BN.com Gift Guide
Customer Reviews for

God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks: The Story of the Helicopter

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    A reviewer

    James R. Chiles¿ The God Machine takes an important place among a very small literature on a vital piece of modern technology ¿ the helicopter. Writings about helicopters are plentiful. A Google search using helicopter and history turns up 10 million hits. Just a listing of books in Barnes & Noble turns up a thousand. When you include just those that really try to cover the breadth and depth of the subject -- the ideas underlying, development, application, and impact of this technology ¿ numbers drop to a handful. Most are either dated ¿ which only takes a few years, given the pace of change in the world -- or focus solely on military aspects. So, even if it did nothing more than just try to cover the waterfront, The God Machine would be valuable. Chiles has gone well beyond that. He¿s presented key issues and a fair amount of technical information in terms that almost any lay reader can grasp. An example is his discussion of controlling in a hover ¿ the invaluable characteristic that distinguishes a helicopter from almost all other aircraft. He explains how this problem frustrated early visionaries and inventors, and how it was finally overcome ¿ down to the specific hardware and how it works this magic. In taking a broad view, Chiles also discusses the huge gaps between vision and reality that have been a persistent part of the story. One of these gaps involved the idea of a simple, cheap device that would displace the family car and reduce highway congestion. This vision foundered on the reality of a technology that defied finding a practical combination of cost, capability, and reliability that could put the product in the hands of the masses. Chiles shows how these same factors restricted ownership and use to the wealthy, companies, and public agencies meeting special needs. He shows how various inventors tried, always unsuccessfully, to overcome these obstacles. Chiles also shows how the helicopter achieved a unique place in meeting special needs ¿ especially for the military and in such activities as arctic exploration, servicing offshore oil platforms, civilian search-and-rescue, and real-time news gathering. He also shows how evolving social and political contexts have shaped attitudes toward helicopters ¿ especially opposition to their noise, as well as concerns about government spying on private citizens. Finally he shows, as in the case of helicopters rescuing mountain climbers in Alaska, how this technology has sometimes led to a false sense of security and personal recklessness that the public winds up paying the bills for. This book lacks citations to sources for specific information. Having worked extensively on history involving helicopters, I know that Chiles has made accessible information found only in some rare and expensive sources. Beyond that, he¿s drawn on interviews with and direct observation of helicopter pilots and users. He even learned to fly a helicopter. Anecdotes flowing from these sources give his writing an immediate, human touch that entertains as well as informs. No book will ever be the last word on rotorcraft, but The God Machine meets a real need. If you buy only one book on helicopters, this is the one. [Dr. James W. Williams is the former U.S. Army Aviation Branch Historian and author of A History of Army Aviation: From Its Beginnings to the War on Terror (2005)]

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1