Ordinary folks can construct 13 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. Clear instructions, diagrams, and photographs show how to build projects ranging from the simple - a match-powered rocket - to the more complex - a scale-model, table-top catapult - to the offbeat - a tennis ball cannon. With a strong emphasis on safety, the book also gives tips on troubleshooting, explains the physics behind the projects, and profiles scientists and extraordinary experimenters such as Alfred Nobel, Robert Goddard, and Isaac Newton. This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard toy-rocket launchers and fireworks fanatics who wish every day was the fourth of July. This is a great resource book for pyromaniacs who want to expand their horizons. The highlight of this book is the chapter on the venerated potato cannon (a.k.a. spud gun). The author presents a simple yet effective design and gives detailed instructions on how to construct it. I have seen a number of designs on the web, and I prefer this for it parsimonious design. I have "launched" a number of spuds with this cannon, and am perfectly pleased with its operation. Other projects include back porch rocketry (the paper match rocket, the hydro pump rocket, and the pneumatic missile), the Cincinnati fire kite, the Greek fire and the catapult, the tennis ball mortar, the flinger, Pnewton's petard, the dry cleaning bag balloon, the carbide cannon, and the ballistic pendulum. The book is clearly written and illustrated (with drawings and black and white photographis). It contains a number of history vignettes along with some illustrations of ancient weapons. The remaining chapter includes some ideas for further study.