The Smithsonian Book of Flight for Young People

Walter J. Boyne, Author Atheneum Books $16.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-689-31422-3
Aviation did not begin with the Wright brothers in Kitty Hawk, but with the first balloons of the 1780s, and with the plans of early inventors, such as those of da Vinci. This large volume on the history of flight focuses on the importance of competition in the development of faster and bigger flying machines. The brothers who created the first working hot-air balloon were overtaken by the man who developed a hydrogen balloon; the Lillianthal brothers' work on gliders set the stage for the work of the Wright brothers, whose fierce protectiveness of patented innovations, in turn, forced others to discover new methods to control flight. This generative cycle repeats itself between rival researchers, companies and countries. The facts are all backed up with clear photos and excellent illustrations, and the author does not get bogged down in technical detail or endless lists of ``firsts,'' nor does he skimp on intrigue. This is a very good, serious reference work on a topic that only becomes more interesting with study. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-689-71212-8
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