Based on the Graf Zeppelin’s amazing round-the-world flight in 1929 – the first-ever passenger circumnavigation by air – the book tells the story of the Zeppelin airship: one of the most spectacular technological and operational marvels of its age.
The year 2000 marks the hundredth anniversary of the maiden flight of the first experimental Zeppelin airship. A further 115 giant airships were built and flown by the Zeppelin company (based at Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Constance in Germany) – mostly for the purposes of war – but the most successful and best loved was the second to last of them, Dr Hugo Eckener’s round-the-world airship, Graf Zeppelin, the dream machine.
Based on the reports and recollections of those on board, including Lady Grace Drummond Hay, an attractive young aristocratic English widow, and the man at the heart of the story, the airship’s creator and commander Hugo Eckener, the book is both a romantic travel adventure and the story of a great scientific achievement.
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Early in the morning of 15 August 1929, at a gigantic aircraft hangar on the shores of Lake Constance in Germany, one aristocratic Englishwoman and sixty men of different nationalities clambered on board a fantastical flying machine almost as big as the 'Titanic'. The 'Graf Zeppelin,' one of the most spectacular and best-loved technological marvels of its age, was about to embark on the first-ever passenger round-the-world flight, kept aloft with inflammable hydrogen gas and propelled by a special explosive vapour.
Travelling up to four times the speed of the fastest ocean-going liner and down to less than the height of the Empire State Building, above unknown lands and seas, the 'Graf Zeppelin' flew east-about via the wilds of Siberia to Japan and across the Pacific to continental America and the Atlantic. The airship's creator and commander was a former psychologist and economics journalist called Hugo Eckener, one of the great protagonists of aeronautical history and later opponent of Hitler and his Nazis henchmen.
Relying on contemporary memoirs, diaries, journals and letters, Douglas Botting has written an exhilarating narrative history of the Zeppelin, blending science, adventure and romance to describe how Dr Eckener joined forces with a retired German cavalry officer called Count Zeppelin to pursue a dream of creating the world's first passenger aircraft – and how that dream distorted in world war 1 and finally turned into a nightmare with the fateful crash of the 'Hindenburg' in 1937. Dr Eckener's dream, however, lives on – both in the pages of this book and on an airfield near Berlin…About the Author:
Douglas Botting’s biography of GAVIN MAXWELL was hugely praised and is still in print as a HarperCollins paperback. His previous books reflect his interest in travel, exploration and wild places. He was an exploration film-maker for the BBC’s ‘World About Us’ and became a full-time writer with the publication of his highly praised biography of the German explorer-naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, Humboldt and the Cosmos. His biography of Gerald Durrell, published in March 1999, received excellent, widespread review and feature coverage.
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Book Description Harpercollins, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover and dust jacket. Good binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. Ships daily. Bookseller Inventory # 1406180114