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  • Published: New York : Ballantine Books, [2014]
  • Year Published: 2014
  • Edition: 1st ed.
  • Description: xiv, 428 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9780345538031
  • 034553803X


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Birdmen : the Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the battle to control the skies

by Goldstone, Lawrence, 1947-

There are currently 2 available

Where To Find It

Call number: 629.13 Go

Available Copies: Downtown 2nd Floor, Pittsfield Adult

Additional Details

Genius extinguished -- Fulcrum -- Highway in the sky -- Men in the dunes -- To Kitty Hawk -- Sophomore slump -- Gas bag -- Where no man had gone before -- Patent pioneering -- The vagaries of the marketplace -- The inexorable progression of knowledge -- The first Brazilian aloft -- Langley's legacy -- Closing fast -- Vindication -- Orville and Selfridge -- The toast of France -- Trading punches -- Best-laid plans -- Bowing to the inevitable -- Team sports -- Mavericks -- Faster, steeper, higher -- War birds -- Owning the sky -- The wages of righteousness -- The romance of death -- A reluctant steward -- A wisp of victory -- The grip of the spotlight -- The death of innocence.

"The feud between this nation's great air pioneers, the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities. On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts. For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers. The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history--and take a fearsome toll on the men involved. Birdmen sets the engrossing story of the Wrights' war with Curtiss against the thrilling backdrop of the early years of manned flight, and is rich with period detail and larger-than-life personalities: Thomas Scott Baldwin, or "Cap't Tom" as he styled himself, who invented the parachute and almost convinced the world that balloons were the future of aviation; John Moisant, the dapper daredevil who took to the skies after three failed attempts to overthrow the government of El Salvador, then quickly emerged as a celebrity flier; and Harriet Quimby, the statuesque silent-film beauty who became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. And then there is Lincoln Beachey, perhaps the greatest aviator who ever lived, who dazzled crowds with an array of trademark twists and dives--and best embodied the romance with death that fueled so many of aviation's earliest heroes. A dramatic story of unimaginable bravery in the air and brutal competition on the ground, Birdmen is at once a thrill ride through flight's wild early years and a surprising look at the personal clash that fueled America's race to the skies"

Community Reviews

Good Overview of Early Aviation

This is a very good overview of the early history of aviation that pays attention to a great many of the people who contributed to the development of the airplane. The central story, of course, is about the Wright brothers, but a lot of other people helped make flight possible, and the story doesn't end at Kitty Hawk. It talks about the odd behavior of the Wright brothers afterward, when they kept their discovery almost a secret, and refused to demonstrate their airplane to anyone unless they first paid tens of thousands of dollars to buy it from them. Unsurprisingly, nobody did. Then they got into endless patent wars to try to prevent anyone else from building airplanes. The focus of these lawsuits was their arch nemesis, Glenn Curtis. But in spite of the Wright's attempts to corner the market, aviation continued, and this book does an entertaining job of telling stories of all the engineers and flyers who risk life and fortune open the skies. Why, without them, we wouldn't now be able to endure security searches before climbing into an incredibly noisy tin can in which we get rattled around for hours before we magically appear in an entirely different city than we started in.

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