At first sight, this little book of colour images seems a strange addition to the volumes of material published on the Apollo Saturn V...until one realises that it is but part of a large series entitled ‘Images of Modern America’. The publisher’s website explains it well: “When many people think of American history, they automatically tend to think of the distant past. However, it’s important to realize that history encompasses the modern age as well.”
Thus, in addition to the occasional space-related book, the series includes others on American cities and seemingly random aspects of American culture such as “The World of Little League”. In this context, all ‘spacers’ should be pleased that the author has produced this offering on the Saturn V, surely one of the greatest products of technology to emerge from the United States.
Following a foreword and brief introduction, the book is devoted
to the pictures (usually two per page) with extended captions. Depending on
your familiarity with books on the Saturn V, many of the images will seem new
and unusual. One of my favourites is an aerial shot of a convoy of Saturn
rocket stages being transported along a highway in Alabama in 1969 in
preparation for display at the new Space and Rocket Center; one wonders how
distracting it was to passing motorists!
In the final analysis, one has to wonder at the market for such a book: others describe the Saturn V in much greater detail and its small format (approximately A5) fails to do justice to many of the photos. That said, it’s good to know that the Saturn V is worthy of inclusion in the series as a visual icon of ‘Modern America’.
Mark Williamson, Space Technology Consultant