The Airplane in American Culture

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Overview


Few journeys have had as great an impact on American culture as Orville Wright's first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903—a twelve-second, one-hundred-twenty-foot trip that has captivated American thought and influenced American life ever since.
Although countless books for aviation buffs have appeared since World War II, none has attempted to place the airplane in its full social, cultural, and interdisciplinary context until now. The first book of its kind, The Airplane in American Culture presents essays by distinguished contributors including historians, literary scholars, scholars of American studies, art historians, and museum professionals that explore a range of topics, including the connections between flying and race and gender; aviation's role in forming perceptions of the landscape; the airplane's significance to the culture of war; and the influence of flight on literature and art.
A must-read collection for anyone fascinated by the airplane, The Airplane in American Culture represents a dramatic new approach to writing the history of aviation, and makes an important contribution to American social and cultural history.
Dominick A. Pisano is Curator of the Aeronautics Department at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Professional historians and to hers will find this volume valuable. Especially useful to nonspecialists are the editor's contributions of an essay on the historiography of aviation history and the concise bibliographic essay that concludes the book. A publication for serious students of aviation and its history."
--- Choice

". . . a long-overdue study in the field of aviation history. . . . [W]ell worth reading for anyone with an interest in the history of aviation. It would be extremely useful in any course on the history of aviation, and also could contribute significantly to courses such as military history and modern American history. For scholars in the field, this work offers not only some valuable historical perspective on aviation, but also some invaluable insights into possibilities for future study."
--- Journal of Military History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780472098330
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Publication date: 10/7/2003
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
New Directions in the History of Aviation 1
The Airplane and the American Experience 16
The Greatest Show Not on Earth: The Confrontation between Utility and Entertainment in Aviation 39
The Man Nobody Knows: Charles A. Lindbergh and the Culture of Celebrity 75
"Great Shadow in the Sky": The Airplane in the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 and the Development of African American Visions of Aviation, 1921-1926 105
"Who Says It's a Man's World?": Women's Work and Travel in the First Decades of Flight 147
Experiment in the Cockpit: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II 165
"The Surly Bonds of Earth": Images of the Landscape in the Work of Some Aviator/Authors, 1910-1969 201
The Airplane and American Literature 219
"Our Future Is in the Air": Aviation and American Art 250
Transforming Technology in the Army Air Corps, 1920-1940: Technology, Politics, and Culture for Strategic Bombing 299
"Peace Is Our Profession": The Bombers Take Over 333
Stick and Rudder University: Training and the Creation of the Flight Suit Officer 357
Bibliographic Essay 389
Contributors 399
Index 403
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