Unless you are truly interested in the history of Space Shuttle Columbia, this thick volume Into The Black is not going to be for you. Author Rowland White is an excellent researcher and writer but the painstaking details of the US space program are likely beyond most readers’ attention span. This book is more of a fine, comprehensive history rather than a reading for enjoyment, fascinating as it may be. We have many astronauts and related staff mentioned in this book, and White likes to provide at least a briefs history of their lives often from early childhoods on. The history starts with the launch of the Russian Sputnik in nineteen-fifty-seven and continues until the nineteen-eighty-one catastrophe of the last Columbia spacecraft.

“I’ve pieced together events from a wide variety of sources to produce an account that is the fullest and most accurate ever published.”

Even with good, exciting writing and the exhaustingly fine details most readers would prefer a briefer chapter-by chapter summary. Should you decide to read this book, you should not skip pages or you lose continuity. You find everything from spy satellite program and tracking stations to aircraft glide ratios. Luckily, a glossary lists the many scores of acronyms in the text. In this reviewer’s advance copy we have no illustrations except of the space shuttle’s details.