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Jet Age

'Verhovek has accomplished the near-impossible in making modern airline travel the subject of a vivid detective story. Anyone who has ever stepped onto an airplane will be interested in this tale.' - James Fallows, national correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly, and author of Free Flight- Inventing the Future of Travel In Jet Age, journalist Sam Howe Verhovek explores the advent of the first generation of jet airliners and the people who designed, built, and flew them. The path to jet travel was triumphal and amazingly rapid-less than fifty years after the Wright Brothers' first flight at Kitty Hawk, Great Britain led the world with the first commercial jet plane service. Yet the pioneering British Comet was cursed with a tragic, mysterious flaw, and an upstart Seattle company put a new competitor in the sky- the Boeing 707 Jet Stratoliner. Jet Age vividly re-creates the race between two nations, two global airlines, and two rival teams of brilliant engineers for bragging rights to the first jet service across the Atlantic Ocean in 1958. At the center of this story are great minds and courageous souls, including Sir Geoffrey de Havilland, who spearheaded the development of the Comet, even as two of his sons lost their lives flying earlier models of his aircraft; Bill Allen, Boeing's deceptively mild-mannered president; and Alvin 'Tex' Johnston, Boeing's swashbuckling but supremely skilled test pilot. As the Comet and the Boeing 707 go head-to-head, flying twice as fast and high as the propeller planes that preceded them, the book captures the electrifying spirit of an era- the Jet Age. Yet it also tells the story of how one company with a radically new idea and inspiring leadership can change the world.
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About the Author

Sam Howe Verhovek has been a reporter for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times for more than twenty-five years. His assignments have taken him around the globe, to riots in India, the war in Iraq, and the longest school bus ride in America. He lives in Seattle.


"Breezy and fact-filled history...Mr. Verhovek spins a fine yarn that includes big money, war, sex and power." -- The Wall Street Journal "Jet Age is a page-turning detective story with characters as finely drawn as those in a work of fiction, and infused with an infectious sense of wonder that drove ordinary men and women to reach for extraordinary heights." -- The New York Times

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