Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air: An Unconventional History of Ballooning

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When you think of balloons, what comes to mind? Children’s parties? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade? The Goodyear Blimp? Well, when Richard Holmes thinks of balloons, it conjures up much more intriguing imagery, like excursions to the North Pole, the birth of aerial photography, and daring acrobatic feats that wowed spectators more than a century ago.

In Falling Upwards, Holmes offers a wonderfully exuberant look at a missing link in man’s quest for flight, exploring everything from altitude records to self-promotion, from wartime escapes and delivering the mail across disputed territory. Although it’s loaded to the brim with historical research and a litany of first-hand accounts of ballooning feats and failures, the book is less of a historical timeline and more a celebration of the adventurous spirit that ballooning represents.

Accompanied by numerous black-and-white photos and drawings (as well as a full-color photography section), Holmes brings the surprisingly long and innovative history of ballooning to life, resurrecting names previously lost or forgotten and adding intriguing wrinkles to the Civil War and other major events in history.

If only more history books were as enthusiastic and unexpected as Falling Upwards.


Reviewed By:

Author Richard Holmes
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 448 pages
Publisher Vintage
Publish Date 2014-Sep-09
ISBN 9780307742322
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category History
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