Great Books: The Long Lonely Leap

From time to time we will share some entries from a terrific website called Bookride. If you are a book fan of any sort the site should be on your Must Visit list. Today’s entry is called The Long Lonely Leap. Below is an excerpt from the article. For more information on this book as well as tons more like it be sure to visit Bookride.


In an open gondola hung beneath a shimmering cloud of plastic, a man ascends to the awesome height of 102,800 feet. He looks about him at a world that is not the world of man. The atmosphere of his planet lies beneath his feet. The velvet blackness of space is close enough to reach out and touch. He is absolutely alone. Then he jumps . . . ( From the blurb of ‘The Long Lonely Leap’ 196i)

 The Long Lonely Leap
Captain Joseph W. Kittinger, Jr., USAF (with Martin Caidin.) THE LONG, LONELY LEAP. E.P. Dutton & Company, N.Y. 1961.
Current Selling Prices
$600+ /£400+
Highly uncommon regularly published book that is much sought after. Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, well before liquid-fuel rockets were fully operational, a small group of military men made the first exploratory trips into the upper stratosphere to the edge of outer space in tiny capsules suspended beneath plastic balloons. They are sometimes referred to as ‘the pre-astronauts.’ Doctors, physicists, meteorologists, engineers, astronomers, and test pilots, they made great personal sacrifices and took great risks in the promise of high adventure and the opportunity to uncover a few secrets of the universe. One of their number, Capt. Joseph Kittinger, rode a balloon up to 103,000 feet in an open gondola and then stepped out and freefell to Earth, becoming the only person to break the sound barrier without a vehicle. Kittinger wrote the book with Martin Caidin, aviation writer, pilot, and author of over two dozen books, the two men flew and spent months together to re-create the amazing events of this story.
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