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Song of the sky Hardcover – January 1, 1979


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Hardcover, January 1, 1979
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Ziff-Davis Pub. Co; Revised edition (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871650304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871650306
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.8 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
I first read this book in 1962 as a young aviation enthusiast.
Mark W. Johnson
My wife and I have bought, sold and given away about 50 copies of this wonderful book since 1979.
Jimmy D. Nowell
It is a fantastic history of the art of Aviation and Navigation.
Race 68

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Upward Call on February 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Song of The Sky; An Exploration of the Ocean of Air
by Guy Murchie
First Published by Houghton Mifflin 1954

Simple descriptions or labels cannot capture the essence of this eclectic and well-researched book, which proved a popular award winner in its day. The recipe includes one part meterology, one part navigation, one part history of early flight, one part bird flight, one part flying lore, one part travel log, one part war story, seasoned with a dash of Ripley's Believe It or Not. Six pages detail the names of the planet's various winds, in the native tongues of the people who encounter them. In trying to comprehend how the book came to be so varied, it helps to understand that the author was a mariner, a school teacher, a pilot, a navigator, a musician, a war correspondent, and an artist. He has illustrated the book with pen and ink renderings of art deco C-54 transports, majestic sky scapes, and technical sketches of snow crystals. In all, it is as rich and comprehensive response to flight and the sky as any author has recorded for us.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Murchie was obviously a great influence on Richard Bach's early flying books. His narrative style of framing topics about navigation within a flight across the Atlantic must have been the inspiration for Bach's "Stranger to the Ground," another great book about flying. Murchie takes you on journies through the evolution of early ocean navigation, celestial navigation, and flight. Fascinating even for non-pilots and non-science oriented readers. A master of explaining complex phenomenon, "Song of the Sky" will leave the reader with an appreciation of man's long struggle to conquer the ocean and sky. If you like Richard Bach or Ernest Gann, you will absolutely love "Song of the Sky."
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Guy Murchie is extraordinary: a wartime flier who
knows the world of science intimately, yet describes
it all with the soul of a poet. Go aloft with
him: feel the air currents lift your body, yet
know why the air molecules move as they do. Whether
you are interested in airplanes--or meteorology--
or navigation--or not, this book belongs in
your library. Illustrated with numerous tiny
drawings by the author.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Smallchief on February 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Song of the Sky" is about the "ocean of air," aviation, and navigation -- how people through history have found their way from one place on earth to another. The range and quality of the author's writing make it a fascinating book that holds the reader's interest throughout 400 pages. This is popular science and adventure writing at its best.

Murchie builds his story around a single flight from the U.S. to Europe of a commercial airliner in the early 1950s. He was the navigator on the flight and he describes how he determines the aircraft's speed and direction and pinpoints his location. (He speaks of his "computer" which in reality was a wooden slide rule. "Song of the Sky" was published in 1954 when navigation was still a paper and pen affair.)

Chapter one leads with the dramatic story of an ice build up on the wings of his airplane which threatens to cause it to stall and crash. Murchie then broadens out his subject to give a fascinating history of navigation through the ages, including a lot of attention to Pacific Islanders who navigated over thousands of miles of empty oceans by charting and remembering patterns in ocean waves and currents. He describes weather and storms and their impact on flying and includes a lot of tales of flying adventures and misadventures to illustrate his points.

"Song of the Sky" was published 50 years ago and so the reader may expect to find a few anachronisms -- but very few. The heart of the book is sound. This is one of the most exciting and informative books I have ever read and it has a permanent place on my bookshelf. As a book about aviation, I find it far superior to "Wind, Sand and Stars" which is often considered the classic of the genre.

Smallchief
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy D. Nowell on September 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
My wife and I have bought, sold and given away about 50 copies of this wonderful book since 1979. In 1980, we located Mr. Murchie, by telephone at his home in New Hampshire and talked to him a long time, he was 80 years old then.I talked to him one other time, then lost contact with him after that.He was so kind and knowlegable, even sent us an autographed copy of his 2nd edition and we later located an autograhed 1st edition.

If your care anything about weather, flying or natural science,you should read this book!! I told him the book was so well written it could be taught in school as a text, he modestly said "it has been".

If you ever wondered how a bird takes off, or how its feathers were formed, read this book! we have ever book this wonderful man wrote and they are all exceptional!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Old Yankee on April 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew Guy Murchie personally. He lived about 15 miles from me in New Hampshire. He was a great nature and science lover, humanitarian, pacifist and simply a delightful man. He illustrated his own books.
I was his banker and once or twice a year he would come into my office with a folder of his writing, mostly illustrations but also some text. He would ask me to have the material copied then and then put the originals in a safe deposit box and take the copies home to work with.
I would have my secretary do the copying and visit with him while she did so. I looked forward to his visits. They were always an inspirational, informative and enjoyable experience, a wonderful and welcome break. I thought of having him among my customers as one of the best fringe benefits of my job. Murchie was a very pleasant, thoughtful, brilliant, humble, and generally delightful man.
The first of his books that I read was titled "The Music of the Spheres". The title was taken from a quote from Pythagoras, "There are numbers in the vibrations of the strings (the lyre) and music in the spacing of the Spheres (the stars). The book was about modern physics including relativistic and quantum physics. Murchie's style made this esoteric material clear even to the mind of a banker.
Another of his excellent books was titled "The Seven Mysteries of Life" and I also recommend this work.
"Song of the Sky" was about his experiences as a bomber navigator during the second world war. I won't try to recount it as it was perhaps 35 or 40 years ago that I read it. (The copy I recently purchased was a gift for a friend.) But I doubt that there are many book lovers for whom at least one of his books would not find its way to their heart.
Murchie died in the summer of 1997. If you Google him you will find some very interesting biographical material.
Enjoy.
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