A Passion for Wings: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1908-1918

Robert Wohl, Author Yale University Press $50 (328p) ISBN 978-0-300-05778-2
Wohl, a history professor at UCLA, has written the first cultural history of early aviation, bringing into sharp focus its impact on Western culture during the decade 1908-18. Illustrated with 300 rare photos, paintings, drawings and posters, including more than 100 in color, this large-format book reveals the powerful effect of aviation imagery on the popular imagination, the mythologizing of the ``flying aces'' of the Great War and the far-reaching implications for the new century's artistic and moral sensibility. Examples show how the invention of the flying machine inspired a generation of artists and writers including H.G. Wells, Franz Kafka, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Edmond Rostand, Kazimir Malevich, Robert Delaunay and many others. Wohl (The Generation of 1914) emphasizes the centrality of France in pre-1918 aviation; the first aviation competition, flight training school and major manufacturing plant for planes were located there. Exhilarating to read and pleasing to the eye. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-300-06887-0
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