Ignition! : An Informal History of Liquid Rocket Propellants

4.18 (1,835 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Foreword by 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 9-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


This newly reissued debut book in the Rutgers University Press Classics imprint is the story of the search for a rocket propellant which could be trusted to take man into space. This search was a hazardous enterprise carried out by rival labs who worked against the known laws of nature, with no guarantee of success or safety. Acclaimed scientist and sci-fi author John D. Clark writes with irreverent and eyewitness immediacy about the development of the explosive fuels strong enough to negate the relentless restraints of gravity. The resulting volume is as much a memoir as a work of history, sharing a behind-the-scenes view of an enterprise which eventually took men to the moon, missiles to the planets, and satellites to outer space. A classic work in the history of science, and described as "a good book on rocket stuff...that's a really fun one" by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, readers will want to get their hands on this influential classic, available for the first time in decades.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15.24mm | 235g
  • New Brunswick, NJ, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 2 black and white photographs, 1 line art
  • 0813595835
  • 9780813595832
  • 54,509

Table of contents

In Re John D. Clark - foreword by Issac Asimov
How It Started
Peenemunde and JPL
The Hunting of the Hypergol . . .
. . . and Its Mate
Peroxide - Always a Bridesmaid
Halogens and Politics and Deep Space
Lox and Flox and Cryogenics in General
What Ivan Was Doing
The Hopeful Monoprops
High Density and the Higher Foolishness
What Happens Next
show more

Review quote

"It's rare that a book about as high-minded and serious a topic as rocket science manages to be both highly informative and laugh-out-loud funny. But if there's a better way to describe John Clark's Ignition!, I've yet to discover it."
- Ars Technica
show more

About John Drury Clark

John Drury Clark (1907 - 1988) was an American rocket fuel developer, chemist, and science fiction writer. In addition to his work as a scientist, he was instrumental in the broad revival of interest in Robert E. Howard's Conan stories and an influence on the writing of Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, and other sci-fi authors.

Issac Asimov (1920 - 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. A prolific writer, he published more than 500 books, most notably the science fiction novels I, Robot and Foundation, and the popular science works, Guide to Science and Understanding Physics.
show more

Rating details

1,835 ratings
4.18 out of 5 stars
5 42% (769)
4 39% (711)
3 15% (282)
2 3% (61)
1 1% (12)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X