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American Missiles: The Complete Smithsonian Field Guide Hardcover – July 9, 2012
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A sound source of factual information. (Spaceflight)
This book will probably become the definitive work on the subject for the period covered and provides fast access to facts on the range of US missiles produced since 1962. (Firetrench Reviews)
I found the title to be very informative. The book is a great primer on US Missiles and well worth it just for the detailed introduction and the information on naming and designations. I have enjoyed reading this title and recommend it as a general reference on US Missiles. (Hyperscale)
The Complete Smithsonian Field Guide American Missiles by Brian D. Nicklas is the first book that covers all American missiles in the modern U.S. military designation system from the MGM-1 (Matador) to the present RIM-174 ERAM. All previous U.S. missile directories have only been snapshots of what missiles were active at the time. This meticulously-written, beautifully illustrated and invaluable work has been a labor of love for Nicklas, a Museum Specialist with the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution for 22 years with the Archives Division. In addition, the book contains a very useful Bibliography, including historical works, including several that cover the historical foundations of missiles, plus a list of missiles with modern designations within the Museum’s collections. (Frank H. Winter, Retired Curator of Rocketry, National Air and Space Museum.)
About the Author
Brian Nicklas is a life-long enthusiast of aviation and studied Aeronautical Studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida. As a writer and photographer, he has been published in several newspapers, magazines and calendars, and has written for aviation websites. Since 1987, he has been a member of the Archives Division of the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. He lives near Washington DC.
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The book gnerally dedicates one page to each missile; although, a few of the more prominent, e. g., Trident, may be given two pages. Each entry contains two or three black and white or color photographs (mostly color), a table of specifications, and a short one or two paragraph description. The photos are fairly small, and some are not the most descriptive or of reasonably decent quality. No real program histories are provided, but some development highlights are sometimes included.
The organization of the book is a bit unusual in that the entries are presented in accordance with their sequential Military Designation Numbers instead of by category. This means all missile types are mixed together making it somewhat difficult to locate and compare missiles of a given type. The author provides cross reference lists relating names to Military Designation Numbers, but I would have preferred major sections of the book to be organized by type followed by Military Designation Number.
A major shortcoming of the book is the total omission of range from the tables of specifications. This is an important parameter in missile performance, and the author does not explain why it is not included.
Although I am not an expert in this field, I did note some errors of fact in some of the entries. They were generally minor and not critical to the primary description of the affected entry, but it causes one to wonder how many other errors and their significance may be found in the book.
In summary, the book covers the subject fairly well. The price is surprisingly high, particularly given that it was printed in India, is a physically small volume without high quality photographs, and is limited in the information provided for each entry. I gave it three stars based on value.
except some about range and rocket propellant.
What I missed: Range of the missile. Numbers produced. Speed, as appropriate. Cost of each unit & contract development. User reports (the good, the bad, the indifferent). Such a fascinating topic deserves more than just a collection of pictures and some data.