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The War in the Air
     

The War in the Air

4.0 10
by H. G. Wells
 

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The first three chapters of The War in the Air relate details of the life of Bert Smallways and his extended family in Bun Hill - a (fictional) former Kentish village which had become a London suburb within living memory (in many ways similar to Bromley where Wells was born). The story begins with Bert's brother Tom, a stolid greengrocer who views technological

Overview

The first three chapters of The War in the Air relate details of the life of Bert Smallways and his extended family in Bun Hill - a (fictional) former Kentish village which had become a London suburb within living memory (in many ways similar to Bromley where Wells was born). The story begins with Bert's brother Tom, a stolid greengrocer who views technological progress with suspicion and apprehension (which would turn out to be all too well founded) and their aged father, who recalls with longing the time when Bun Hill was a quiet village and he had driven the local squire's carriage. However, the story soon focuses on Bert who is an unimpressive, not particularly gifted, unsuccessful young man with few ideas about larger things - but far from unintelligent. He has a strong attachment to a young woman named Edna, and works as a helper and later a partner in a bicycle shop.

When bankruptcy threatens one summer, he and his partner abandon the shop, devise a singing act ("the Desert Dervishes"), and resolve to try their fortunes in English sea resorts. As chance would have, their initial performance is interrupted by a balloon which lands on the beach before them, and which turns out to contain one Mr. Butteridge. Butteridge is famous for his successful invention of an easily manoeuvrable fixed-wing aircraft whose secret he has not revealed and that he is seeking to sell to the British government or, failing that, to Germany. Prior to Butteridge, nobody had succeeded in producing a practical heavier-than-air machine, only a few awkward devices of limited utility such as the German "Drachenflieger", which had to be towed aloft and released from an airship. Butteridge's invention is a major breakthrough, as it is highly manoeuvrable, capable of both very fast and very slow flight, and requires only a small area to take off and land, reminiscent of the later autogyro.

By accident Bert is carried off in Butteridge's balloon, and discovers Butteridge's secret plans on board it. Bert is clever enough to appraise his situation, and when the balloon is shot down in a secret German "aeronautic park east of Hamburg," Bert intends to pass himself off as Butteridge to sell the secret. However, he has stumbled upon the German air fleet just as it is about to launch a surprise attack on the United States - and Prince Karl Albert, the author and leader of this plan, decides to take him along for the campaign. The Prince, world-famous as "The German Alexander" or Napoleon, is a living manifestation of German Nationalism and boundless imperial ambitions, his personality as depicted by Wells in some ways resembling that of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Bert's disguise is soon seen through by the Germans, and - narrowly avoiding being summarily thrown overboard by the furious Prince - he is relegated to the role of a witness to the true horror of war.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781548120054
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
06/14/2017
Pages:
206
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

Meet the Author

Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 - 13 August 1946)-known as H. G. Wells, was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. Wells is now best remembered for his science fiction novels, and is called the father of science fiction, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.
Wells's earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he wrote little science fiction, while he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of journalist. Novels like Kipps and The History of Mr Polly, which describe lower-middle-class life, led to the suggestion, when they were published, that he was a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. A diabetic, in 1934 Wells co-founded the charity The Diabetic Association (known today as Diabetes UK).
In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells. The couple agreed to separate in 1894 when he fell in love with one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins (later known as Jane), whom he married in 1895. Poor health took him to Sandgate, near Folkestone, where in 1901 he constructed a large family home: Spade House. He had two sons with Jane: George Philip (known as "Gip") in 1901 (died 1985) and Frank Richard in 1903 (died 1982).
With his wife Jane's consent, Wells had affairs with a number of women, including the American birth control activist Margaret Sanger, adventurer and writer Odette Keun, Soviet spy Moura Budberg and novelist Elizabeth von Arnim. In 1909 he had a daughter, Anna-Jane, with the writer Amber Reeves, whose parents, William and Maud Pember Reeves, he had met through the Fabian Society; and in 1914 a son, Anthony West (1914-1987), by the novelist and feminist Rebecca West, 26 years his junior.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 21, 1866
Date of Death:
August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:
Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Education:
Normal School of Science, London, England

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War in the Air 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrible OCR, missing pages. Can barely follow it's so bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Horrible conversion to electronic format.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This copy is print to text and looks awful.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is possibly the best story of total war ever written. It is a chillingly accurate prediction to the use of war planes in conflict by the prophet that is Wells. And his words in the preface of the 1942 edition, ' I told you so you damned fools' Mr. Wells if you were alive today you would say the same thing on Hiroshima and 911
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goes WAY around the twoleg house.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can someone tell me how this book goes? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?