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Glenn Curtiss, Pioneer of Flight Paperback – August 1, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Curtiss, an associate of Alexander Graham Bell and bitter enemy of the Wright brothers, achieved several notable firsts in American aviation. Roseberry ``has caught the excitement, suspense and camaraderie of the pioneer days of flying quite vividly,'' said PW. Illustrated.

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

More than just a biography, this is also a well-documented history of the development of aviation and they key figures associated with it during the first three crucial decades of this century. Through an examination of Curtiss's dealings with people such as Alexander Graham Bell, his original partner, and Wilbur and Orville Wright, his most important rivals, Roseberry provides insight into the overall development of flight in America.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 514 pages
  • Publisher: Syracuse Univ Press; Reprint edition (August 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815602642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815602644
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book and I really enjoyed reading it. Glenn Curtiss has become a largely forgotten figure in American history which is too bad considering his great accomplishments at growing both the art and science of human aviation. I'm also a fan of the Wright Brothers, but the advances that Curtiss made in engine and flight control technologies left the Wright's in the dust not to mention his invention of the hydroaeroplane (float plane) and flying boat. One of the true giants among early aviation pioneers. His long association with Alexander Graham Bell is fascinating to explore and the needless feud with the Wright Brothers is one of the enduring tragedies in aviation history.

One small historical inaccuracy is that the book gives the impression that US Navy officer Theodore "Spuds" Ellyson was killed in an airplane crash around 1913 or 1914 while trying to reach Annapolis for his young daughter's surgery. This actually happened in 1928.
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I read about the Wright Brothers as a child in the Random House Landmark Series and was duly impressed. "Birdmen" re-kindled my interest in early flight so I read McCullough's "Wright Bothers", a hagiography, I discovered, after reading this book about Glenn Curtis, the Wright Brothers biggest rival and bete noire. As great as the Wright Brothers were, and their dedication, hard work, and scientific approach to flight were impressive, they were a one trick pony and Curtiss was much more versatile, opened minded, and creative than they were but he has been lost in their shadow. This book is well-researched, well-written, and a pleasure to read.
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Format: Paperback
At 514 pages, this book (hardcover version) sat on my shelf for some years before I felt up to tackling it. I've read many books about the Wright brothers, and others about this period of aviation history, but never a book on Curtiss. This book turns out to be a real gem. Despite it's length I never felt bogged down. Curtiss's life is fascinating and Roseberry tells the tale brilliantly.

I also learned a great deal about his contemporaries that I had not known before. Anyone who has read much about the Wrights has heard of Augustus Herring (scoundrel) and Charles Manly (Langley's pilot). Did you know that these two figure prominently in Curtiss's life as well? And how Henry Ford offered to help him in his endless legal battle with the Wrights? It seems Ford had his own legal battle over the idea of the automobile (Selden patent), very much like the battle Curtiss had with Wright.

You'll also learn a lot you didn't know about Alexander Graham Bell. He thought that multi-cell kites would be the future of aviation, but here you'll learn he not only nurtured several successful young aviators (including Curtiss, Thomas Selfridge, etc.) but also made some critical suggestions along the way. It was Bell who suggested that the control surfaces we now associate with the tail of a plane be put at the BACK, not in front!

The hardback version is a great many pictures, including one child's snapshot of a plane crash at the moment it hit some spectators... chilling.

A great book and required reading if you're into early aviation.
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This book holds your interest from the very first page to the very last page. It is the best biography of Curtiss that I have read and is head and shoulders above the biography written many years ago by Hatch. It is well researched and written in a style that is lively and holds your interest. It also contains many historical photographs that add to the book. Curtiss himself was a fascinating man and not as well known by people as he should be. I recommend that anybody with an interest in aviation and/or history should read this book.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this exceptional book years ago - and then met its author, Tip Roseberry, a fine man and an accomplished historian/writer. Sometime later I wrote my own book on Curtiss, PENDULUM, THE STORY OF AMERICA'S THREE AVIATION PIONEERS, WILBUR WRIGHT, ORVILLE WRIGHT, AND GLENN CURTISS, THE HENRY FORD OF AVIATION, and in the process discovered several important unknowns about Curtiss, his partner, Alexander Graham Bell, and his relationship with Henry Ford which Roseberry never knew. Suffice to say that anyone studying the life of Curtiss should read both books - and will come away with a new, never-before-understood appreciation of this great man. In fact, since finishing PENDULUM I've learned more very startling and important things which has led me to write BELL AND CURTISS, HOW THE PARTNERSHIP OF ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL AND GLENN HAMMOND CURTISS LED TO THE FOUNDING OF THE AMERICAN AVIATION INDUSTRY, as yet unpublished. But the credit goes to Tip, who so spendid! ly began it all.
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A well conceived, meticulously researched book. Combine this with Mr. Curtiss's fascinating life and Mr. Roseberry's impressive writing skills and you have a history book that reads like a novel. Buy it.
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wonderful history of the early years in the finger lakes region of NY. Im only half through and not gotten to the heavy aviation stuff yet but so far an excellent read. A book to keep or a great gift to airplane lovers.
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