Reviews/Comments on The Dream of Spaceflight

The Dream of Spaceflight
Jacket Blurbs:

“This book is simply wonderful!  I have a lot on my plate at the moment and I intended only to dip into it and set it aside for thorough reading later.  Everything else took second billing as I delighted in finishing it at the first sitting.”                                         
                                                                      ―Walter Cronkite

“This beautifully written book should silence the critics who imagine that the exploration of space is merely a matter of engineering and politics.”

                                                         ―Sir Arthur C. Clarke

“This beautiful book inspires the reader to understand what really drives spacefaring: something in the human spirit that causes us to do science―that both produces and dominates technology―and that deep down knows the human seed must be scattered widely away from its birthplace.”  

                                                            ―Hugh Downs, ABC News


“Wyn Wachhorst has written a book unlike any before, a merging of inner and outer that offers a new way of looking at spaceflight.  My hope is that it will find  a large audience.” 

                                                                                                     ―Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut


“I found the book thought-provoking,  in color, and a fertile place to imagine.”                                      

                                                                                          ―Eugene Kranz, Flight Director, Apollo 11


“Fascinating . . . lyrical, philosophical, enchanting. spell-binding . . . . A tour de force.” 

            —Frederick I. Ordway, co-author of The Rocket Team and Space Travel (with Wernher von Braun)


“Now that space exploration is well underway, we finally have a book that . . . describes the visions and dreams that motivate the new pioneers, helping to create poetry out of what has heretofore been treated mainly as an engineering problem.”  

                                                    ―Howard McCurdy, author of Space and the American Imagination


“Exquisitely well written, intellectually and linguistically spry, thematically ambitious, crisply independent-minded and downright moving.”

                                                                     ―Philip Gwyn Jones, Editorial Director, HarperCollins, UK


“The only other writers about science that immediately spring to mind as being near, but not equal to, Loren Eisley are the fictionists Alan Lightman, Edwin Abbott, and essayist Wyn Wachhorst.” 

                                                                                               ―Dan Schneider, critic/writer/poet

 “This book is very, very good, provocative and insightful.”

                                                                     ―Seth Shostak, SETI Institute Senior Astronomer

“We recommend The Dream of Spaceflight, Wyn Wachhorst’s essay collection considered a must-read for aficionados of physical sciences, American literature, and modern European and American history.” 

                                                                            ―, Industrial Market Trends

The Dream of Spaceflight is one of the few books that lives up to the marketing hype on the cover.  It is a beautifully written meditation on the philosophical aspects of space travel, something that is rare in this very technically dominated subject area.  I recommend this book highly.” 

                                                                                           ―Colin Philip, Astronautical Evolution

“I relished the euphonious depth of Wyn Wachhorst’s The Dream of Spaceflight, a brilliant collection of lyric personal essays lamenting our culture’s ‘lost vertical vision.’  Wachhorst conjures the titular dream in a tone of reverie manifested by elegant, serpentine sentences, a haunting marriage of disparate and fragmented imagery, and ageless figurative language.  Here, glorious writing competes with subject matter for our attention; Wachhorst is as interested in the nuances of poetics as he is in his ostensible theme.”

                                                                            ―Joe Bonomo, review in Creative Nonfiction


“I wish I could have taken you with me on STS-118 to experience it for yourself.  But please know you had a place of honor on our crew patch, and please know I carried thoughts gained from your wonderful writing with me!”

                                       ―Letter to the author from Barbara Morgan, Space Shuttle crew, STS-118


“A profound and beautifully written treatise on what is, at least in my view, the most daring and meaningful human adventure of all time.  I guess the best compliment one writer can give to another is to confess, ‘I wish I could have written that,’” 

                                                                 ―Ralph Pelligra, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, NASA Ames

Amazon readers reviews:

“The beautiful prose in Wyn Wachhorst’s The Dream of Spaceflight : Essays on the Near Edge of Infinity, led me to a greater understanding of space exploration and invited me to meditate with the author on the deeper meanings waiting for us if we open ourselves to the mysteries of the universe. Reading this book reminded me of how I felt when I first read Chet Raymo’s The Soul of the Night: that I was being taken on a journey to new places with a trustworthy guide. I love the way Wachhorst, like Raymo, looks at science through the lens of poetry. Throughout the essays in his book, whether he’s writing about the history of spaceflight and the evolution of Western culture, philosophical concerns related to space exploration, or the workings of the human psyche, Wachhorst made me aware of how important it is not to lose the capacity for wonder and for the human race to keep dreaming of reaching the stars. As he focuses on what it means to explore other worlds, Wachhorst never loses sight of the inner, subjective meaning inherent in all our undertakings. The personal narrative that Wachhorst weaves through the book connects those inner and outer realities and celebrates a world that is infinite. These are essays I will return to often for their poetry, their intelligence, and their wisdom.” 

                                                                               ―Michelle Gillett, columnist, Berkshire Eagle


“In this book you will read about the lives of several visionary people, and I think the tribute to Carl Sagan was the best anyone could ever write about another person. This volume is a jewel that is rarely encountered in the literary world, a joy to read.” 

                                                                                                  ―Kevin Spoering, Buffalo, Missouri


“If every politician in Washington had read this book we would not only have saved the Pluto-Kuiper Express mission but might well be revitalizing our whole space effort in the direction of actual exploration. Wachhorst gets beyond the nuts and bolts and tired histories to the real meaning of spaceflight-what it feels like to dream the dream. My wife and I are avid readers, and this is simply the best non-fiction writing we have ever encountered.” 

                                                                                                     ―David Phillips, Maryville, Missouri


“I wish I could afford a full-page ad in the New York Times to tell the world about this book. It should be read not only by everyone committed to the exploration of space, but by anyone with the capacity to appreciate lyrical prose and profound insight. This is not just for space buffs, but for every person who has ever looked into the night sky and felt a visceral surge of wonder and a longing to know. I have to believe that if this book were made known to everyone in the English-speaking world, there would be literally millions who would feel it was one of the ten best books they had ever read. Pick it up and read just one page―any page in the book―and you’ll be compelled to read the rest.”  

                                                                                                          ―R. Harvey Dye, Phoenix, Arizona


“This is definitely one of the best books (if not the best) that I have read within years. I’ve read it a few times now and some passages – on the paintings of Chesley Bonestell (the Caspar David Friedrich of alien landscapes), which match the serenity and sublime poetics of those paintings, on Alexei Leonov’s and Ed White’s first spacewalks, on the lift off of the Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket (gives me tears in my eyes, the same as if I see it on DVD), on Percival Lowell, on the fantasy worlds of Astounding Science Fiction and Startling Stories, to mention only a few – are so great! They give you a kind of experience which normally only good poetry can give you. I read these passages again and again, they are aesthetically addictive! It is impossible to convey the sublime poetic quality of Wachhorst’s prose. Really, every sentence in this book is a gem by itself. There is no other book, not even the books of Carl Sagan, that convey that sense of wonder (what the old Greeks called thaumazein) that propels us human beings toward space travel so intensely as this book does. It’s not only poetry of course, it’s also a very informative book (Wachhorst is a historian), but this book teaches you how important the mastery of language is to get a message through. It is also a very philosophical book, not in the analytical sense but more in an existentialist way.  This wonderful, exceptionally well written book is a must read for everyone, not only space enthusiasts. I dare to say that it is essential reading. How great that this book exists!!!” 

                                                                                                             ―P. Lemmens, Netherlands


“Wachhorst’s exquisite book on the dream of spaceflight resonates with my own life as a history buff and a mathematical physicist who worked on space programs during the peak years. I recommend this book to any scientist, policymaker, or ordinary citizen seeking to understand the place the space program has had in the national psyche.”   

                                                                                               ―Stephen Gill, Atherton, California


“Half way through this book I found myself trying to gather the words to describe it. At one point I settled on simply quoting a poignant passage but I found the book brimming with them. This book should be read out loud and with passion.” 

                                                                                                                            ―“Kermoo,” on Amazon



 “The notes that accompany these essays are chockablock with references to historians, scientists, biographers, psychologists, journalists, poets, science fiction writers, philosophers, and astronauts.  A huge amount of information from many disparate sources has been synthesized here.  These essays are a lyrical hymn to all that we might lose as human beings if we turn away from space.”

                                  ―Paul Kincaid, Science Fiction Research Association, SFRA Newsletter February 1, 2001


“In The Dream of Spaceflight, space writer Wyn Wachhorst (2000, p. 54) wonderfully captures this sense that past and present are united in possibilities carrying within them a mystical promise that is, in the end, ecstatic, primitive, dark, and mysteriously feminine:” [followed by a quote] 




             ―Robert Kozinets, anthropologist and Prof. of Marketing,   New York University


“A famous critic once wrote that his three goals in writing were ‘force, lucidity, and ease.’  Your style achieves all of these.  It is a pleasure to read a book such as yours, in which every single sentence pulls its weight, contributes a thought.  It is a model style, and certainly must reflect extraordinary care and effort in writing.  The content of this work is a cornucopia of high-quality ideas.  Because of your easy style, one is almost unaware of how much information is present in your writing until one looks at your notes and bibliography and realizes this is no mere collection of opinions in a ‘personal essay.’ 

                                                                                                     ―Letter from Jeff Bohn, Malvern, Pennsylvania


“That book was so damn good, ‘The Dream of Space Flight’ by Wyn Wachhorst.  I felt such an amazing peace after I finished this book.  I was almost brought to tears.”                                                           ―Anonymous (web)