See also the landmark paper by Gerard O’Neill in Physics Today on “The Colonization of Space.”
Colonies in Space, by T. A. Heppenheimer. [Complete online copy] [See our review] [Buy from Amazon]. This book shows how it can be done within a generation. The key ideas are presented in Chapter 2, with the rest of the book an elaboration on those ideas. Highly recommended.
Space Settlements: A Design Study (NASA SP-413). This landmark publication resulted from the first of three NASA Summer Studies on space settlement. The study concluded that “the people of Earth have both the knowledge and resources to colonize space.” The book is suitable for both the non-technical and the technical reader (the technical stuff is placed in appendices to each chapter).
Space Resources and Space Settlements (NASA SP-428). Technical papers derived from the 1977 Summer Study at NASA Ames Research Center. Study Director was Gerard K. O’Neill.
Space Colonies – A CoEvolution Book edited by Stewart Brand. This collection of assorted material from CoEvolution Quarterly includes four nice pieces by Gerard O’Neill (Congressional testimony, an article, an interview, and a discussion), a good summary by Eric Drexler, and some unique and interesting pro and con debate on the subject.
Toward Distant Suns, by T. A. Heppenheimer. Although this book contains much out-of-date material and many predictions that didn’t pan out, numerous plums remain. The main highlight can be found in Chapter 8, Paths of Commerce, which nicely stands on its own. Developing a space commerce is essential to space settlement, and Heppenheimer’s clear outline of one way this can be done provides insight into what could be accomplished if we just get rolling.