HISTORY

Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men’s Epic Duel To Rule the World

Random. Apr. 2020. 608p. ISBN 9780812989977. $30. HIST
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In the early days of the 20th century, humans first took to the skies in mechanically powered airships. Based on rapidly developing innovations in engineering, the new field of aerodynamics was born, as was the intense competition among the makers of machines capable of flight. Early innovators Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin in Germany and the Wright brothers in the United States were at the center of this rivalry, with each vying for funding, government contracts, local and transatlantic routes, cargo, and passengers. In this fascinating and readable history, author and historian Rose (Washington’s Spies; Men of War) recounts the development, growth, and ultimate failures and successes of the two competing technologies, and the business models each spawned. The story is filled not only with myriad facts and figures but also with the well-researched stories of those who participated in the most significant events of the past 100 years. These magnificent men in their flying machines helped to write that history.
VERDICT Recommended for general readers who enjoy aviation, technology, and business histories.

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