[Moscow]: Sovetskaia literatura, 1934. 130,  pp.: ill. 26,5x20,5 cm. In original dust jacket, original cardboard with lettering on the spine and Order of Lenin on the front cover. Restored dust jacket and slightly rubbed, otherwise very good.
One of 15 000 copies. Design was produced by VKUTEMAS graduate, Efim Pernikov (1903-1966) who worked on posters and books tending to agitational photomontages. For this edition, he used pictures provided by photograph A. Sorokin.
This is a captivating account of the Soviet stratospheric ascent that broke a record and reached a height of 19,000 meters in 1933. Soaring above Moscow, this high-altitude balloon was featured on the dust jacket that was divided almost in half by earth and sky. The book’s charm continued with photomontage endpapers showing enthusiastic people on the ground watching those who floated far in the air. Shortly after the title page (in Russian, English and German) a double-page photomontage contains a balloon flown to the Moon in the starry sky. Another photomontage in a chapter with a loud headline ‘Lenin Style’ depicts nine engineers in front of their masterpiece, spherical gondola with lettering ‘SSSR-1’.
The edition is fully illustrated with photographs and some of them were produced at night before release, the rest - by daylight. There are many photographs of the balloon and equipment. For example, p. 93 features a fine picture of a man, lifted by a jumping balloon, who was checking out the toughness of a gasbag for the grandiose flight. In fact, the jumping balloons as a thrilling sport were spread in the USSR a little later - they were used only by aerostat engineers during the early 1930s. That is why this balloon appeared on several photographs. The book contains pictures of how equipment of the gondola and devices were inspected before the flight and how it finally occurred. Bearing in mind the overall thrill of sky exploration, the compilers added a double-page picture where a plane and a rocket took off above the Palace of Soviets and crowded city.
The attention was also drawn to involved people. Among them are three pilots Georgii Prokofiev, Konstantin Godunov and Ernst Birnbaum, two female engineers developing balloon fabric, groups of engineers constructed the gondola, engine, etc. One of them was no doubt executed. A photograph and capture of him were neatly erased not affecting the neighboring picture of aircraft designer Vladimir Chizhevskii and the book in general. This is the overwhelming proof of how significant was this event and the book on it. None of the following Soviet stratospheric flights were succeeded.
Worldcat locates copies in Library of Congress, Indiana, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Chicago, California, Yale Universities and Harvard College.