Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons (Paperback)George Pendle (author)
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'Forget geek stereotypes. Parsons' life seems straight out of a Hollywood thriller ... Pendle's book leaves us with a taste of genius's energy and fragility' Los Angeles Magazine
'You couldn't make it up' Physics World
'As a history of space travel, STRANGE ANGEL is a cornerstone ... Highly recommended' Ray Bradbury
BRILLIANT ROCKET SCIENTIST KILLED IN EXPLOSION screamed the front-page headline of the Los Angeles Times on 18 June 1952. John Parsons, a maverick rocketeer whose work had helped transform the rocket from a derided sci-fi plotline into a reality, was at first mourned as a tragically young victim of mishandled chemicals. But as reporters dug deeper a shocking story emerged. Parsons had been performing occult rites and summoning spirits as a follower of Alesteir Crowley.
George Pendle tells Parsons' extraordinary life story for the first time. Fuelled from childhood by dreams of space flight, Parsons was a crucial innovator during rocketry's birth. But his visionary imagination also led him into the occult community thriving in 1930s Los Angeles, and when fantasy's pull became stronger than reality, he lost both his work and his wife. Parsons was just emerging from his personal underworld when he died - aged thirty-seven. In Strange Angel, Pendle recovers a fascinating life and explores the unruly consequences of genius.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 260 g
Dimensions: 196 x 130 x 26 mm
Readable and engrossing -- Bryan Appleyard * LITERARY REVIEW *
Elegantly written ... Pendle with his graceful, measured prose... skilfully steers us through the quagmire of Parson's personal life to place him on the pedestal that he deserves, so that we may admire his remarkable legacy to modern rocket science * OBSERVER *
You couldn't make it up * PHYSICS WORLD *
A case of truth being stranger than fiction in all its glory. The whole mix is fascinating. Parsons' struggle to achieve a working rocket would make a good story in its own right, but add in the science fiction, add in the strange religion and characters like Hubbard - and finally, throw into the mix Parsons' horrendous death in an apparently accidental explosion at home ... It's a cracker, that rarest of things a popular science book that's a page turner too * POPULARSCIENCE.CO.UK *
Fascinating ... we are introduced to a surreal 1930s world where dreams of space flight were inspired by popular science fiction * FOCUS *
Entertaining... intriguing * CHEMISTRY WORLD *
As a history of space travel, STRANGE ANGEL is a cornerstone ... Highly recommended -- Ray Bradbury
Forget geek stereotypes. Parsons' life seems straight out of a Hollywood thriller ... Pendle's book leaves us with a taste of genius's energy and fragility * LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE *
Fascinating ... he deftly and seemingly effortlessly leads his readers through the technical aspects of Parsons' work. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy it * SEATTLE TIMES *
A riveting tale of rocketry, the occult, and boom-and-bust 1920s and 1930s Los Angeles * BOOKLIST *
An engaging treatment of a time when the modern world moved at the same speed as crazed mania * THE ONION *
Offers glimpses not only of the history of a lab, a science and a group of extraordinary people but also of America's rapidly changing political and cultural assumptions ... Parsons' story is an intriguing one, full of contradictions that seem quintessentially of their time * NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW *
Spellbinding ... STRANGE ANGEL has a strong narrative drive and reads like a novel - except that novels need to be plausible, whereas the life of Jack Parsons, poet, magician and rocket pioneer, had no such constraint * AMERICAN SCIENTIST *
STRANGE ANGEL could be a hybrid sired by GRAVITY'S RAINBOW out of FOUCAULT'S PENDULUM. Explosively fascinating * GLOBE & MAIL *
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