The Crowded Sky: An Anthology of Flight from the Beginnings to the Age of the Guided Missile by Edited by Neville Duke & Edward Lanchbery soon to be presented for sale on the excellent BookLovers of Bath web site!
Published: Cassell, 1959, Hardback in dust wrapper.
From the cover: Mans longing to fly is as old as history. The wish to escape from the earth and soar with the birds recurs in Biblical verse and ancient legend, but it was Leonardo da Vinci who first considered the practical problems involved. From da Vinci to Colonel Frank Everest, Jr. , the fastest man alive, who in 1956 flew the Bell X-2 rocket plane at nearly two thousand miles an hour, this anthology of prose and poetry takes in its stride every conceivable branch of aviation, including the first faltering experiments, and the heyday of the balloon and the airship (there is an absorbing description taken from Nevil Shutes autobiography of the testing of the R. 100, whose sister ship the R. 101 went to her doom so soon afterwards). Beside Bleriots exciting story are con-temporary newspaper accounts of Britains first air meetings and early flying clubs, and all else which has gone to make up the panorama of aviation through the ages. The First World War brought the greatest single challenge to the improvement of the aeroplane, and is seen here from the points of view of both Allied and German air aces. But flying was still in its infancy, at a time when the officer in command of the aeroplane gave the signal to descend by means of a smack on his pilots helmet! From the first World War to the second, with its roll of immortal names, among them Guy Gibson, Pierre Clostermann and Cheshire, V. C.; and finally to peace and the age of jet aircraft. In a section entitled Wings of Peace the editors show that to some, flying is an escape from the cares of the earth and a retreat that gives spiritual solace. So we come up-to-date with todays test pilot, exploring new regions of speed and altitude, and developing test flying into a skilled and complicated science.
Here is a book to be dipped into again and again for its tales of high adventure, of the incredible audacity of men battling against the eternal forces of nature, and of the progress of aviation from its humble beginnings to its present vast complexity.
Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with a small tape repair at the foot of the lower panel to the join and further closed tears at the spine ends. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned with spotting to the blanks.
Blue boards with Silver titling to the Spine. [XV] 421 pages. 10″ x 6¼”.