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Eccentric Orbits

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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“Good corporate drama . . . an enlightening narrative of how new communications infrastructures often come about.” —The Economist, “A Book of the Year 2016” In the early 1990s, Motorola developed a revolutionary satellite system called Iridium that promised to be its crowning achievement. Its constellation of 66 satellites in polar orbit was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium the company was a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month and crippled by baroque rate plans and agreements that forced calls through Moscow, Beijing, Fucino, Italy, and elsewhere. Bankruptcy was inevitable—the largest to that point in American history. And when no real buyers seemed to materialize, it looked like Iridium would go down as just a “science experiment.” That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former head of Pan-Am now retired and working on his golf game in Palm Beach, heard about Motorola’s plans to “de-orbit” the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time. “Deep reporting put forward with epic intentions . . . a story that soars and jumps and dives and digresses . . . [A] big, gutsy, exciting book.” —The Wall Street Journal, “A Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2016” “Spellbinding . . . A tireless researcher, Bloom delivers a superlative history . . . A tour de force.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Eccentric Orbits

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American technology company developed a revolutionary satellite system called Iridium that promised to be its crowning achievement. Light years ahead of anything previously put into space, and built on technology developed for Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars,” Iridium’s constellation of 66 satellites in polar orbit meant that no matter where you were on Earth, at least one satellite was always overhead, and you could call Tibet from Fiji without a delay and without your call ever touching a wire. Iridium the satellite system was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment, surely the future of communication. The only problem was that Iridium the company was a commercial disaster. Only months after launching service, it was $11 billion in debt, burning through $100 million a month and crippled by baroque rate plans and agreements that forced calls through Moscow, Beijing, Fucino, Italy, and elsewhere. Bankruptcy was inevitable—the largest to that point in American history. And when no real buyers seemed to materialize, it looked like Iridium would go down as just a “science experiment.” That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a former head of Pan-Am now retired and working on his golf game in Palm Beach, heard about Motorola’s plans to “de-orbit” the system and decided he would buy Iridium and somehow turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business. In Eccentric Orbits, John Bloom masterfully traces the conception, development, and launching of Iridium and Colussy’s tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, from meetings with his motley investor group, to the Clinton White House, to the Pentagon, to the hunt for customers in special ops, shipping, aviation, mining, search and rescue—anyone who would need a durable phone at the end of the Earth. Impeccably researched and wonderfully told, Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of technological achievement, business failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time.


Evidence of Love

Author: John Bloom
Publisher: Open Road Media
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Edgar Award Finalist: The “sensational” true story of two desperate housewives and the killing that shocked a Texas community (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore had a lot in common: They sang together in the Methodist church choir, their daughters were best friends, and their husbands had good jobs working for technology companies in the north Dallas suburbs known as Silicon Prairie. But beneath the placid surface of their seemingly perfect lives, both women simmered with unspoken frustrations and unanswered desires. On a hot summer day in 1980, the secret passions and jealousies that linked Candy and Betty exploded into murderous rage. What happened next is usually the stuff of fiction. But the bizarre and terrible act of violence that occurred in Betty’s utility room that morning was all too real. Based on exclusive interviews with the Montgomery Gore and families, Evidence of Love is the riveting account of a gruesome tragedy and the trial that made national headlines when the defendant entered the most unexpected of pleas: not guilty by reason of self-defense (Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Adapted into the Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning television movie A Killing in a Small Town, this chilling tale of sin and savagery will “fascinate true crime aficionados” (Kirkus Reviews).


A Telephone for the World

Author: Martin Collins
Publisher: JHU Press
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The first book to tell the story of Iridium in this context, A Telephone for the World is a fascinating look at how people, nations, and corporations across the world grappled in different ways with the meaning of a new historical era.


The Story of the Heavens

Author: Robert Stawell Ball
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The Griffith Observer

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Jim Kobak s Kirkus Reviews

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Geologica Carpathica

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The Planetary Report

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Scientific American

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