Ask an astronaut: Recent books about transport

Cover from Syndetics

This time we’ve highlighted a great selection of books about space travel, along with the very popular “How to Build a Car” and “Girls auto clinic glove box guide“.

Syndetics book coverPicturing the Cosmos: A Visual History of Early Soviet Space Endeavor.
“Space is the ultimate canvas for the imagination, and in the 1950s and ’60s, as part of the space race with the United States, the solar system was the blank page upon which the Soviet Union etched a narrative of exploration and conquest. …The USSR mapped and named the cosmos, using new media to stake a claim to this new territory and incorporating it into the daily lives of its citizens…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlight : the complete history of aviation / R. G. Grant.
“Over 100 years ago, the Wright brothers flew in a shaky plane for the first time. Today, pilots can fly faster than the speed of sound, creating a sonic boom. Filled with thousands of full-color photographs and fact-filled profiles on 300 aircrafts, Flight follows the history of mankind taking to the skies…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGirls auto clinic glove box guide / Patrice Banks ; illustrations by Dianne Castillo.
“A do-it-herself guide to auto maintenance, roadside emergencies, and the real scoop on how women can get honest car service at the garage, from engineer turned auto mechanic and award-winning entrepreneur Patrice Banks.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverClassic planes : celebrating New Zealand’s rich aviation heritage / Ivor Wilkins.
“With eloquence and colour, bestselling author Ivor Wilkins itraces the story of planes in New Zealand, beginning with the exploits of Richard Pearse and shining a light on other local pioneers, Jean Batten and Tim Wallis among them. He also examines the machines from bygone eras, celebrating those who lovingly restore planes in the modern day, and revels in our ongoing love affair with winged wonders. …breathtaking new photography is complemented by archival imagery, revealing a truly special and important celebration of planes and people. As the author notes in his preface- ‘love is in the air’…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverApollo / Zack Scott.
“…The Apollo Program ran from 1961 until 1972, and marks one of the greatest accomplishments in all of human endeavour – man walking on the moon. On 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin achieved this most remarkable feat, becoming the first humans to visit another celestial body. Apollo is an extraordinary visual history of the story of this iconic space programme, based on recently released NASA data about the various missions of that name. Using beautifully designed infographics, Apollo takes us through all the astonishing facts and figures, as well as some quirky little-known details, and gives us a detailed and elegant history of the seventeen missions which saw twelve humans step on the surface of the moon. Apollo gives us an insight into the incredible individuals who made that journey.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEndurance : a year in space, a lifetime of discovery / Scott Kelly with Margaret Lazarus Dean.
“A stunning, personal memoir from the astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station–a candid account of his remarkable voyage, of the journeys that preceded it, and of his colorful and inspirational formative years. The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly hostile to human life…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe passion for Holden : a celebration of the classic Australian marque in 48 cars / Joel Wakely.
“Joel Wakely has worked with and raced with Holden cars almost his entire life, owning several significant and some very rare models. He knows Holdens like he knows the back of his hand, and he knows many other passionate Holden lovers like himself. Following his success with his book Legends of the 48-215 – an in-depth racing history of very first Holden model – and to mark the manufacture in Australia of the very last Holdens in 2017, he has gathered together dozens of fascinating stories about many of the models Holden have produced since 1948…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAsk an astronaut / Tim Peake.
“Based on his historic mission to the International Space Station, Ask an Astronaut is Tim Peake’s guide to life in space, and his answers to the thousands of questions he has been asked since his return to Earth. With explanations ranging from the mundane–how do you wash your clothes or go to the bathroom while in orbit?–to the profound–what’s the point?–all written in Tim’s characteristically warm style, Tim shares his thoughts on every aspect of space exploration… The public was invited to submit questions using the hashtag #askanastronaut, and a selection are answered by Tim in the book, accompanied with illustrations, diagrams, and never-before-seen photos.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to build a car / Adrian Newey.
How to Build a Car explores the story of Adrian’s unrivalled 35-year career in Formula One through the prism of the cars he has designed, the drivers he has worked alongside and the races in which he’s been involved. A true engineering genius, even in adolescence Adrian’s thoughts naturally emerged in shape and form – he began sketching his own car designs at the age of 12 and took a welding course in his school summer holidays. From his early career in IndyCar racing and on to his unparalleled success in Formula One, we learn in comprehensive, engaging and highly entertaining detail how a car actually works…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAston Martin DB : 70 years / Andrew Noakes.
“The name of David Brown is synonymous with the glory days of Aston Martin, when a tiny British sports car company was rescued from near-extinction and turned into a marque that could compete with Ferrari – and win. Stylish design, lavish illustration and meticulously researched text come together in this large-format, 224-page book to create a superb celebration of the 70th anniversary of DB Aston Martins in 2017…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpaceport Earth : the reinvention of spaceflight / Joe Pappalardo.
“Examines the current state and future of the space travel industry, discussing the rise of private companies engaged in commercialized space flight, the building of new spacecraft and rockets, and the development of spaceports.” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand shipping and transport directory.
Volume 57, 2018

New Zealand work boat review 2018.
“a showcase selection of the latest workboats.” (Cover)

Ford in New Zealand : putting the car before the horse / John Stokes.
“The arrival of the car in New Zealand was a game-changer – not only was it much faster and more reliable over long distances than a horse, it was affordable to everyone.” (Cover)

Recent titles on Cars and Transport

A wide selection this time, from bicycles to motorbikes, Land Rover to motor racing and speedway culture, Boeing to the RNZAF, and notable boats to product tankers!

Image from Fishpond.co.nzLaucala Bay : the story of the RNZAF in Fiji 1939 to 1967 / Bee Dawson.
“As the prospect of a Pacific war with Japan became likely in the 1930s, a Commonwealth defence conference decided which countries would be responsible for which parts of the Pacific. New Zealand was given responsibility for air reconnaissance for part of the ocean centred around Fiji. It was considered that this would best be done with flying boats. The air base at Laucala Bay was developed as part of the strategy to carry out this work. This account tells of the wartime crises and life when peace arrived, from the tracking of both aircraft and submarine activity, to the tragedies and rescues inevitable in times of war.” (Publisher information)

Image from Fishpond.co.nzKiwi speedway culture / Steve Holmes.
“Speedway racing is a form of motorsport born in the USA, but one which was quickly adopted here in New Zealand, dating back to the early 1900s. Speedway has evolved into possibly this country’s most successful racing arena, and one which has become typically unique to us, and our very unique interests. With 24 Speedway New Zealand affiliated race tracks spread throughout the country, local loyalty among fans is as intense and passionate as rugby, or any other sporting code. Kiwi Speedway Culture is a new book that goes beyond the gritty quarter mile dirt bullring ovals dotted throughout our landscape, and visits some of the characters involved.” (Publisher’s description)

Image from Fishpond.co.nzTasman echo alpha : an account of the NZ airline industry in the 1960’s when flying was dangerous and sex was safe / Guy Clapshaw.
Tasman Echo Alpha is a former Air New Zealand pilot’s imaginary recollections of aviation’s glorious days when pilots flew with navigators and flight engineers, and passengers dressed up to fly in those ‘magic flying machines’.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverClassics : great motorcycles and people / words by Shane Kelly ; photography by Geoff Osborne ; foreword by Graeme Crosby.
“A coffee table book featuring images and histories of iconic New Zealand motorcycles, as well as the people who made them famous. Includes the history of the bikes as well as the people associated with them. Each chapter provides a background that tells why the motorcycles are special, looking at the story of the marque as well as the individual machine. It’s not just about the motorbikes but the experiences of the people associated with them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Kenny Smith scrapbook : a celebration of a Kiwi legend / Michael Clark.
“This biography covers Kenny Smith’s long career in motor racing, including the golden years of the late ’60s and ’70s when he raced alongside Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Jackie Stewart and Chris Amon, the years he won New Zealand Grand Prix titles, and everything else he’s learnt along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLand Rover : the story of the car that conquered the world / Ben Fogle.
“It is said that for more than half the world’s population, the first car they ever saw was a Land Rover Defender. It mirrors many of our national traits, stiff upper-lipped and slightly eccentric. The car has remained relatively unchanged for nearly seven decades and has spawned an industry that includes dozens of publications, car shows, clubs, associations and even model car collectors who dedicate their lives to the Land Rover. …After 67 years and 2 million vehicles the Land Rover Defender has ceased production, and this book is a fitting tribute to this most British institution which has stood as a beacon of durability and Britishness across the world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBoeing : in photographs : a century of flight / Martin W Bowman.
“This mighty company evolved from the humble Pacific Aero Products Company, incorporated in Seattle in July 1916 and renamed Boeing Airplane Company in 1917. Boeing’s 100-year history spans decades of rich achievement and technological development, first with the manufacture of sea-planes, then fighters and, from the 1930s onwards, huge bombers, innovative transports and finally, gigantic airliners, missiles, rockets and vehicles for moon exploration. Boeing constantly evolved, setting out to develop an entirely new jet transport, and in 1954 the innovative 707 appeared.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNotable boats : forty remarkable craft, forty great adventures / Nic Compton with illustrations by Peter Scott.
“Whether used for transport, adventure, work, or sport, boats have played a vital role in human history and have inspired numerous stories. The 40 boats featured in Notable Boats will gently float you away with tales of bravery, adventure, and the odd moment of near catastrophe. The book skillfully balances intricate and beautiful visuals, attractively styled statistics, and gripping text…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty bicycles that changed the world / Alex Newson.
“The bicycle is the world’s most popular form of transport, and its design has evolved over the decades both in terms of style and technology. From high-performance cycles to practical run-arounds, conceptual bikes to commercial models, the bicycle means different things to different people, from a means of transportation to a hobby, a way of keeping fit or for competitive sport.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarley-Davidson Sportster : sixty years / Allan Girdler ; photography by Jeff Hackett, David Blattel, and Dain Gingerelli.
“From its difficult birth, Harley-Davidson’s Sportster went from being a mid-twentieth-century correction to a twenty-first-century icon. …Right from the start the Sportster faced challenges, both from imported competition and from design flaws the resulted from rushing the bike to market. But the Sportster perservered through all of this, outlasting all its rivals to become one of the top selling motorcycles of the twenty-first-century.” (Book jacket)

Product tankers / Nick Tolerton and Michael Pryce.
“Mention tankers, and most people think of the supertankers which trundle cargoes of crude oil to the world’s refineries. But the backbone of the world’s tanker fleet is made up of thousands of product tankers, familiar in ports all over the world, which distribute the cargoes of refined products as indispensable cogs in the wheels on international commerce. This book by New Zealand maritime writers Nick Tolerton and Captain Michael Pryce is the first detailed look at the history of these ocean workhorses, which evolved as a separate ship type abreast of the construction of larger and larger supertankers designed specially to carry crude oil.” (Book jacket)

Cars and transport, recent titles

A real mixture this month, from rocket ‘girls’ to travelling the world in an estate car named Desire and a guide to bicycling.

Syndetics book coverRise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars / Nathalia Holt.
“The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCars, trains, and planes : the definitive visual history of land and air transportation / general consultants, Tony Streeter (trains), Giles Chapman (cars), Philip Whiteman (planes).
Cars, Trains, and Planes chronicles the history of mechanized transportation in awesome detail, profiling the thousands of machines that have carried people around the world over the last two hundred years. This stunning book offers a lavishly illustrated photographic collection of the world’s most incredible popular vehicles. …See everything from the first steam engines to the newest high-speed intercity trains; the Model T Ford to the latest hybrid and electric cars; and the Wright Flyer to stealth fighter jets and huge passenger planes.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the black : the extraordinary untold story of the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia and the astronauts who flew her / Rowland White.
“The real-life techno-thriller from a bestselling author and aviation expert that recaptures the historic moments leading up to the launch of the space shuttle Columbia and the exciting story of her daring maiden flight. Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, Into the Black pieces together the dramatic untold story of the Columbia mission and the brave people who dedicated themselves to help the United States succeed in the age of space exploration…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn estate car named Desire : a life on the road / Martin Gurdon.
“In the 1960s, Martin Gurdon grew up in a lost world of bubble cars and Ford Anglias, a place where dads took spare gearboxes on holiday and cars were frequently fixed at the roadside. A 1970s family crisis saw him sent to relatives in rural Lancashire, before spending five dysfunctional years at a vegetarian boarding school, where cars were both his salvation and his undoing, thanks to an illicitly acquired Triumph Herald. He’s since driven everything from supercars to Morris Marinas and been stalked with murderous intent by Reliant Robins. As iconic, and sometimes spectacularly awful vehicles passed through his hands, Martin dreamed of owning an exotic Bristol 401 like his dad’s, and of writing about cars, but would anyone ever be mad enough to let him? Car fans and car agnostics alike will love An estate car named Desire’s eccentric cast of wheeled and human characters.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDoor to door : the magnificent, maddening, mysterious world of transportation / Edward Humes.
“Transportation dominates our daily existence. Thousands, even millions, of miles are embedded in everything we do and touch. We live in a door-to-door universe that works so well most Americans are scarcely aware of it. …And yet, in the one highly visible part of the transportation world–the part we drive–we suffer grinding commutes, a violent death every fifteen minutes, a dire injury every twelve seconds, and crumbling infrastructure. Now, the way we move ourselves and our stuff is on the brink of great change, as a new mobility revolution upends the car culture that, for better and worse, built modern America…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHello, bicycle : an inspired guide to the two-wheeled life / Anna Brones ; illustrations by James Gulliver Hancock.
“An inspirational and encouraging illustrated guide to the world of bicycles and cycling, with practical information on bike buying, riding, repairs, and maintenance. Riding a bike is one of life’s simple joys–it’s fun, freeing, and good for the planet and our health. Hello, Bicycle is a practical guide to the bike life with real-world advice, covering everything you need to know to up your bicycling game and ride with confidence and style…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty ships that changed the course of history : a nautical history of the world / Ian Graham.
“A virtual history of the world told through the boats and ships that influenced how and where people lived, with whom they traded, the ideas they exchanged, and how they won and lost the battles that set the course of later generations and millennia.” (Syndetics summary)