 Stars
    109
  • 3 Stars
    50
  • 2 Stars
    16
  • 1 Stars
    5
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    318
  • 4 Stars
    78
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    270
  • 4 Stars
    80
  • 3 Stars
    52
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Science man lists names of chemicals for 9 hours

It was ok. There is some insight into rocket science and humor but I found it buried underneath continual lists of various chemicals with little context.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great chemistry book with original humor.

Great book for someone looking for a history of rocket propulsion. written for those who are actually interested in the topic. potentially too much chemistry for a casual listening to benefit.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fun science

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

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

To detailed for a general space-loving audience

I struggled to finish this book because the author is on a mission to exhaustively described what seems like every mixture of rocket propellant ever devised, when a summary such as "and then they tried numerous other hydroxide mixtures, none of whom worked". Sometimes specific mixtures are accompanied by an interesting story, but most often they're not.

So I'm hesitant to give this book a 2 star review, but I think this'll be useful to other readers who are looking for a book closer to "Skunk Works", whereas this book mostly amounts to information budding space programs would be better off having in a giant Excel sheet of attempted propellant mixtures.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

so boring

the writing is terrible and the narration doesn't help. I feel bad for the narrator having to read the words on the page. cringe

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

very interesting dive into rocketry history

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

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for tom bunge
  • tom bunge
  • 10-04-19

better to read

it is an interesting book. But it would be better to read as it gets confusing with all the formulas in it

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for turok
  • turok
  • 11-27-19

Very interesting topic sailing through the history of rocket propellants.

Probably not the ideal audio book due to significant numbers of chemical and algebraic formulas. Will listen to it again with pen and paper at hand.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for florekfilip
  • florekfilip
  • 01-27-19

For chemists not wide audience

Overall performance, language excellent. The book is more for people who understand chemistry at the semi-pro level. I expected more insights and stories about use of the propellent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Edward Henry
  • Edward Henry
  • 06-05-20

Advanced reading but far from impenetrable gem.

I delayed listening to this for a long time because of other reviews as i have no scientific education (just a layman Spaceflight fan) and was worried it may be a textbook more than a narrative. It is not. It reads almost like the biography of a rocket scientist (although it is much wider ranging than that and i found it entertaining and had a few laughs. The narrator is fantastic at conveying the writers obvious enthusiasm and levity. Large portions of it where over my head certainly but graciously it was far from being the oblivious actor drily mispronouncing his way through chemical equations and statistics charts that I'd feared. I could only name the more common propellants going in and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Thank you so much for recording such a rare and niche book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bart Pander
  • Bart Pander
  • 02-12-20

chemistry history

Great listen but I think only fun for quite knowledgeable people both on mid 20th century history and chemistry on college level.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-25-19

Interesting

The history in book is great and the reading is done well. however chemical formulas may not translate well to audio book format

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-26-20

I'm an analytical chemist so I may be biased

If you're interested in kerbal space program you'll like this.
I personally loved this book

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Myk
  • Myk
  • 11-26-19

This is not really a popular science book

If you don't have a strong grounding in chemistry, a lot of this book is going to be little more than vaguely recognisable strings of syllables. There's a few startling and wild anecdotes sprinkled amongst an otherwise highly technical history. I think I'd rather have a paper copy as a reference.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Athur E. Nonimus
  • Athur E. Nonimus
  • 08-26-20

A book about propellants

Quite literally, it's a book about propellants. Their history, development, and use. The author, having lived the story he's writing, has in-depth knowledge of the subject and knows just how much to put in as well as what to leave out to make the story have the biggest bang for your buck. Not riveting by any means it is well worth a read.