Reach for the Skies
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Reach for the Skies : Ballooning, Birdmen and Blasting into Space

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Description

As far back as stories go, pioneers have reached for the skies. In the last two hundred years, they have mastered the air and made the modern world possible. Today they are bringing outer space within our reach. They're inventors and toymakers, amateurs and adventurers, visionaries, dreamers and, yes, crackpots. Some have called them irresponsible, even dangerous. But I have met many of them. I have worked with them, and funded them, and flown with them. I admire them, and trust them, and I think they and their kind are our future. In this book I look at the history of flight through the stories and people who have inspired me. These are tales of miraculous rescues; of records made and broken; of surprising feats of endurance and survival, including some of my own adventures, as well as developments in the future of air (and space) travel. This is a story of pioneers, and of course it includes the world famous Montgolfiers and the Wright brothers. But I also want to describe some of the lesser-known trailblazers - people like Tony Jannus, who in 1914 created the world's first scheduled commercial flight, flying his passengers over the waters of Tampa Bay at an altitude of just fifty feet; the 'bird man' Leo Valentin, who in the 1950s jumped from 9,000 feet with wooden wings attached to his shoulders; and my friend, Steve Fossett, who dedicated his life to breaking records and having adventures. This is their story. It is also, in a small way, my own.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 148 x 232 x 32mm | 621.42g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16pp colour; black and white illustrations throughout
  • 1905264917
  • 9781905264919
  • 573,438

About Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is a hugely successful international entrepreneur, adventurer and icon, and is founder of the Virgin Group. His autobiography, Losing My Virginity, and his books on business, Screw It, Let's Do It, Business Stripped Bare, Screw Business as Usual and Like a Virgin are all international bestsellers. He is also the author of Reach for the Skies. He lives on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands and is married to Joan and has two grown-up children - Holly and Sam.show more

Back cover copy

I spend a great deal of my life on aeroplanes. I'm sometimes exhausted by the routine, as much as the next business traveller. but there isn't a flight that goes by when I don't stare out of the window and thank my stars for what I'm seeing and feeling. Like so many before me, I have plummeted into the sea and been fished, half-frozen, from the water. I know frostbite. I know the wrench you feel in your gut as a balloon rises to where the air is too think to breathe comfortably. I know what an altimeter needle does when you fall from the sky. If this book makes your air journeys just a little more magical, just an edge more miraculous, then I will have done my job. The skies are full of wonder.show more

Flap copy

As far back as stories go, pioneers have reached for the skies. In the last two hundred years, they have mastered the air and made the modern world possible. Today they are bringing outer space within our reach. They're inventors and toymakers, amateurs and adventurers, visionaries, dreamers and, yes, crackpots. Some have called them irresponsible, even dangerous. But I have met many of them. I have worked with them, and funded them, and flown with them. I admire and trust them, and I think they and their kind are our future. In this book I look at the history of flight through the stories and people who have inspired me throughout my life. In these pages you will find accounts of miraculous rescues; of records made and broken; of surprising feats of endurance and survival, including some of my own adventures, as well as developments in the future of air (and space) travel. It is a story of pioneers, and of course it includes the world-famous Montgolfiers and the Wright brothers, but I also want to describe some of the lesser-known trailblazers. People like Tony Jannus, who in 1914 created the first scheduled commercial flight in the world, flying his passengers over the waters of Tampa Bay at an altitude of just fifty feet! The 'bird man' Leo Valentin, who in the 1950s jumped from 9,000 feet with wooden wings attached to his shoulders. And my friend Steve Fossett, who dedicated his life to breaking records and having adventures. This is their story. It is also, in a small way, my own.show more