- Series: Disaster
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: The History Press (January 25, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1467119202
- ISBN-13: 978-1467119207
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,441,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Airship ROMA Disaster in Hampton Roads Paperback – January 25, 2016
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"Sheppard, a Hampton Roads native who studied history at ODU, does an excellent job of telling Roma's story. Her worthwhile book is extensively researched, drawing on many eyewitness accounts as well as official records and other sources, and lavishly illustrated, including many pictures never before published." Timothy J. Lockhart, The Virginian-Pilot
About the Author
Nancy E. Sheppard is a writer and historian of her native Hampton Roads, Virginia. She received her education in history from American Military University and Old Dominion University. Over the past four years she has been devoted to discovering and telling the story of the U.S. Army Air Service dirigible ROMA and her crew. Aside from her research and writing, Sheppard is a tireless advocate for the awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders and special needs family members in the military community.
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JNG, Colonel, USAF (Ret)
Sheppard also tells the story of the men who flew the Roma, and she is a good enough storyteller that I felt like I got to know them. Shppard also goes into the story of the bureaucracy that tried to fly the Roma, and makes it clear that the crew didn't fail the ship, the people giving them their orders failed. For example, why, when it was known that hydrogen will explode and helium won't, was the Roma filled with hydrogen? Sheppard will let you know.
Anyone who has had to deal with a job where they are asked to do thinks they know won't work will understand the story of the Roma. As a history it is very good. As a story of people it is better. I recommend it highly.
Proving that local histories can be a rewarding read when researched well and presented in scholarly fashion. While making the US Navy a career for over 22 years and being stationed in the Hampton Roads area for many of them, I was pleasantly surprised when I happened upon Nancy E. Sheppard’s book. I was surfing through the books section on Amazon and, as usual, one of my surfing terms brought this interesting chapter of local history to my attention. I had never heard of the Roma disaster.
Sheppard has placed quite a few black and white photos in the book. I like a book with pictures that illustrate the subject being presented. She has provided prose that color in the background of the story bringing the Roma tragedy and the people involved to life. Essential characters are given a thorough background which is an indication of the depth of research Nancy has provided and the care she has given in presenting the story.
The Roma story starts in Italy when the United States military accepts it from the Italian military. Lighter-than-air aircraft were becoming an important segment of the country’s future defense plans. Roma was part of that future. In Italy the aircraft was disassembled and crated for shipping by ocean liner. Uncrating it in Hampton Roads was a carefully orchestrated evolution that was not without its own travails. Getting it into the air was another story in itself. In the end Roma and some of its crew flew into disaster and history.
Nancy Sheppard has provided us with a look into the lives, the fortune and the misfortune of Roma and the airship program and those attached to it. I hope she continues writing and would be happy to see her bring to light other local histories. Any history buff will not be disappointed by reading this book.
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