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105 Featured Titles

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Exam Copy
Tex Johnston
Jet-Age Test Pilot
Written by A. M. "Tex" Johnston


Format: Trade Paperback, 274 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: December 17, 2000
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-56098-931-8 (1-56098-931-9)

One of America’s most daring and accomplished test pilots, Tex Johnston flew the first US jet airplanes and, in a career spanning the 1930s through the 1970s, helped create the jet age at such pioneering aerospace companies as Bell Aircraft and Boeing.

“There seem to be two Tex Johnstons: the one who... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Empires of Light
Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World
Written by Jill Jonnes


Format: Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
On Sale: October 12, 2004
Price: $17.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-75884-3 (0-375-75884-4)

In the final decades of the nineteenth century, three brilliant and visionary titans of America’s Gilded Age—Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse—battled bitterly as each vied to create a vast and powerful electrical empire. In Empires of Light, historian Jill Jonnes portrays this extraordinary trio and their riveting and ruthless... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Physics of the Future
How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100
Written by Michio Kaku


Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Publisher: Doubleday
On Sale: March 15, 2011
Price: $28.95
ISBN: 978-0-385-53080-4 (0-385-53080-3)

The New York Times bestselling author of Physics of the Impossible gives us a stunning and provocative vision of the future.

Based on interviews with over three hundred of the world’s top scientists, who are already inventing the future in their labs, Kaku—in a lucid and engaging fashion—presents the revolutionary developments... Read more >

Exam Copy
Mars Up Close
Inside the Curiosity Mission
Written by Marc Kaufman
Foreword by Elon Musk


Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Publisher: National Geographic
On Sale: August 5, 2014
Price: $40.00
ISBN: 978-1-4262-1278-9 (1-4262-1278-X)

With images never published before, many with surprising colors and landscapes that make you want to spend your next vacation on Mars, this is the one and only book written in consultation with NASA scientists that explains everything, detail by detail and moment by moment, about the most ambitious space expedition... Read more >

Exam Copy
Moon Lander
How We Developed the Apollo Lunar Module
Written by Thomas J. Kelly


Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: September 11, 2009
Price: $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-58834-273-7 (1-58834-273-5)

Chief engineer Thomas J. Kelly gives a firsthand account of designing, building, testing, and flying the Apollo lunar module. It was, he writes, “an aerospace engineer’s dream job of the century.” Kelly’s account begins with the imaginative process of sketching solutions to a host of technical challenges with an emphasis on... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
You Are Not a Gadget
A Manifesto
Written by Jaron Lanier


Format: Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: February 8, 2011
Price: $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-38997-8 (0-307-38997-9)

A programmer, musician, and father of virtual reality technology, Jaron Lanier was a pioneer in digital media, and among the first to predict the revolutionary changes it would bring to our commerce and culture. Now, with the Web influencing virtually every aspect of our lives, he offers this provocative critique of... Read more >
Also available as an unabridged audiobook download and an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Future of Ideas
The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
Written by Lawrence Lessig


Format: Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: October 22, 2002
Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-72644-6 (0-375-72644-6)

The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the revolution has produced a counterrevolution of potentially devastating power and effect. Creativity once flourished because the Net protected a commons on which widest range of innovators could experiment. But now, manipulating... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Digital Art Revolution
Creating Fine Art with Photoshop
Written by Scott Ligon


Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
On Sale: March 9, 2010
Price: $29.99
ISBN: 978-0-8230-9536-0 (0-8230-9536-3)

There’s no question that applications like Photoshop have changed the art world forever. Master digital artists already use these tools to create masterpieces that stretch the limits of the imagination—but you don’t have to be a master to create your own digital art.

Whether you’re a beginner who’s never picked up... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Fighter Pilot's Heaven
Flight Testing the Early Jets
Written by Donald S. Lopez


Format: Trade Paperback, 236 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: March 17, 2001
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56098-916-5 (1-56098-916-5)

Fighter Pilot’s Heaven presents the dramatic inside story of the American military’s transition into the jet age, as told by a flyer whose life depended on its success. With colorful anecdotes about fellow pilots as well as precise technical information, Donald S. Lopez describes how it was to be “behind the... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Silent Wings at War
Combat Gliders in World War II
Written by John L. Lowden


Format: Trade Paperback, 216 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: September 17, 2002
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-034-4 (1-58834-034-1)

The pilots were known as “suicide jockeys” and the aircraft they flew were called “flak bait.” Towed behind modified bombers or transport aircraft, Allied combat gliders were used in some of the riskiest missions of World War II, landing miles behind enemy lines with specially trained assault forces. In Silent Wings... Read more >

Exam Copy
Mars Rover Curiosity
An Inside Account from Curiosity's Chief Engineer
Written by Rob Manning and William L. Simon


Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: October 21, 2014
Price: $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-473-1 (1-58834-473-8)

In the course of our enduring quest for knowledge about ourselves and our universe, we haven't found answers to one of our most fundamental questions: Does life exist anywhere else in the universe? Ten years and billions of dollars in the making, the Mars Rover Curiosity is poised to answer this... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Descent
The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss
Written by Brad Matsen


Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: June 6, 2006
Price: $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7501-0 (1-4000-7501-7)

In Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss, Brad Matsen brings to vivid life the famous deep-sea expeditions of Otis Barton and William Beebe. At a time when no one had traveled deeper than a few hundred feet, they took the world to a half mile down. At the height of... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Rocket Girl
The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America's First Female Rocket Scientist
Written by George D. Morgan
Foreword by Ashley Stroupe, PHD


Format: Trade Paperback, 310 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books
On Sale: July 9, 2013
Price: $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-61614-739-6 (1-61614-739-3)

This is the extraordinary true story of America’ s first female rocket scientist. Told by her son, it describes Mary Sherman Morgan’s crucial contribution to launching America’s first satellite and the author’s labyrinthine journey to uncover his mother’s lost legacy--one buried deep under a lifetime of secrets political, technological, and personal. 

In... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Early Home Computers

Written by Kevin Murrell


Format: Trade Paperback, 48 pages
Publisher: Shire
On Sale: February 19, 2013
Price: $12.95
ISBN: 978-0-7478-1216-6 (0-7478-1216-0)

This is the story of the people and machines that revolutionized the world and made personal computers an integral part of every home. For the typical family in the 1960s and 1970s, computers were both fascinating and frightening, but largely a mystery. Developments in microelectronics in the early 1970s meant that... Read more >

Exam Copy
Being Digital

Written by Nicholas Negroponte


Format: Trade Paperback, 272 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: January 3, 1996
Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-76290-4 (0-679-76290-6)

Being Digital is both a guide to the present state of our rapidly changing digital age and a map for the future--how our lives will be shaped and enhanced by computer-related technology.  Negroponte--Wired Magazine columnist and founding director of the MIT Media Lab--describes how advancements in computer technology and telecommunications will transform... Read more >
Also available as an abridged audiobook download.

Exam Copy
Von Braun
Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War
Written by Michael Neufeld


Format: Trade Paperback, 624 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: November 11, 2008
Price: $21.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-38937-4 (0-307-38937-5)

Michael J. Neufeld, curator and space historian at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, delivers a brilliantly nuanced biography of Wernher von Braun.

Chief rocket engineer of the Third Reich and one of the fathers of the U.S. space program, Wernher von Braun is a source of consistent fascination. Glorified... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Physics of War
From Arrows to Atoms
Written by Barry Parker


Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books
On Sale: January 7, 2014
Price: $25.95
ISBN: 978-1-61614-803-4 (1-61614-803-9)

     Physics has played a critical role in warfare since the earliest times. Author Barry Parker highlights famous battles of the past as well as renowned scientists and inventors such as Leonardo, Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein whose work had an impact on the technology of combat. Mechanics and the laws of... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Panama Fever
The Epic Story of the Building of the Panama Canal
Written by Matthew Parker


Format: Trade Paperback, 576 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: March 17, 2009
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-9518-6 (1-4000-9518-2)

The Panama Canal was the costliest undertaking in history; its completion in 1914 marked the beginning of the “American Century.” Panama Fever draws on contemporary accounts, bringing the experience of those who built the canal vividly to life. Politicians engaged in high-stakes diplomacy in order to influence its construction. Meanwhile, engineers... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
It Started with Copernicus
Vital Questions about Science
Written by Keith Parsons


Format: Trade Paperback, 429 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books
On Sale: August 5, 2014
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-61614-929-1 (1-61614-929-9)

Is science more rational or objective than any other intellectual endeavor? Are scientific theories accurate depictions of reality or just useful devices for manipulating the environment? These core questions are the focus of this unique approach to the philosophy of science. Unlike standard textbooks, this book does not attempt a comprehensive... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Land Grabbers
The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth
Written by Fred Pearce


Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press
On Sale: May 29, 2012
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 978-0-8070-0324-4 (0-8070-0324-7)

An unprecedented land grab is taking place around the world. Fearing future food shortages or eager to profit from them, the world’s wealthiest and most acquisitive countries, corporations, and individuals have been buying and leasing vast tracts of land around the world. The scale is astounding: parcels the size of small... Read more >
Also available as an eBook and a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
The Book on the Bookshelf

Written by Henry Petroski


Format: Trade Paperback, 306 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: September 12, 2000
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-70639-4 (0-375-70639-9)

From the author of the highly praised The Pencil and The Evolution of Useful Things comes another captivating history of the seemingly mundane: the book and its storage.

Most of us take for granted that our books are vertical on our shelves with the spines facing out, but Henry Petroski, inveterately curious... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Engineers of Dreams
Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America
Written by Henry Petroski


Format: Trade Paperback, 496 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: October 29, 1996
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-679-76021-4 (0-679-76021-0)

Petroski reveals the science and engineering--not to mention the politics, egotism, and sheer magic--behind America's great bridges, particularly those constructed during the great bridge-building era starting in the 1870s and continuing through the 1930s. It is the story of the men and women who built the St. Louis, the George Washington... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Essential Engineer
Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems
Written by Henry Petroski


Format: Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: March 8, 2011
Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-47350-9 (0-307-47350-3)

From the acclaimed author of The Pencil and To Engineer Is Human, The Essential Engineer is an eye-opening exploration of the ways in which science and engineering must work together to address our world’s most pressing issues, from dealing with climate change and the prevention of natural disasters to the development... Read more >
Also available as an unabridged audiobook download and an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Evolution of Useful Things
How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are.
Written by Henry Petroski


Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: February 1, 1994
Price: $15.95
ISBN: 978-0-679-74039-1 (0-679-74039-2)

In this informative mixture of history, biography, and design theory, Petroski examines familiar objects to illustrate the general principles behind the evolution of all products of invention and engineering, examining screwdrivers, paper clips, Scotch tape, Post-its, and even "clamshell" fast-food containers.  He demonstrates how the evolving forms of technology generally are altered... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Pencil
A History of Design and Circumstance
Written by Henry Petroski


Format: Trade Paperback, 448 pages
Publisher: Knopf
On Sale: November 10, 1992
Price: $23.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-73415-4 (0-679-73415-5)

"Very engaging and wonderfully informative...The Pencil unfolds a history of invention, craftsmanship, engineering, manufacture and business that is also at times a history of cultural life on both sides of the Atlantic...No reader of this book will ever be able to pick up a pencil again without marveling."--Hilton Kramer, Newsday

"Using the... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.
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