Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars

Scribner. Nov. 2019. 352p. notes. index. ISBN 9781982123536. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781982123574. HIST
In his first book for adults, Rader, Mission Manager at SpaceX and host of the podcast Spellbound, concentrates on much more than space exploration. He begins by summarizing key points in the history of adventures, exploration, and discoveries in straightforward, easy-to-understand chapters. Rader shares the view of Michio Kaku, author of The Future of Humanity, and others regarding our future in that “we either remain on Earth and…wipe ourselves out [or]…we become spacefaring.” Yet, even in his critiques of setbacks such as the end of the Saturn V rocket, the work’s tone is positive, with the theme of “how exploration enriches us” excellently elaborated. And while not overly detailed, in some parts, such as a chapter on Amelia Earhart, passages can run long.
VERDICT This clearly written and engaging overview of human exploration since our beginnings will capture the imaginations of both YA and adult readers. Highly recommended.

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