The Men Who Gave Us Wings

Britain and the Aeroplane 1796-1914

Peter Reese

Date Published :
October 2020
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
120 illustrations including maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781848848481
Pages : 272
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781526781956
Pages : 272
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Why did the British, then the leading nation in science and technology, fall far behind in the race to develop the airplane before the First World War? Despite their initial advantage, they were overtaken by the Wright brothers in America, by the French and the Germans. Peter Reese, in this highly readable and highly illustrated account, delves into the fascinating early history of aviation as he describes what happened and why. He recalls the brilliant theoretical work of Sir George Cayley, the inventions of other pioneers of the nineteenth century and the daring exploits of the next generation of airmen, among them Samuel Cody, A.V. Roe, Bertram Dickson, Charles Rolls and Tommy Sopwith. His narrative is illustrated with a wonderful selection of over 120 archive drawings and photographs which record the men and the primitive flying machines of a century ago.

About The Author

Peter Reese is well known as a military historian with a particular interest in Scottish military history. He concentrated on war-related studies whilst a student at King's College London and served in the army for twenty-nine years. His other books include a biography of William Wallace and a study of the Battle of Bannockburn. He lives in Aldershot.


"contributes to the body of knowledge of aviation history of this time. It is recommended for those who want to know more about how Britain’s aviation evolved in the formative years prior to the war"

- Over the Front, Autumn 2015

"...written in a readable, entertaining style that fleshes out the characters of the personalities involved and provides numerous anecdotes."

- Flight Line Book Review

"Reese can be commended for giving us a straightforward, factual account of his subject. The book is well worth the time for someone interested in the questions he raises."

- Air & Space Power History

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