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The Right to Fly

by Various


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A book passionately defending balloon flight for human beings, celebrating the 175th anniversary of The London Library

From all points of the world I see man rising with the promptness of electricity, soaring in the air, and descending like a bird when and where he wishes

Although man's desire to fly has existed for as long as we have (Daedalus and Icarus, the flying chariots of Sanskrit epics, Leonardo da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds), the modern era of flight did not begin until 1783, with the demonstration of the first working hot-air balloon by the Montgolfier brothers. The first passengers were a duck, a sheep and a rooster.

Air travel went from strength to strength, and Nadar's sixty-metre high balloon, Le GeĢant, was the biggest balloon ever built. Requiring 300 seamstresses to assemble its 22,000 yards of silk, it was not a success. But it paved the way for thinking on heavier-than-air flight—which would eventually lead to the "the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight" in 1903 by the Wright brothers.

The Right to Fly is part of "Found on the Shelves", published with The London Library. The books in this series have been chosen to give a fascinating insight into the treasures that can be found while browsing in The London Library. Now celebrating its 175th anniversary, with over seventeen miles of shelving and more than a million books, The London Library has become an unrivalled archive of the modes, manners and thoughts of each generation which has helped to form it.

Publication Details

Pushkin Press
Publication Date:


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The Right to Fly
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