I have done other book reviews over the years. Many times the books are interesting but not something that I am likely to look at again. That is not the case with the recently released book by Frank Cressy entitled “From Weston To Creston.” After what Frank says is a ten-year effort he has produced a wonderful study of all the witnessed meteorite falls of the United States from 1807 to 2016.
Historical research is both a frustrating and rewarding process at the same time. One can search through documents for hours just to gain a single bit of data. Or one can discover just the right document to answer all your questions. Sometimes research can send you off on a circular journey that may take hours to complete through dozens of more documents. You may end that journey learning little additional about your topic but having acquired a vast new knowledge of something else. Frank has taken up the challenge to research nearly 170 witnessed meteorite falls some going back over 200 years. He has compiled the work of many writers from the past that most of the readers of his book would never have access to reading. In the introduction of the book, Mr. Cressy describes the methods and sources used to gather all the data. For myself, it was like old home week reading what he went through. He credits the internet for making the book possible, for those of us in the future that will seek information about meteorite falls in the United States his book will now be one of the first sources we reach for even before going to the internet.
The depth of the stories is amazing and is enriched by the photographs and maps accompanying nearly every meteorite event. A great many individuals who participated in the hunt for and recovery of meteorites have their stories told as well. Over two centuries the methods used to find meteorites have changed dramatically. It was once based on eyewitness accounts collected over weeks by traveling countless miles around where the fireball was seen. Now Doppler Radar data can narrow the search to a small plot of land almost immediately. The methods and techniques, past and present are among the topics presented in the book.
But this is a book about meteorites, and all the important facts are included about each fall. The type of meteorite, the known weight recovered, the date of the fall, and the number of stones found is always given. When possible maps of the strewnfield are included. It is certainly conceivable that readers near the locations may find themselves encouraged to hunt for additional pieces after reading this book. Finding more pieces may be impossible for some but for other falls it has been done over the years already without the great information in this book to assist the hunter. I know that I would be using this book of I lived near some of these historic meteorite fall locations.
With just a few exceptions there is a photograph of the meteorite or a slice from the meteorite. The few that have no photograph are cases where the recovered stone has become lost. The effort to obtain images of such a large number of falls is not lost on this reviewer. Many of these meteorites are not ever seen for sale and to obtain photographs of them required asking private owners or curators of collections, and going to museums and taking images.
If history is interesting to you. Then you will love this book and the stories it preserves. If you love meteorites, you will enjoy this book and the thrill of the hunt it shares. “From Weston To Creston” is a must have for anyone interested in meteorite history.
Ordering Details: To order please email Frank Cressy