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Paperback Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age Book

ISBN: 0393326209

ISBN13: 9780393326208

Wings: A History of Aviation from Kites to the Space Age

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

The invention of the airplane ushered in the modern age a new era of global commerce, revolutionary technologies, and total war. Whatever the practical consequences, the sheer exhilaration of flight captured the imagination. No longer bound to the surface of the earth, humans took the first steps on a journey that would eventually carry them to other worlds. Tom Crouch weaves the people, machines, and ideas of the air age into a compelling narrative...

Customer Reviews

2 ratings

Very comprehensive and readable

Its a pretty major undertaking to cover 100 years of diverse aviation history and to make that history flow and be readable. Tom Crouch succeeds at this - the book is hard to put down and easy to read. Some books like this read more like text books and do not flow well with some sections obviously being written independently from others. This is not the case with "Wings" - the text flows well. Its also very comprehensive. As some people pointed out, there are some typographical / editorial errors in the book - the wrong aircraft model or make referenced, a photo captioned incorrectly, etc. However, I'd argue that the errors are minor and do not detract from the book in any significant way. I'd also argue that the book is largely unbiased. There are definitely some areas where Crouch raises questions which may prompt thought on the part of the reader, but I've seen far more heavy handed statements of "facts" in other books. In short, I think this book is a great addition to one's aviation library and an enjoyable book to read.

The right author covers the right stuff the right way!!

Quick disclaimer: While reading Wings, I sensed that its release was timed to generally coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' flight (for many, the real origin of aviation as we know it). There are about a dozen or so typos and/or other generally minor mistakes which, to me, indicate a less than thorough proof-reading or editing job--perhaps in a rush to get the book to the printers. While the errors are not show-stoppers in and of themselves, they do take the polish off a bit of an otherwise fine book. I hope a second edition will catch them. Even with these, however, I feel I can state that this is the book I've always wanted but didn't realize it, put out by one of my favorite publishing houses to boot (W.W. Norton; I'm an O'Brian fan as well). Aviation buffs have always had their favorite aircraft, be they air superiority fighters or superior air freighters, but this book deals with them all, in a style readable for the generalist as well as the enthusiast. The editorial reviews will give you a flavor of what Mr Crouch covers in this history, which is more of a biography of flight in many ways. The book does not generally dwell on any one particular aircraft or type (the author took a balanced approach toward both the military and commercial aspects of flight, as well as how they typically complement each other). Landmark aircraft or events in aviation history do get decent face time--and though purists may quibble over whether "their" aircraft got sufficient treatment here, I believe Mr Crouch has done more than a creditable job in bringing this century of aviation into focus for most folks. Perhaps Wings' most enjoyable and interesting aspects are covered in the chapters and/or sections which detail the lesser known facets of early aviation--both the pioneers and their birds--as well as the business side of aviation, an equally if not more important part of the story in many cases. There are numerous aviation books which examine narrow niches, from specific aircraft to sub-epochs in aviation history to notable individuals, and these are fine choices for those who crave such levels of detail. I have my share of each of these, and make no bones about it.But I sense that Wings, interspersed with some great photos and written by the curator of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, is just right in terms of having sufficient heft and credibility for those who want a serious treatment of a century defined by flight, without putting off those who merely find the subject interesting or who want to give a well-thought-out gift for the aviation buff in their lives. This book will not disappoint either way.
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