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The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed Paperback – September 1, 1992
The Amazon Book Review
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In this exquisitely crafted tale of back-to-the-drawing-board perseverance, McPhee tells the story not only of the Aereon, but of any product development team. He astutely delineates the team members' personalities and interactions, delves back in time to the origins of lighter-than-air craft and the history of propellers, and in the end, makes us wonder why this promising technology hasn't been perfected. Like Aramis: Or the Love of Technology, this is a splendid book about a potentially superior aircraft which has yet to be adopted.
“It's a book Leonardo da Vinci would have warmed to, a set of experiments he's have changed.” ―Paul West, The Washington Post
“What gives [McPhee's] writing its powerful fascination is the strange, raw quality of fact: it all really happened, just the way . . . McPhee watches so intently that the Aereon and its people become real and important to the reader.” ―John Skow, Los Angeles Times
“McPhee has a genius for writing about unusual people whose activities border on the eccentric, and the Aereon project abounded with them. His engrossing account can be read at a sitting.” ―Donald R. Morris, The Houston Post
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Top Customer Reviews
I knew very little about 'lighter-than-air' history or technology before reading _Pumpkin Seed_, but McPhee assumes no prior knowledge. Indeed, one of the things I like best about McPhee is his ability to explain topics of a complex nature to a lay audience.
The story's 'characters' are exquisitely developed, and their interactions with each other are sometimes tragic, often hillarious. A number of them would make fascinating subjects for biographies in their own right.
If you have any interest in avaiation history, or just enjoy reading a well-crafted non-fiction work, I highly recommend this book.
I’ve always secretly admired people like that. They have a singular, driven purpose and interest that I lack. I’m interested in many, many things, but rarely obsessed with one item alone at that depth, so I’ve had a bazillion hobbies.
I like John McPhee who so engagingly writes about these personalities. We have William Miller, a theology maven, who has sunk all his money and time into the development of a bizarre little craft, neither airship nor airplane; John Kukon, model builder extraodinaire who had won a ridiculous number of model plane speed records, one using a fuel of his own design that was so powerful it broke the world speed record and couldn’t be shut off, the plane flew for six miles; and how Aereon, the company they built, fell apart.
For whatever reason, the obsession with airships resurfaces every few years. Just read Popular Mechanics for a periodic revival of interest as a way to haul huge loads cheaply over undeveloped wilderness. For Drew and Miller, the interest was tinged with religious fervor, but they sacrificed a great deal for their dream.
Wonderful story, laced with history, (the story of Andrew Solomons parallels that in John Toland’s The Great Dirigibles.) McPhee always manages to take something apparently mundane and turn it into a fascinating essay about people and their relationship to the world around them.
A friend loaned me this book back in the eighties and I've never forgotten it. For a over a decade I tried to find a copy just to add it to my library. So imagine my delight when I found this on Amazon!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a fan of John McPhee, I've read most of his works (starting with the Pine Barrens, and going from there). This book was one of his weaker ones. Just not that interesting.Published on April 20, 2013 by Scott C. Singer
interesting story, sad that they ran out of money and were not able to pursue the project. the company still exists and makes drones for military I belive.Published on January 31, 2010 by Karl Matheson
I was disappointed to find the book has almost nothing to do with Solomon Andrews, he only rates five pages. Read morePublished on July 8, 2006 by Bob Manson