John D. Clark, Rutgers Press, 1972


At a library used book sale in October 2018, I paid $2 for a pristine first edition of the 1972 "Ignition!" by John D. Clark, about the postwar development of modern liquid rocket fuels, mostly military.

Clark was science fiction author Isaac Asimov's boss in Philadelphia during WW2. Asimov wrote the introduction:

Und so weiter. The book is a mix of chemistry jargon, rare successes, expensive mistakes, horrible accidents, and snarky slander. Clark writes:

The book was recently reprinted as a paperback. However, the first edition is a collector's item; one rare book dealer asks $1500 for a copy. I assume that lawyers are buying them as exhibits in disability lawsuits, and billing their clients for twice the price. Some of the same idiotically dangerous experiments were repeated by different labs over and over (see "far-out lunatic" above), and are probably still maiming researchers today.

Ignition (last edited 2018-11-05 18:46:58 by KeithLofstrom)