Spenser starts with the pioneering work of Yorkshire gentleman Sir George Cayley in the late 18th century, delineates the competitive race between inventors in the early 1900s and culminates (somewhat abruptly) in the world of modern jet airliner travel. Spenser's history reads like a textbook for young, aspiring engineers. Instead of a general chronological approach, Spenser divides the book into sections that each track the development of a different part of the airplane, from the fuselage to landing gear. While this allows him to show how the modern airplane is not a singular invention but rather the cumulative result of thousands of different inventors, trials and errors, it does diffuse the narrative. Still, Spenser's book stands as a smart, and occasionally wonkish, history of a thrilling machine all too often taken for granted.
Not registered yet? We'll like you more if you do!