9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2006
This book is essentially written by 4 different authors, all specialists at the Smithsonian and in different aspects of the American attempt to break the sound barrier.
The sections deal with Chuck Yeager, the man, the development of the Bell X-1, the development of the rocket engine, the flights themselves, and finally what happened to the Bell X-1 record breaking airframe afterwards.
The book is well illustrated with b&w, colour photographs as well as sketches and drawings. I particularly liked the staged photo of Yeager sat in the X-1 on the 50th anniversary of the flight. This contrasts with the photo of a much younger Yeager in the same aircraft 50 years earlier. I also liked the dust jacket cover- a full colour photo of the Bell X-1 cockpit.
My only criticism is the "almost" lack of acknowledgement to the Miles M52 project from which the Bell project was heavily extrapolated.
Worth a read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2008
As a novice in aviation engineering and no fan of the glamourisation of military endeavours,I was drawn to this book purely out of interest in the technical battle for speed.
The book covers the full history of the project in a logical and very readable manner,and is carefully produced with extensive and evocative photos.
There is little emphasis on the patriotic or military aspects of the tale,but the participants are given due credit for their courage at the frontiers of technology.
Thoroughly recommended as an introduction to a remarkable story.