Publication Date: 13/09/2018 ISBN: 9780712352611 Category:
Featured in Mr B's 2018 Christmas Catalogue

Taking to the Air

Lily Ford

Publisher: British Library Publishing
Publication Date: 13/09/2018 ISBN: 9780712352611 Category:



Mr B's review

Mr B’s Christmas Catalogue Review 2018

This stunning, heavily illustrated story of man’s obsession with defying gravity is inspired by the British Library’s vast archive of prints and photographs on the subject. From the failures to the successes, each innovation has captured the public’s imagination and inspired writers and artists. Lily Ford also highlights a shift in our experience of flying: from being spectators marvelling at daredevils, to becoming passengers ourselves.


The possibilities of flight have long fascinated us. Each innovation captivated a broad public, from those who gathered to witness winged medieval visionaries jumping from towers, to those who tuned in to watch the moon landings.

Throughout history, the visibility of airborne objects from the ground has made for a spectacle of flight, with sizeable crowds gathering for eighteenth-century balloon launches and early twentieth-century air shows. Taking to the Air tells the history of flight through the eye of the spectator, and later, the passenger.

Focusing on moments of great cultural impact, this book is a visual celebration of the wonder of flight, based on the large and diverse collection of print imagery held by the British Library. It is a study of how flight has been thought and pictured.

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