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Chasing Icarus: The Seventeen Days in 1910 That Forever Changed American Aviation

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A dramatic chronicle of a pivotal moment in the history of aviation.

By 1910—seven years after the Wright brothers first lifted a plane off the ground at Kitty Hawk—America and the world were transfixed by the danger and challenge of mastering the air. Yet which form of flight would predominate was far from clear—dirigibles, balloons, and airplanes all had their passionate
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2009 by Walker Books
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Kate Knoblauch
little on the dry side reads like a history book
May 29, 2014 KennyO rated it really liked it
Shelves: aviation, history
Little fuss is made over aviation today. We've come to accept it as routine, even mundane, as travelers today refer to many fully booked flights as "cattle cars" and become summarily irate when delay is imposed on them by weather or mechanical breakdown. This wasn't at all the case in 1910. Nothing about flying was routine and, except among dreamers, it wasn't at all clear that it ever would become so. In late May of 1910 Glenn H. Curtiss achieved a flight of 150 miles, from Albany, N.Y. to New ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(slight spoilers, maybe?)
I have little interest in aviation, save for the occasional story about Harrison Ford saving someone from a mountain top in his helicopter, or crashing into a golf course (thank God he's okay!). And airplanes get me places. So there's that.

Which is to say, I'm not sure why I bought this book (it was on the bargain shelf at the U of M bookstore) and then I almost didn't read it. But I am so glad I did. I really, really enjoyed it.

This was one of the few books I've read wh
Nov 13, 2013 Elderberrywine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
An amazing few weeks in October when airplanes, hot air balloons, and dirigibles were all equally the Thing of the Future, and the powers that be at Belmont Park sent them all off against each other. Filled with amazing treats such as Broadway star Post and co-balloonist Hawkins finding themselves wrecked in the Canadian wilds with early winter coming on, their harrowing ordeal, and miraculous rescue by gobsmacked hunters. Not to mention becoming life-long fast friends in the process. Aww, bless ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Cj rated it really liked it
What an astonishing perspective on the participants in the first tick on the the clock of aviation. It is very odd to consider airplanes as a "fad", or to consider how people watched in awe as others flew in machines that exceeded the speed of the newfangled motor car. The aviators (not pilots! Considered much too dull a description by the writers of the time) were completely psycho as they tried to get to higher and higher altitudes, farther distances, and faster speeds. Of the aviators mention ...more
Lester C
Mar 08, 2015 Lester C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining. IF you're into aviation history or just the time period (early 1900s), there's something here for you. Sure it's like putting already historical events (early flight) under a microscope, but that's what makes it a good read. It's similar to reading something by Erik Larson or David McCullough in that you get a full understanding of the personalities that made the history.
Peter Zoll
Oct 02, 2012 Peter Zoll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of early flight told through three landmark events of 1910: the International Balloon Cup, the Wellman attempt to cross the Atlantic in a dirigible, and the International Aviation Cup.

For those of you interested in history, especially the history of early flight, this is the book to read. For the rest of you, not so much.
Kathy  Petersen
Chasing Icarus gets only three stars because I'm not terribly interested in the minutia of aviation history. But Mortimer tells a good tale, engendering excitement throughout those seventeen days of daring competition, courage in extreme circumstances, and the many personalities, charming, admirable, and otherwise, that inhabited the early aviation chronicles.
Nick W.
Nov 07, 2016 Nick W. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aviation
A really interesting story weaving the early parts of aviation together. Air races, balloons, record setting, and true danger are throughout the story. What a crazy week. If you enjoy aviation, this is a worthy read if slow at times.
Rich Mulvey
Nov 20, 2011 Rich Mulvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Competently written, and a worthwhile look at the early years of aviation.
Jul 11, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and interesting about aviation's coming of age is a short time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Maya Dellor
May 20, 2012 Maya Dellor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good occasionally thrilling read that made me want to go back to an earlier time when gentlemen existed.
Sep 11, 2016 Artie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would be a five if the editing was a little better. A really good idea for a book that's well executed by the author.
Aug 26, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another excellent perspective on some the most outstanding aviation pioneers in 1910 with particular focus on Claude Grahame-White.
Ignacio rated it really liked it
Oct 23, 2011
Brittany Massey
Brittany Massey rated it it was ok
Dec 21, 2013
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