Here is the story of airships—manmade flying machines without wings—from their earliest beginnings to the modern era of blimps. In postcards and advertisements, the sleek, silver, cigar-shaped airships, or dirigibles, were the embodiment of futuristic visions of air travel. They immediately captivated the imaginations of people worldwide, but in less than fifty years dirigible became a byword for doomed futurism, an Icarian figure of industrial hubris. Dirigible Dreams looks back on this bygone era, when the future of exploration, commercial travel, and warfare largely involved the prospect of wingless flight. In Dirigible Dreams, C. Michael Hiam celebrates the legendary figures of this promising technology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—the pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the doomed polar explorers S. A. Andrée and Walter Wellman, and the great Prussian inventor and promoter Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, among other pivotal figures—and recounts fascinating stories of exploration, transatlantic journeys, and floating armadas that rained death during World War I. While there were triumphs, such as the polar flight of the Norge, most of these tales are of disaster and woe, culminating in perhaps the most famous disaster of all time, the crash of the Hindenburg.
This story of daring men and their flying machines, dreamers and adventurers who pushed modern technology to—and often beyond—its limitations, is an informative and exciting mix of history, technology, awe-inspiring exploits, and warfare that will captivate readers with its depiction of a lost golden age of air travel. Readable and authoritative, enlivened by colorful characters and nail-biting drama, Dirigible Dreams will appeal to a new generation of general readers and scholars interested in the origins of modern aviation.
|Publisher:||University Press of New England|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
C. MICHAEL HIAM, PhD, is the author of A Monument to Deceit: Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars and Eddie Shore and That Old Time Hockey. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Chapter 2 •Chapter 3
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Informative and entertaining.
This was a giveaway from Goodreads. And I was tickled to get it! Dirigibles has always seemed more romantic that other air travels. Of course, there is nothing romantic about exploding in the sky.... Air ships in the beginning were propelled by hydrogen, extremely flammable. It was found that helium was not quite as effective, with a reduced lift capacity, but is not a flammable gas. But like oil products, helium was a finite resource, and not practical. The United States pretty much had a monopoly on helium, and we needed what we had for our own naval air ships. This book covers the growth and decline of dirigibles world wide, from the 1901 competition for the Deutsch Prize of 100,000 that went to the first competitor to follow a set route in Paris in a limited amount of time. As with the Orteig Prize in 1927 won by Charles Lindbergh and the Ansari prize in 2004 won by Virgin Galactic this competition opened the market for private industry in the dirigible industry. C Michael Hiam has written a very precise, extremely readable history of the air ships from 1897 until the end of their use by the U S Navy and the completion of the Graf Zepplin in 1938. The photographs are clear and precise, the prose is electric. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in air travel.