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The wonder of flight has long captured the human imagination. In this beguiling history ranging from the first aircraft to astronauts and beyond David Darling tells the stories of the true-life adventurers whose wonder has translated into bizarre contraptions, magnificent achievements, and, sometimes, startling folly. Readers will discover outrageous attempts to fly like a bird and fall from the edge of space, as well as meet Napoleonic ballooniste Sophie Blanchard and her daredevil husband, the real X-Men” who flew the supersonic experimental X-planes” for the U.S. Air Force, stuntman Lincoln Beachey looping-the-loop in a pinstripe suit, and, of course, The Rocket Man himself: Yves Rossy, who in 2006 was the first person to cross the English Channel using a jet-pack. Eccentric and reckless, Darling’s daring cast of dreamers is guaranteed to entertain and inspire.
David Darling is an astronomer, freelance science writer and creator of one of the most popular online encyclopedias of space and astrobiology. The author of numerous works, including the best-selling Equations of Eternity, he lives in Dundee, U.K.