Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World (Google eBook)

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Faber & Faber, Oct 7, 2010 - Technology & Engineering
6 Reviews

In 1945 Britain was the world's leading designer and builder of aircraft - a world-class achievement that was not mere rhetoric. And what aircraft they were. The sleek Comet, the first jet airliner. The awesome delta-winged Vulcan, an intercontinental bomber that could be thrown about the sky like a fighter. The Hawker Hunter, the most beautiful fighter-jet ever built and the Lightning, which could zoom ten miles above the clouds in a couple of minutes and whose pilots rated flying it as better than sex. Just what was it like to be alive in that marvellous post-war moment when innovative new British aircraft made their debut, and pilots were the rock stars of the age?

James Hamilton-Paterson captures that season of glory in a compelling book that fuses his own memories of being a schoolboy plane spotter with a ruefully realistic history of British decline - its loss of self confidence and power. It is the story of great and charismatic machines and the men who flew them: heroes such as Bill Waterton, Neville Duke, John Derry and Bill Beaumont who took inconceivable risks, so that we could fly without a second thought.


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Review: Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World

User Review  - Jim B - Goodreads

This rather interesting book is a combination memoir, biography of Canadian test pilot Bill Waterton, and indictment of the British aviation industry. Hamilton-Paterson tells the story of a bloated ... Read full review

Review: Empire of the Clouds: When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World

User Review  - Ian Chapman - Goodreads

A book about the post-war decades of the UK aviation industry. The sheer engineering magnificence of some of the aircraft, even a sort of beauty, and the courage of the pilots particularly test pilots ... Read full review


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About the author (2010)

James Hamilton-Paterson is the author of Gerontius, winner of a Whitbread Prize; Seven-Tenths: The Sea and its Thresholds; Playing With Water; and most recently, of the wild comic trilogy Cooking With Fernet Branca, Amazing Disgrace and Rancid Pansies.

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