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Ignition!: An informal history of liquid rocket propellants Hardcover – 1972

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813507251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813507255
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #514,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Customer on April 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buyers should know that these reprint editions come from University Microfilms Books on Demand service and that the UMI price to individuals (they sell over the web) is $72. The vendors (who pay 20% less) just charge you $104 and have the book drop shipped from Ann Arbor. Quality of printing is good and even photos reproduce well.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Scott C. Locklin VINE VOICE on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rocket books are often page turners. I reviewed Sutton's "Rocket Propulsion Systems" a few years back. I picked it up as a cure for insomnia, and ended up reading most of it in one night. The nice thing about rocket science; it's not really "rocket science." If you have a background in physics or chemistry, rocket science is a perfect level of semi-light reading. There is chemistry, neat, but conceptually simple thermodynamics, mechanical engineering and materials science. None of it is at a really high level: rocket science is the type of thing you could do on a slide rule. People did.

This book has a similar quality; it's pretty easy to read (though I confess I bogged down a bit in some of the chemistry sections). I didn't read it for the science, though. I don't really care about rocket fuels. I learned the basics about rocket propellants from Sutton. It's conceptually simple "look at the periodic table" stuff. This book is about the implementation details, and how they were discovered. I don't plan on building any rockets any time soon, so it's more or less irrelevant to me. I suppose this could be helpful to folks who might have some ambitions to make some fancy rockets, but are too precious to use LOX and Kerosene or dinitrogen tetroxide and hydrazine.

Mostly, I read it because it's uproariously funny. Research involving physical objects is funny. Why is it funny? Because at the end of the day, we're really just dumb monkeys playing around with forces we only partially understand. Rocket research has some of the highest comedic potential because it involves smelly things which explode. Had I only known this, I would have arranged to have been born in the 1920s, so I could do all the cool research that happened in the 1950s.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Kemker on May 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Of course, being a hard-core rocket geek, I first read this book hoping to learn about one of my favorite subjects. What I found was a wonderful, personal account of the men behind the technology. This book is an entertaining read that manages to teach quite a bit along the way. My favorite quote from the book is where Clark describes Red Fuming Nitric Acid (RFNA), a powerful oxidizer, as a substance that "attacks flesh with the avidity of a school of pirhana." That one passage did more to instill a sense of caution in my chosen hobby than anything else I've read or heard before or since.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A. Nowatzyk on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book has the right mix of technical details, descriptions of experiments with spectacular results, background info about the why's and how's, and about the politics involved. It is a very engaging and uplifting book because Clark captured a lot of the enthusiasm he had for rockets.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By khacker@cris.com on January 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The author is a suberb writer as well as a chemist. Umpteen years of funny stories are threaded through the history of rocket propulsion. My favorite is the attempt to use skunk oil as fuel.......
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Kos Jr. on September 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. It is an excellent reference for the aspiring liquid-fuel "rocketeer", as well as an informative and entertaining account of the history behind our nation's research in this field. I originally picked up the book looking for a reference on propellants, but instead found one of my all-time favorite books, which I can read for hours on end despite the seemingly dry subject matter. Bravo to Mr. Clark!
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