- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books; 1 edition (June 11, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786866594
- ISBN-13: 978-0786866595
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Wings of Madness: Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Invention of Flight 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
This thoroughly entertaining history of one of the currently overlooked heroes from early-20th-century aviation equals that of Hoffman's earlier volume, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. Almost unknown today except in his native Brazil (where he is a revered figure), Alberto Santos-Dumont was known throughout the world as "a maverick among contemporary aeronauts." Obsessed with the idea of flight from an early age, Santos-Dumont (1873-1932) was an eccentric genius whose inherited wealth allowed him to live in luxury in fin-de-siecle Paris, at first working on ballooning. After designing small, cigar-shaped, engine-powered vehicles, which he used for everything from traveling around Paris to circling the Eiffel Tower, he soon became one of the best-known men in the city. Later he built "the world's first sports plane." Hoffman expertly recaptures from the historical dustbin the many facets of this unique character who befriended the Rothschilds and Cartiers, ran in the same crowd as Marcel Proust and devoted his life to a singular passion unmatched even by the obsessive Wright Brothers during the early days of aviation, "a time when the vast majority of Europeans and Americans had not yet traveled along the ground in an automobile."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Wright brothers launched the age of manned aviation at Kitty Hawk in 1903. However, they did so in near secrecy, primarily because they wished to protect their patent rights. Three years later, a Brazilian investor and aviator living in Paris made a more publicly viewed flight and was acclaimed, temporarily, as the father of manned flight in a heavier-than-air vehicle. Hoffman writes an account of an adventurous epoch and an adventurous, attractive, but strangely melancholy man. While the Wright brothers shunned publicity, Santos-Dumont craved it. He was lively, flamboyant, and a social butterfly, who sometimes seemed to view aviation as a diverting lark. He seemed entirely at home in the freewheeling, stimulating milieu of pre-war Paris. Yet, beneath his bon vivant exterior, Santos-Dumont was driven with a creative passion and was tortured by the militarization of aircraft. Hoffman is a gifted writer whose elegant prose captures a fascinating era and a compelling personality who was never fully at ease with that era or with himself. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
But I found it interesting that in the notes at the end the author mentions that he had never heard of Santos Dumont until someone suggested he write the book. Yikes! Every kid who's ever drooled over a catalog of model airplanes has come across the Demoiselle. And therein lies a minor problem with this otherwise delightful book, a problem for those of us most hungry for knowledge about this pioneer aviator: Hoffman skimps on the details of the airships and esp. the Demoiselle.
How can you write a book about a pioneer inventor without any clear drawings of the inventions? The Demoiselle in particular gets short shrift. I mean this plane still exists, can't we learn a little more about how it works? Or get a nice photo of it?
So we are still waiting for a more technical book on Santos Dumont's inventions, but this book certainly covers the man himself, and it's fascinating.
Oh, and Hyperion Press should be flayed for the horrible fake cover picture they photoshopped for this book. To decorate a carefully researched history book with a ridiculous lie is an insult to the author and the readers.
Paul Hoffman's seamless account of Santos-Dumont's life and career follows the aviator from his childhood on his father's coffee plantation to his sad death in 1932. Always somewhat tormented--Santos craved the adoration his pioneering exploits won for him--he ended his days apparently guilt-ridden over the lethal use to which airplanes--which were to his mind his own invention--were being put.
Hoffman's well-written book is fascinating for its invocation of a lost world. The author is to be applauded, too, for bringing the flamboyant, troubled Santos-Dumont once again to the attention of the public.
Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
Most recent customer reviews
Where to even start? Wow! What a great read! I had never heard of Santos-Dumont before reading this book.Read more