At first, I was a little bit disappointed that this heavy and expensive volume came with paper back cover. This will definitely shorten it's shelf life unless I will be very careful. So, sorry, folks, I do not plan to borrow this treasure to anyone.
Once opened and read, this book truly shines. Amount of historical data and references to the sources is overwhelming and pours true and unbiased light on this historical project. Being an author myself now, I truly appreciate the amount of work and efforts that both authors put into this project. Absolutely must have to any true aviation and space history enthusiast who wants to know what really happened and why.
At a glance - What this book has and does not have... This book definitely has: - detailed history of Buran-Energia Air-space launch system; - abbreviated but detailed and clear history of the soviet rocket engine planes; - overview and descriptions of the real and possible precursors of Buran and analysis of the future program derivatives; - stories of many people involved behind; This book definitely does not have: - hard cover; - color pictures (other than on the cover) nor included DVD/CD media; - colorful and clear diagrams that you might encounter in modern popular books and magazines; - display worthy cover; - linked web content;
On a second thought, one thing that stroke me was that very often authors use the word 'russian' when referred to the space and rocket planes in the book, but in all fairness, the credit should go to the Soviet people of many nations and culture backgrounds, whose hard work, knowledge and efforts made one of the most powerful air-space launch system in the world - Buran-Energia. After all, US Space Shuttle is not only Florida's pride. Of course, this historical comment does not apply for new Russian space systems, since Soviet Union as a country does not exist anymore.