Meteorite Book Reviews

Disclaimer to format of information.
Costs are approximate. Opinions are my own.
by Al Mitterling

This page has been added to provide interested parties with sources of books they might want to read on the subject of meteorites. Some books are out of print and hard to find. Most books on the subject are more expensive because of the limited print.

Richmond, VA: Willmann-Bell. A true handbook with basic background, classification, collecting guidelines, preservation, etc… 170 pp, 37 photos, 26 tables. Must have!

Buckwald, V.F. 1975. HANDBOOK OF IRON METEORITES, Vol 1-3.
Los Angeles: U. California and Arizona State U Press. Comprehensive and expensive.

Berkeley: U of California Press. Chapters include Disbelief, Acceptance, Mathematical Astronomy and Statistics, Nineteenth Century Foundations of Meteorite Analysis, Late Nineteenth Century Meteorite Theories, Curators and Collectors, Folklore Myth and Utility, New Directions 1900-1950, and Contemporary Meteorite Research and Theories. Very comprehensive with extensive reference section. 445pages. Must have!

Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Extremely readable but very comprehensive basic textbook on Meteoritics. This is my personal favorite and taught me the most. Very illuminating. 196 pages. To die for!

Graham, A W, et al. 1985. THE CATALOGUE OF METEORITES — 4TH Edition.
This is a reference book with catalogue listing of meteorites up through January 1984. This is an expansion on the classic catalogues from the British Museum of Natural History and lists over 1400 of these meteorites as belonging in the British collection. Doesn’t include much of the newer Antarctic finds, for which one needs to refer to METEORITICS journal’s periodic Meteoritical Bulletins. As a catalogue, the information is referential and somewhat skeletal, almost just a “phone book” for short blurts. Find myself referring to it often, though never quite satisfied with the limited info contained. 460 pages.


Heide, Fritz. 1964. METEORITES
Chicago: University of Chicago Press. A dated by classic basic text. There is a new edition of this out just recent and copies of the new release are available at this time. Tells much of the ABC’s of meteorites.

Tucson: U of Arizona Press. I read this book the week before my second visit/pilgrimage to Meteor(ite) Crater outside of Winslow, Arizona, and it added immensely to my experience of again hiking around the rim of Barringer’s crater that sunny but cold winter day. This account of the personalities and controversy that historically surrounded the recognition of Meteor Crater for what it was, an impact astroblem, is, again, very readable and informative.

Daniel Moreau Barringer, a mining entrepreneur, was trespassing on Coon Mountain, which was earlier declared to be of volcanic origin by G.K. Gilbert, chief geologist of the USGS. Barringer reasoned that with the association of iron meteorites being found so close to the circular crater, hat there was a mass of iron buried in its floor and staked a mining claim on it. His extensive drilling and tunneling efforts amounted to the first comprehensive study of an impact site to have been undertaken anywhere, leading to hard evidence that gave Meteoritics a legitimate standing among the sciences. 366 pages.

Hutchison, Robert & Andrew Graham. 1993. Meteorites
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. New York. This a fairly new book out and has a lot of color photos of various meteorites. It covers a wide variety of topics related to meteorites on an introductory level. 61 pages.

Keil, Klaus and Gomez, Celso. 1980. BRAZILIAN STONE METEORITES
Albuquerque: U of New Mexico Press. This is a scholarly and technically difficult book (for me!) with a surprising amount of mineralogical information. The first half of the book is an intro to basic Meteoritics with a tremendous amount of information compressed into 46 long long pages! The mineralogy was often beyond me but helpful as later reference from other readings. The second half of the book was again a fairly in-depth cataloging of Brazilian meteorites, including the Angra dos Reis (the only Angrite!) and the Governador Valadares (Nahklite). In contrast to Graham’s CATALOGUE, each meteorite was explored in detail, including fall circumstances, texture, mineralogy, chemical composition , Age, origin and available sources.

Meteorites and the Early Solar System. 1988

The University of Arizona Press. Editors John F. Kerridge and Mildred Shapley Matthews. This is a thick book with 69 collaborating authors. It covers a wide spectrum of meteoritics and current ideas related to the study of meteorites by many well respected scientists of this day. Contains some deep reading and advanced understanding of meteoritics are helpful. 1269 pages.

See Meteorites and the Early Solar System II


New York: Cambridge U Press. Along with his more recent book, STARDUST TO PLANETS (1993), provides a very geological and mineralogical view of the solar system and the genesis of meteorites. Along with Dodd’s book, establishes a very adequate working background of information on most corners of Meteoritics. 256 pages.

Nininger, H.H. 1972. FIND A FALLING STAR

New York: Paul S. Eriksson, Inc. A classic autobiography of this foremost meteorite expert and his fifty years of obsessive love with meteorites, his efforts that brought the resurgence of interest in Meteoritics, his struggle for respect among the giants in this field, his personal account of how he amassed the largest personal collection of meteorites. 254 pages. Must have!

Nininger, H.H. 1956. Arizona’s Meteorite Crater

American Meteorite Laboratory – Denver, Colorado. This is a book about the famous meteor(ite) crater in Arizona written by Nininger. In it he discusses past, present and future of the crater. A great amount of scientific research has been done at the crater and Nininger himself discusses condensation products, Impactite particles, observation on diamonds and much more about the crater.

Nininger, H.H. 1961. Ask A Question About Meteorites

American Meteorite Laboratory. This is a small information book about meteorites. In it Nininger explains alot of the common questions often asked of him about meteorites. It discusses meteors and meteorites, nature of meteorites, classes, meteorite clouds and dust, meteorite craters, and tektites. Some information is outdated.

Nininger, H.H. 1942. A Comet Strikes The Earth
American Meteorite Lab. Another small information book put out by Nininger in a two part series. One deals with large impacts on the Earth including the Siberian fall. The other deals with meteors and meteorites telling the reader what they are and where they come from. The book contains meteorite oxide that is a part of meteor(ite) crater. Harder to find than Ask a Question.

Nininger, H.H. 1947. Chips From The Moon

Desert Press, Inc. Palm Desert, California. This deal with the issue of tektites and where they might come from. Although outdated as the theory of Moon origin of tektites have been disproved, it has a lot of useful information on tektites all the same. It is yet another small book put out by the great author.

Nininger, H.H. 1971. The Published Papers of Harvey Harlow Nininger

Center for Meteorite Studies, Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona. As the book suggests a list of the published papers put out by Nininger in regards to a great number of scientific papers he presented. Is a nice book to have for Nininger fans. Contains much useful information about various meteorites that he found or brought to light. Hard to find.

Nininger, H.H. 1952. Out of the Sky

The University of Denver Press. This is an introduction to meteoritics by Nininger. Again this is outdated but contains useful information. This covers a wide variety of subjects in regards to meteorites. Some of the topics include: Early Man and Meteorites, Typical Falls, Composition, Structure, Size, Weathering, origin and much more.

Nininger, H.H. 1977. Center for Meteorite Studies Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona. Meteorites A Photographic Study of Surfaces Part 1. Shapes and Part 2. Orientation.

Excellent resource books by Nininger for collectors and researchers. Explains the many interesting shapes created by the dynamic forces present during a fall of meteoroid material in our atmosphere. List many well known falls and shows a number of the Nininger Collection of meteorites. $90 for both books if it can be found.

Norton, O. Richard. 1994. ROCKS FROM SPACE

Meteorites and Meteorite Hunters. Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Co. This book is definitely geared for the amateur enthusiast and as such has my gratitude for it’s friendly readability. Lots of material is present on meteoritic basics, mineralogy, theories,…but doesn’t pretend to be a basic textbook on Meteoritics. Not a rigorous presentation. Has a real human-interest slant with a sublimated account of H.H. Nininger’s career (the original Meteorite Man!) and author’s own perspective on Robert A. Haag–Meteorite Man. Very entertaining reading. 446 pages!


Amsterdam Netherlands: Elseveir Scientific Publishing. An encyclopedic compilation of information on tektites along with author’s own controversial hypothesis regarding their origin. 255 pages. Pushes lunar origin for tektites even though most scientists agree that Earth impacts are the more logical origin.

Pearl, Richard M. 1975. Fallen From Heaven Meteorites and Man

Earth Science Publishing Company Colorado Springs, Colorado. A book of 100 of the most intriguing and famous human interest stories related to the meteorites. These are arranged in alphabetical order by name of the fall or find. Also contains some good background on meteorites. 72 pages.


This is a personal account of how Mary Kimberley, a pioneer bride, immediately recognized the rusted black stones common to her homestead property as meteorites and set out to amass a large pile estimated to be over a ton of these heavy stones. She then set forth to have her discovery acknowledge with five years of letter-writing. These pallasites, named Brenham or Haviland, later played a major role in establishing H.H. Nininger, and later, Robert Haag, as meteorite enthusiasts with an economic incentive to boot. This story is part of the folklore of Meteoritics and, I believe, a must-read. 116 pages.


New York: W H Freeman. Another excellent source of very readable information similar in perspective to McSween’s use of meteorites to build a workable model of planetary and solar evolution. Would work well as a dependable comprehensive textbook on Meteoritics. 267 pages. Another must.