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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

July/August 2007

“Reviews” section – “What I’m Reading” personal column, page 67
James Oberg

"Rockets and People", Boris Chertok, NASA History Series, 2005. The best so far of an elegant series of Russian space history memoirs and narratives, funded by an unusually enlightened NASA and translated by ace space historian Asif Siddiqi of Fordham University, provides the 'you-are-there' immediacy of INSIDE the Soviet space program in its glory days after the launch of Sputnik fifty years ago next October.

"War in Heaven", Helen Caldicott and Craig Eisendrath, New Press, NY, 2007. Passions are as bright as ever but an avalanche of factual flubs (e.g., misidentifying space weapons conferee Michael Moore as the "film maker" and not as BAS former editor) and all-to-obvious 'stacking the deck' (the authors never seemed to encounter a Soviet space weapon that upset them - and they missed most of them anyway) make this worthless as a source document but hauntingly fascinating as an intellectual train wreck.

"1634: The Baltic War" by Eric Flint and David Weber, 2007, the most enthralling and imaginative cycle of science fiction novels in decades, continues the adventures of West Virginia townfolk transported (by a
far-future alien engineering 'oops') into the middle of the Thirty Years War, has gripping adventure, in-your-face historical reality, probing appraisals of technological and sociological interfaces, and very human
characters you quickly come to care for.

"Shockingly Close to the Truth - Confessions of a Grave-Robbing Ufologist", by James Moseley, Prometheus Books, 2002. Moseley, fascinated by the flying saucer craze since the 1950's but cynical enough to realize how weird everybody else in the field was, pens a sympathetic, humorous, and open-minded personal account of the people, places, and unidentified sky stuff (and hoaxes) he's encountered in more than half a century of being baffled by what is, or might be, going on "out there".


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