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The Rocket Man And Other Extraordinary Characters from the History of Flight by David Darling

The Rocket Man And Other Extraordinary Characters from the History of Flight

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November 2013 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

David Darling’s is a most agreeable voyage through the history of flight and the men – and women who took such risks in the battle to get airborne. There is as much stupidity as bravery on show with a plentiful leavening of derring-do and madness-with-a-purpose, the rewards great, failure deadly. Humans have tried – still try - every means possible to get above the earth and David Darling shows us just some of the enterprise that’s been used from balloons to the man who made SF a reality, Yves Rossy and the personal jet-pack.

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The Rocket Man And Other Extraordinary Characters from the History of Flight by David Darling

The wonder of flight has long captured the human imagination. In this beguiling history - ranging from the first aircraft to astronauts and beyond - astronomer David Darling tells the stories of the true life adventurers whose wonder has translated into bizarre contraptions, magnificent achievements and, sometimes, startling folly. Discover outrageous attempts to fly like a bird, early hair-raising balloon trips, and the secret military planes that never made it off the ground - including the flying pancake and the plane with thirty wings. Meet Napoleonic ballooniste Sophie Blanchard who planned an aerial invasion of England, stuntman Lincoln Beachey, looping-the-loop in a pinstripe suit and, of course, The Rocket Man himself: the very enviable Yves Rossy, who in 2006 was the first person to fly with the aid of a jet-pack. Eccentric and imaginative, reckless and resourceful - Darling's daring cast of dreamers is guaranteed to entertain and inspire.


Gripping... dazzling tales of madness and derring-do. * Brian Clegg, author of Inflight Science * A hugely enjoyable roller-coaster aerial ride in the company of oddballs and heroes, complete with acts of mindless msochism in the name of science. * Jonathan Clancy, author of Spitfire: The Biography * Impressive. * Wall Street Journal * A mix of good old-fashioned silliness and some fine science writing. * BBC Focus *

About the Author

David Darling

David Darling is a science writer and astronomer. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Equations of Eternity, and the popular online resource The Worlds of David Darling. With Dirk Schulze-Makuch he wrote Megacatastrophes!: Nine Strange Ways the World Could End. He lives in Dundee, Scotland.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd October 2013


David Darling

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Oneworld Publications


216 pages


Biography / Autobiography
Books of the Month
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Aircraft: general interest



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