Return to the Early Days of Aviation in This Excerpt From John Lancaster’s “The Great Air Race”
In 1919, the nation’s best aviators embarked on a daring competition
Consider the speed at which airplanes advanced in the early years of the 20th century. The Wright brothers first took flight in 1903, and by the First World War planes had become an essential part of the conflict. Once the war had ended, a different aspect of this technology came to the foreground: the ability of planes to travel long distances — and, in the process, captivate audiences on the ground. not for In his new book The Great Air Race: Glory, Tragedy, and the Dawn of American Aviation, journalist John Lancaster chronicles a race across the continent that took place in 1919. And if you think that some of the planes that existed at the time weren’t necessarily up for the task — well, you’re not wrong. Lancaster’s book chronicles the bravado, triumphs and tragedies of the aviators who took part in the competition, and we’re pleased to present an excerpt from it.