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Amulet 6: Escape From Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi
Bad Kitty Drawn to Trouble by Nick Bruel
Below by Meg McKinlay
Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Comics Squad: Recess! by Jennifer L. Holm
The Curse of the Thrax by Mark Murphy
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Ghostbusters, Volume 7: Happy Horror Days! by Erik Burnham
Ghostbusters, Volume 8: Mass Hysteria! Part 1 by Erik Burnham
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson
If This Be Sin by Hazel Newlevant
Little Bo in London by Julie Andrews Edwards
Maddy Kettle: The Adventure of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard
Madlenka by Peter Sis
Matched by Ally Condie
Neurocomic by Hana Ros and Matteo Farinella
1.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
Over The Wall by Peter Wartman
Sea of Shadows: Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple
xxxHolic: Rei Volume 01 by CLAMP

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Comments for Birdmen

Birdmen: 11/08/14

cover art

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone takes an in depth look at the people who made heavier than air flight possible. When I was a child, the answer to this question was simple: The Wright brothers, and it all started with the Kitty Hawk flight in 1903. Technological advances are rarely that simple. They are typically messy, competitive, and even litigious.

Modern day airplanes are exquisite corpses built on the technological advancements that different inventors and companies have made. Birdmen focuses on the individual pieces of the puzzle of flight. Besides the Wrights, there was Curtiss, Baldwin (inventor of the parachute), Chanute, Langley and others.

While there is some biographical information too the life stories take a back seat to the discussion of their research. For anyone interested in the mechanics of flight, the business of being on the leading edge of technology, and the fine art of getting and keeping government contracts. On the flip side is the heavy price of lawsuits, the never ending need to boost one's brand, the growing need for capital, and the ever expanding competition.

For the Wright Bros. business, the desire to stay privately owned, with tight control over patents and publicity, and trouble adapting to an ever changing business model. Ultimately the things that put the Wrights on the top in the beginning, were the same ones that brought an unfortunate end to the company.

My one complaint with the book is that it seems to drag near the end. To fill the book out beyond 400 pages, the book includes some brief biographies of early superstar flyers. While I am also interested in the likes of Harriet Quimby and John Moisant, I was reading Birdmen for the business and engineering stories.

Four stars

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