For those who are fans of the late great Arthur. C. Clarke (I can't explain those who are not), ASCENT TO ORBIT is a very helpful technical background to his writings about space and space exploration. As you might guess from the full title, much of this is pretty technical stuff, with a lot of mathematical equasions, charts, and the like, although some articles are less so. I admit that I'm not an engineer or mathematician myself, so I can't entirely assess the accuracy of all these writings. The book consists of reprints of articles that Clarke published in various places from the 1940s through the 1980s, and of course includes his famous "Extra-Terrestrial Relays" from the 1945 "Wireless World" magazine, which was the first time anyone had set forth the theory of communications satellites. For this and other reasons, Clarke was dubbed "the Grandfather of the Communications Satellite," and the geosynchrononous orbit he was writing of became known as "the Clarke Orbit."
The sections of the book are "The Marconi International Fellowship," "First Flights," "Waves and Circuits," "The Beginnings of Satellite Communications," "Rockets and Warfare," "Amateur Astronomer," "Introduction to Astronautics," "Electronics and Space-flight," "The Space Elevator - And Beyond," "Mathematical Recreations," and "Beyond the Global Village." Since I much enjoyed Clarke's novel THE FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE dealing with the space elevator concept, I found the article entitled "The Space Elevator: Thought Experiment or Key to the Universe?" to be a very helpful background for the novel, and this article is one that is not incredibly technical. So, while this book is geared more toward the real geeks out there who can understand it all, it's also useful to Clarke readers who want a more detailed understanding of his space writings.