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

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  10 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
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2009 by Walker & Company
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Kennyo
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
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.
Elderberrywine
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
Lester C
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.
Cj
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
John Price
Well written and interesting about aviation's coming of age is a short time. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Peter Zoll
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.
Maya Dellor
This was a good occasionally thrilling read that made me want to go back to an earlier time when gentlemen existed.
Rich Mulvey
Competently written, and a worthwhile look at the early years of aviation.
Ruth Anna
Interesting story of the early days of aviation.
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For a detailed biography, to learn more about all the books I have written and to discover my forthcoming projects, please visit my website at the above link.
More about Gavin Mortimer...
The Great Swim The Longest Night: The Bombing of London on May 10, 1941 Double Death: The True Story of Pryce Lewis, the Civil War's Most Daring Spy Merrill's Marauders: The Untold Story of Unit Galahad and the Toughest Special Forces Mission of World War II Stirling's Men: The Inside History of the SAS in World War II

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