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AIRSHIPMEN BUSINESSMEN & POLITICS 1890-1940 (Smithsonian History of Aviation and Spaceflight Series) Hardcover – August 17, 1991
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Dust jacket notes: "Rigid airships, the first aircraft capable of crossing the oceans with significant numbers of passengers and cargo, captured the public's imagination and the attention of many who saw in the dirigible a chance to expand their own ambitions, whether personal, political, military, or commercial. Drawing on governmental, company, and private archives from Germany, England, and the United States, Henry Cord Meyer shows how politicians and airship company executives with ulterior motives exploited public enthusiasm as well of feelings of nationalism. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin used his invention to enhance German military power and assure his nation's preeminence in early twentieth-century Europe - as well as to restore his personal honor after political enemies shattered his military career. Considering himself superior in technological competence to Count Zeppelin and seeking the same public acclaim, Johann Schutte created a rival construction firm that was responsible for significant technical improvements in airship design. Dr. Hugo Eckener, who dedicated himself to resurrecting the zeppelin for peaceful commerce, manipulated such public relations events as polar exploration to maintain German prestige through airship development. Perhaps inspired by the opportunities for technological innovation and the promise of multimillion-dollar rewards, Henry Ford had a little-known quixotic flirtation with airship construction before he moved fully into the construction of all-metal airplanes. Airshipmen, Businessmen, and Politics, 1890-1940 includes ninety-four illustrations and photographs, many of them published in the United States for the first time. Primarily focused on the human drama, the book illuminates the personalities of the many airship developers who have been overshadowed by the glamour of the pioneers or the spectacle of airship disasters...."