Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air, Richard Holmes


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This heart-lifting book floats widely across the world, and offers a cracking international story of drama, adventure and danger. It follows the pioneer generation of balloon aviators from the first heroic experiments of the Montgolfiers in 1780s to the tragic attempt to fly a balloon to the North Pole in the 1890s, with many highly dramatic action sequences in between.

These include the crazy firework flights of beautiful Sophie Blanchard; the first revelatory flights over the great Victorian cities displaying class divisions, pollution and industrial sprawl; the astonishing long-distance night-flights of Charles Green and Felix Nadar which exposed the strange and savage power of Nature in new ways.