I like books that mix the human adventure with the technological background. They illustrate how giant projects are achieved. The difficulties in technic, management, human relationships. This is the opportunity to learn a lot (although it will never replace the day-to-day experience). I give here some books I enjoyed a lot:
- Chariots for Apollo: the history of the Apollo program with all the behind-the-scene stories and political issues. A must-read for space aficionados.
- Giant telescopes: a book by P. McCray on the construction of the Gemini telescopes
- Science of JET: yes, tokamaks also have a reference book by J. Wesson. The construction of the biggest tokamak, the technical pitfalls, the discoveries. And it si free for downloading.
- X-15: Extending the Frontiers of Flight : a free book from the NASA about the adventure of the fastest plane of all time. More than 600 pages of pure entertainment.
I will complete the list if I have further ideas or suggestions.