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I thought the title was "Escape (On / To) Venus" (not the Burroughs novel) - written for children or young adults.

The story is about a spaceship of colonists heading to Venus from Earth - one young passenger is the son of a former astronaut who travelled to Venus and disappeared years ago. The son realizes that Venus is protected by an electrical field (?) that causes ships to crash-land.

Once on Venus, he searches for his father and eventually finds his father's ship - can't remember if he finds his father or much else about it. I do remember that Venus had primitive life - hostile primates of some sort that threw rocks or had slingshots(?).

I seem to remember that the ship left Earth from Alaska.

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Some - but not all - of your details match Clyde B. Clason's 1955 YA novel 'Ark of Venus'. Colony ship lifts off from Alaska even though several earlier ships have been lost with no explanation. Young hero is aboard, but his father is killed by a religious fanatic before lift-off. Electrical 'wall around Venus' caused electronics to short out, causing earlier ships to crash; hero's ship survives, lands on Venus, finds primate race who worship giant snake.

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    And they found a wrecked ship from an earlier expedition. Dec 1, 2017 at 9:45
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    I'm sure this is the right one. Thanks very much.
    – Kevin
    Dec 2, 2017 at 15:29
  • I remember when I was young a couple of libraries had a book called the Ark of Venus in their catalogs but I could never find a copy on the shelves. I suppose this could be the same book I wondered about. Dec 2, 2017 at 18:45

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