HANDSOME FIRST EDITION OF COSMONAUT A.A. LEONOV'S 1972 BOOK ON ARTIFICIAL SATELLITES, WITH 35 BEAUTIFUL FOLIO COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS BY A.K. SOKOLOV, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY BOTH LEONOV AND SOKOLOV
(SOKOLOV, A.K.) LEONOV, Aleskei Arkhipovich. Kosmicheskie dali. Moscow: Ikobrazitel'noe iskusstvo, 1972. Folio (11 by 14-1/2 inches), original marbled blue imitation leather gilt portfolio, metal and enamel cover medallion, original printed self-wrappers; pp. 34, 33 loose color plates. $2800.
First edition of Russian cosmonaut A.A. Leonov's work on artificial satellites, with 35 loose color illustrations (17 folding) and 5 additional monochrome red-tone illustrations laid in, signed on the front wrapper by both the illustrator A.K. Sokolov and by Leonov. Text in Russian.
This elaborate production by Russian cosmonaut A.A. Leonov concerns artificial satellites and astronautics. "In March 1965, at the age of 30, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov made the first spacewalk in history, beating out American rival Ed White on Gemini 4 by almost three months. Floating outside his tiny Voskhod 2 capsule for 10 exhilarating minutes, Leonov felt, he writes, "like a seagull with its wings outstretched, soaring high above the Earth" (Air & Space, Smithsonian). Leonov went on to write extensively about his life as an astronaut and about space exploration in general. The wonderful illustrations by A.K. Sokolov display satellites and the landscapes of astronomical bodies as well as space itself in vivid color. The entirety is housed in a handsome publisher's portfolio made of blue imitation leather and bearing a raised metal and enamel medallion with a hammer and sickle. This copy contains two copies of Plate 1, for a total of 35 plates instead of the usual 34. Five additional folio red-tone monochrome illustrations, apparently also by Sokolov, have been laid in; they do not appear to be integral to this edition. The front wrapper also bears an inscription in an unidentified hand in addition to the signatures of Leonov and Sokolov.
Small, faint stain on front wrapper/inscription, slight scattered foxing to verso captions of folio plates, light edge-wear to portfolio including small missing piece at top of pocket. A near-fine copy, most desirable signed.