While the title of this book may seem a bit gruesome, I found this book to be one of the most interesting books related to manned spaceflight. Oftentimes, we hear about the great triumphs of the space program, but unless it is a great disaster, the problems encountered in spaceflight are often overlooked. This book covers all aspects of spaceflight (training, flight, EVA, etc.) from the early pioneering days right up to the present. The book includes a great deal on the Soviet space program that I have not seen before.
The book opens with the daring adventures of the early manned ballooning experiments and the goal of the setting a record altitude. I was quite impressed with what was accomplished in the 1920's and 1930's. The book then proceeds to the various experimental X-planes and the problems encountered with these projects.
After this brief, but very informative introduction, the book examines the era of manned spaceflight. The book is divided into four main areas: training, launch, space travel, and re-entry. Each of the main areas examines all the major and minor problems encountered with these aspects of spaceflight. As one would expect, the book covers the major spaceflight disasters, like Apollo 1, the Challenger explosion, Apollo 13, but it also includes even the smallest problems like the lunar explorers falling down or urine leaks in the shuttle EVA suits. It was interesting to see that the have been many more problems, though minor ones, in manned spaceflight than has been reported in the press.
The book contains numerous rarely seen photographs and drawings. If you're interested in manned space flight, this book provides a fascinating and unique view of the dangerous side of space travel.