Edition: Hardback
ISBN: 9780571247943
No of pages: 304

Other Editions: Hardback Hardback Paperback

Empire of the Clouds


In 1945 Britain inherited the title of the world’s leading pioneer and builder of jet aircraft.

And how extraordinary these aircraft were over the next ten years. The sleek Comet, the first jet airliner. The awesome delta-winged Vulcan, an intercontinental bomber that could be thrown about the sky like a fighter. The Hawker Hunter, the most beautiful fighter-jet ever built, and the Lightning, which could zoom ten miles above the clouds in a couple of minutes and whose pilots rated flying it as better than sex.

By the early 1960s, the designers, the extremely brave test pilots and the legendary companies they worked for - Avro, Hawker, Vickers, de Havilland - were gone or facing a bleak future. A heroic and distinguished industry was coming to an end, and now these magnificent planes are much-loved museum pieces.

What was it like to be alive in that marvellous post-war decade when innovative new British aircraft made their debut several times a year, and pilots were the rock stars of the age? And how did Britain lose the plot so completely?

James Hamilton-Paterson captures that season of glory in a compelling story that fuses his own memories of being a schoolboy plane-spotter with a rueful history of Britain’s loss of self-confidence and power. It is a glimpse of a vanished world: the exhilarating story of atomic-age aviation pioneers, their great and charismatic machines, and the men who flew them.

Read an extract here (via the Mail Online).


Categorised as: Non-fiction
Sub-categories: History
Genres & Themes: Engineering; Innovation; Nostalgia; Post-war; Air Travel

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