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Other titles in the Centennial of Flight Series series:
Centennial of Flight Series #7: Imagining Flight: Aviation and Popular Cultureby A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Synopses & Reviews
The history of the air age has mostly been written from the perspective of aircraft designers, builders, and pilots.
Looking Up is a history of the air age as the rest of us have experienced it: on the pages of books, the screens of movie theaters, and the front pages of newspaper—and in airline cabins during peacetime and bomb shelters during wartime. It is a book about the ways in which people outside the aviation business have looked at, dreamed about, and worried over powered flight in the century since the Wright brothers first showed a startled world that it was possible.
Looking Up focuses on the United States, but also contrasts American ideas and attitudes with those of other air-minded nations, including Britain, France, Germany, and Japan. Among the topics covered are: dreams of aviations future, from the Wright brothers to the space shuttle; pilots as heroes, including Lindbergh, Earhart, Yeager, and the Red Baron”; the promise (and threat) of aerial bombing; five decades of airline advertising and the changing expectations it created; aviation disasters, and the stories we tell about them; and flight in film and television, stories and songs.
Looking Up carries these themes into the twenty-first century and considers them in light of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Columbia disaster. It is thus the first book to explore the entire first century of flight through the eyes of those who watched it from the ground.
About the Author
A. Bowdoin Van Riper is a historian of science and technology who teaches at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia. He is also the author of Men Among the Mammoths (1993), Science in Popular Culture (2002), as well as numerous articles on the histories of geology, archaeology, and aerospace technology. He took his first airplane ride at the age of five, and has been looking up ever since.
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