The most delightful and memorable new book I read last year was ‘Spacesuit,’ by Nicholas de Monchaux … [I]t offers a wonderful David & Goliath story about the triumph of Oldenburg-like soft objects over phallic, rigid ones, and of hard-working seamstresses over hard-nosed engineers.—The New Yorker—
Spacesuit pays worthy homage to that often overlooked but essential technology for human space exploration.
—The Space Review
The density of ideas and connections is intoxicating. De Monchaux swings masterfully between subjects, teasing out unexpected connections and spotting the seeds of contemporary life that were planted by the space race.
De Monchaux has an ear for a good story and affection for the historical characters…Spacesuit offers a broad and creative appraisal of that suit’s many contexts, encouraging readers to consider technology as design, shaped by the circumstances of its time, unfailingly and elegantly layered and crafted to serve a purpose.
De Monchaux’s thorough and artful history of the American spacesuit takes readers at a leisurely pace through the past, from the first air travel (via balloon) through fashions of the mid-20th century and manned missions into outer space.
Spacesuit bursts with dinner-party fodder: Did you know that the U.S. government’s documentation of the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests created a worldwide film shortage? Or that the Apollo mission’s computer-backup system was crafted into a binary pattern that was then physically woven into ropes? And that only seamstresses could be called upon to do this work properly?
—Los Angeles Review of Books