xix, 599 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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"Of all people who might have solved the problem of human flight, few would have suspected Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, a fusty, old-school member of the Wurrtemburg nobility, recently ousted from the German military and convinced that a flying machine will be his ticket back to military glory. Instead, by the dawn of the twentieth century, he creates something much bigger: a system of flight that embodies the cutting edge of multiple sciences and a business that would last for decades and make his name synonomous with airships. Not even the Wright brothers, who were creating their competing technology at nearly the same moment, managed such close association. Zeppelin, aging, leaves his company in the hands of Hugo Eckener, his partner and publicity expert, who has a vision of the airship connecting people all over the world. He guides the Zeppelin Company, always on the brink of collapse, through the first world war and some some of Germany's most difficult years, as he tries to establish the first airline route across the Atlantic. But, just as Zeppelin had a rival for the best flight technology in the Wright Bros., Eckener meets his match in Pan American's Juan Trippe in the race to secure a financially sustainable and popular airline business. Both Eckener and Trippe dream of establishing service between London and New York, a valuable, but surprisingly difficult route that sends them both first around the globe to perfect their machines and solidify their businesses. Only with the Hindenburg disaster in Lakehurst, New Jersey, and the distant rumblings of another world war, does the race come to an end. The airplane has won. Twilight of the Gods is an epic history of the founding of the aviation age. From invention to competition, the battle to dominate the skies is the story of how the modern world was made"-- Provided by publisher.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 499-578) and index.