Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age, from Antiquity through the First World War

Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age, from Antiquity through the First World War

by Richard P. Hallion

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The invention of flight represents the culmination of centuries of thought and desire. Kites and rockets sparked our collective imagination. Then the balloon gave humanity its first experience aloft, though at the mercy of the winds. The steerable airship that followed had more practicality, yet a number of insurmountable limitations. But the airplane truly launched the Aerial Age, and its subsequent impact--from the vantage of a century after the Wright Brother's historic flight on December 17, 1903--has been extraordinary. Richard Hallion, a distinguished international authority on aviation, offers a bold new examination of aircraft history, stressing its global roots. The result is an interpretive history of uncommon sweep, complexity, and warmth. Taking care to place each technological advance in the context of its own period as well as that of the evolving era of air travel, this ground-breaking work follows the pre-history of flight, the work of balloon and airship advocates, fruitless early attempts to invent the airplane, the Wright brothers and other pioneers, the impact of air power on the outcome of World War I, and finally the transfer of prophecy into practice as flight came to play an ever-more important role in world affairs, both military and civil. Making extensive use of extracts from the journals, diaries, and memoirs of the pioneers themselves, and interspersing them with a wide range or rare photographs and drawings, Taking Flight leads readers to the laboratories and airfields where aircraft were conceived and tested. Forcefully yet gracefully written in rich detail and with thorough documentation, this book is certain to be the standard reference for years to come on how humanity came to take to the sky, and what the Aerial Age has meant to the world since da Vinci's first fantastical designs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190289591
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/08/2003
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 32 MB
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About the Author

Author of numerous award-winning books and formerly the Air Force Historian, Richard Hallion teaches widely at American and foreign universities and defense colleges. He has gained flying experience as a mission observer in a wide range of civil and military aircraft, served as a NASA historian, and in 1974, joined the Smithsonian Institution as one of the founding curators of the National Air and Space Museum.

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Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity through the First World War 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ScottZepher More than 1 year ago
I wish to share my thoughts here on Richard Hallion's 2003 book "Taking Flight: Inventing the Aerial Age from Antiquity to the First World War, in the hope that those who wish to continue said debate may read it and draw the same conclusions from it that I have. Drawing from numerous sources (nearly one-fifth of the book's 531 pages are bibliographic notes) , Hallion outlines Mankind's quest for flight from the earliest notions (mythological, religious). He then meticulously moves into the scientific explorations, careful to separate the Aerostatic (balloon, airships) from the Aerodynamic (gliders, aircraft), but keeping a well-written chronological pace. Hallion never forgets to introduce us to the individuals responsible for both Aviation's advancement and its regression. Such introductions never fail to be pleasant reading: his description of the embryonic Aeronautical Society (of Great Britain) led me to imagine such distinguished gentlemen feeling most at home contributing to Internet forums. Hallion-in it's due time- documents Wilbur and Orville's arrival on the world aviation stage: their eventual success in the manned flight triptych (powered, sustained, controlled), and the legal battle with Glenn Curtiss. Unfortunately, most (though not all) previous reviews of this book tend to dwell heavily on this section, overlooking (in my opinion), the wider scope and overall theme. While every individual should have their due recognition, the epic which is Flight is, and will always be, one of the grandest Human endeavors; transcending nationalities and borders, and continually building on what has gone before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the most complete review of early aviation that I have seen. It is written at a high intellectual level and at the same time includes wonderful details of the stories of aviation pioneers. It maintains a perspective and a balance of the significance of each development of powered flight. A joy to read and a satisfying learning experience for the aviation buff.