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Empires of the Sky

Alexander Rose



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Ballantine Books Inc.
28 April 2020
The Golden Age of Aviation is brought to life by the story of the giant Zeppelin airships that once roamed the sky and ended with the fiery destruction of the Hindenburg.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, when human flight was still considered an impossibility, Germany's Count von Zeppelin vied with the Wright Brothers to build the world's first successful flying machine. As the Wrights labored to invent the airplane, Zeppelin fathered the wondrous airship, sparking a bitter rivalry between the two types of aircraft and their innovators that would last for decades in the quest to control one of humanity's most inspiring achievements.

And it was the airship--not the airplane--that would lead the way. In the glittery 1920s, the count's brilliant protege, Hugo Eckener, achieved undreamt-of feats of daring and skill, including the extraordinary Round-the-World Voyage of the Graf Zeppelin.

At a time when America's airplanes-rickety deathtraps held together by glue, screws, and luck-could barely make it from New York to Washington, Eckener's airships serenely traversed oceans without a single crash, fatality, or injury. What Charles Lindbergh almost died doing--crossing the Atlantic in 1927--Eckener effortlessly accomplished three years before the Spirit of St. Louis even took off.

Even as the Nazis sought to exploit Zeppelins for their own nefarious purposes, Eckener built his masterwork, the behemoth Hindenburg--a marvel of design and engineering. Determined to forge an airline empire under the new flagship, Eckener met his match in Juan Trippe, the ruthlessly ambitious king of Pan American Airways, who believed his fleet of next-generation planes would vanquish Eckener's coming airship armada.

It was a fight only one man--and one technology--could win. Countering each other's moves on the global chessboard, each seeking to wrest the advantage from his rival, the two men's struggle for mastery of the air was not only the clash of technologies, but of business, diplomacy, politics, personalities, and their vastly different dreams of the future.

Empires of the Sky is the sweeping, untold tale of the duel that transfixed the world and helped create our modern age.
By:   Alexander Rose
Imprint:   Ballantine Books Inc.
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 241mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 37mm
Weight:   875g
ISBN:   9780812989977
ISBN 10:   081298997X
Pages:   608
Publication Date:   28 April 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Alexander Rose's writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the TLS, and The Spectator. His previous books include Men of War, American Rifle, Kings in the North, and Washington's Spies, recently adapted into AMC's popular drama Turn- Washington's Spies, for which he served as a writer and producer.

Reviews for Empires of the Sky

Praise for Empires of the Sky An obsessive, decades-long struggle between two equally matched people is always fascinating, and especially when the prize they are fighting for is nothing less than the future of flight. We take the airplane's defeat of the Zeppelin for granted, but in the Roaring Twenties and Dark Thirties it was anything but, and now, in a world aiming for carbon neutrality, we might even regret who won. Alex Rose is a historian with a scintillating prose style and an eye for the insightful, and often amusing, detail. Whereas dirigibles were heavy, ponderous, and full of gas, this book is the precise opposite. --Andrew Roberts, author of Leadership in War Praise for Men of War Men of War is deeply researched, beautifully written. It is military history at its best. --The Wall Street Journal A strikingly vivid, well-observed, and compulsively readable exploration of combat . . . with shockingly evocative narrative reconstructions and penetrating, precise analysis . . . A tour de force. --The Daily Beast Praise for Washington's Spies Fascinating . . . Spies proved to be the tipping point in the summer of 1778. . . . [Alexander] Rose's book brings to light their crucial help in winning American independence. --Chicago Tribune [Rose] captures the human dimension of spying, war and leadership. --The Wall Street Journal

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