Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air

Richard Holmes

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air

Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, 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. 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Sports, Hobbies & Games
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication April 2013
ISBN 978-0007386925
Publisher William Collins
 

Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its subject. In this heart-lifting book, the Romantic biographer Richard Holmes floats across the world following the pioneer generation of balloon aeronauts, 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.

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

Reviews

The Evening Standard

Claire Harman

Holmes is a truly masterly storyteller and can make the most digressive material cohere, even when he is suddenly telling you about Ruskin and leeches, neither of which ever went on a balloon flight as far as I know. The footnotes are artfully arranged (with special balloon symbols) as conversational asides that he valves up and down into with verve. Some of the most interesting stories are nestled there, like the disappearance over the Atlantic of a heroic volunteer during the siege of Paris, Alexandre Prince, “the lone figure in the high balloon headed west into the sunset”.

18/04/2013

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The Observer

Peter Conrad

His bestseller about romantic science was called The Age of Wonder, and he has a rare and infectious capacity for wonderment, best represented here in his observations of nature. He gives a dazzling account of the migratory battalions of insects that surprise balloonists in the highest altitudes — flocks of butterflies, plagues of locusts — and his account of the fragile, ingenious operations of a bird's wing persuades me to trust the wind-battered metal flaps that I see whenever I look out of an aeroplane window and remember what became of Icarus.

21/04/2013

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The Times

Giles Whittell

[A] capitvating and surely definitive history of the madness of pre-Wright brothers ballooning ... Holmes, biographer of Shelley and Coleridge, is perhaps best known for The Age of Wonder, his engaging study of the impact of science in the early industrial era. At times this book seems to warrant the title The Age of Blunder, although Falling Upwards does capture the same spirit.

20/04/2013

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