Building a Great Air and Space Library

To find the very best books about the world of aviation and spaceflight, we asked for recommendations.

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Looping the Loop: Posters of Flight by Henry Serano Villard and Willis M. Allen Jr. (Kales Press, 2000). Beautiful aviation posters that span the years of early flight, the Golden Age, and World War II.

Full Moon by Michael Light (Knopf, 1999). Stunning black-and-white photographs made by the astronauts during the lunar missions.

The Glory of Flight: The Art of William S. Phillips introduction by Stephen Coonts (The Greenwich Workshop, Inc., 1994). Not a nuts-and-bolts treatment of aircraft. Phillips is more like a landscape painter; he uses wonderful muted colors to make you feel like you're in the air.

Aviation, The Early Years: The Hulton Getty Picture Collection by Peter Almond (Konemann UK Ltd., 1997). Rare photographs documenting the early days of flight. Some of the whimsical-looking designs will make readers smile. (To think that these flew at all!)

Ghosts of the Skies: Aviation in the Second World War by Philip Makanna (Chronicle Books, 1995). The grace of these old warbirds and the lovely landscapes in which they are shown flying make an unbeatable combination. Also includes archival black-and-white photographs.

Wings by Mark Meyer (Thomasson-Grant, 1984). Does for Air Force aviation what The Cutting Edge does for naval aviation.

Air to Air by Paul Bowen (North Shore Press; two-volume set, 1998 and 2000). Bowen is known for photos of vortices trailing off bizjets and dramatic in-your-face shots of jets at takeoff. He shoots at dawn and dusk to get the soft colors.

Front Row Center: Inside the Great American Airshow by Erik Hildebrandt (Cleared Hot Media, 2000). An Air & Space contributor's work transports you to the world of airshows. Includes many tight air-to-air shots.

NASA and the Exploration of Space by Roger Launius and Bertram Ulrich Stewart (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1998). The work of more than 85 artists portraying the U.S. space program.

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