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Pages: 224
Subject: Science, History
Imprint: Oneworld


A History of Flight through its Martyrs, Oddballs and Daredevils

David Darling

The story of those who looked to the skies and dared to dream of flight
9781780744094 (1 Oct 2015)
RRP £7.99 / US$14.99
9781780742977 (3 Oct 2013)
RRP £12.99 / US$18.00

The Book

In a world without aircraft, to believe flight might be possible required a certain kind of character. You had to be starry-eyed, a possessor of practical ingenuity, nerves of steel and a level of sanity that would be best described as deficient.

In Mayday!, David Darling tells the stories of the unconventional aviators across history who have been willing to risk all to further their craft. Meet Sophie Blanchard, a balloonist of nervous disposition whom Napoleon charged with organizing balloon displays at all major ceremonies in France. Then there's the daredevil stuntman Lincoln Beachey, the dogfighter aces of WWI, the man who performed the dance of death - switching planes in mid-air, the real "X-Men” who flew at the edge of space, and the BASE jumpers who want to fly without wings. The cast are eccentric, reckless and extraordinary, and Mayday! is made up of their riveting tales, bizarre contraptions, magnificent achievements and, sometimes, startling folly.

Additional Information

Subject Science, History
Pages 224
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

David Darling is a science writer and astronomer. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling Equations of Eternity, and the popular online resource The Worlds of David Darling. With Dirk Schulze-Makuch he wrote Megacatastrophes!: Nine Strange Ways the World Could End. He lives in Dundee, Scotland.


'Intriguing and entertaining'.

- Daily Mail

"Gripping... dazzling tales of madness and derring-do."

- Brian Clegg, author of Inflight Science

"A hugely enjoyable roller-coaster aerial ride in the company of oddballs and heroes, complete with acts of mindless msochism in the name of science."

- Jonathan Clancy, author of Spitfire: The Biography


- Wall Street Journal

"A mix of good old-fashioned silliness and some fine science writing.”

- BBC Focus

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