The age of the airship forms an important and fascinating chapter in man’s conquest of the air. It is a chronicle of triumph and heartbreak, and the story of visionary men who put their faith in these majestic craft is a tribute to human imagination, ingenuity and courage
||19 x 25 x 2 cm
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||SIDGWICK & JACKSON LTD
Most People consider the airship to be a curious relic from a distant era, a strange - if glamorous - mode of travel that was flawed in conception and doomed to failure, and it is the awful failures that are remembered best : the R101 fiasco, the Hindenburg catastrophe. Despite the occasional appearence overhead of a small advertising blimp, the airship seems as far in the past as, say, the clipper ship ; and about as relevant to the present.
Even if this is so, and the great ‘liners of the sky’ never appear again, the age of the airship forms an important and fascinating chapter in man’s conquest of the air. It is a chronicle of triumph and heartbreak, and the story of visionary men who put their faith in these majestic craft is a tribute to human imagination, ingenuity and courage. For, as anyone who was fortunate enough to enjoy the splendour of the Graf Zeppelin would attest, the airship was sublime.
The book tells the airship story from the end of the eighteenth century. It dwells in hilarious detail on the early experiments including those of the French adventurer, Santos Dumont. It chronicles the extraordinary exploits of Zeppelin and Eckner. There are chapters on the airships in the First World War, on the marathon trips over the oceans and the poles in the twenties and thirties, and on the hideous disasters which put paid to the great age of the airship.
In his concluding chapter the author points out that nostalgia may not be the only light in which to view the airship dream. There are those- and their numbers are growing- who consider that an advanced airship would provide the answer to many of the problems that beset the cargot industry, not to mention the environment itself. They envisage truly enormous airships whixh could pick up goods at the point of manufacture and speed them direct to the consumer - anywhere in the world. Could it be that the age of the airship is yet to come ?
Edward Horton was born in Canada and studied at Queen’s University, Ontario. He has long had a fascination for airships and an admiration for those, such as Hugo Eckener, who pioneered them. He is a skilled popularizer of history, having been assistant editor of the history magazine History Makers, and is at present the editor of a multi-volume illustrated history of America. His next book, also to be published by Sidgwigck and Jackson, is a history of the submarine.