Reconsidering a Century of Flight

Edited by Roger D. Launius, Janet R. Daly Bednarek

Reconsidering a Century of Flight

320 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 38 ill., 1 table, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5488-4
    Published: October 2003

Buy this Book

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright soared into history during a twelve-second flight on a secluded North Carolina beach. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first flight, these essays chart the central role that aviation played in twentieth-century history and capture the spirit of innovation and adventure that has characterized the history of flight.

The contributors, all leading aerospace historians, consider four broad themes relating to the development of flight technology: innovation and the technology of flight, civil aeronautics and government policy, aerial warfare, and aviation in the American imagination. Through their attention to the political, economic, military, and cultural history of flight, the authors establish that the Wrights' invention--and all that followed in both air and space--was one of the most significant technologies of the twentieth century, fundamentally reshaping our world.

Supported by the First Flight Centennial Commission

The contributors are Janet R. Daly Bednarek, Tami Davis Biddle, Roger E. Bilstein, Hans-Joachim Braun, David T. Courtwright, Anne Collins Goodyear, Roger D. Launius, William M. Leary, David D. Lee, W. David Lewis, John H. Morrow, Dominick A. Pisano, and A. Timothy Warnock.

About the Authors

Roger D. Launius is a curator at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. He has written or edited a number of books, including Imagining Space: Achievements, Projections, Possibilities, 1950-2050.
For more information about Roger D. Launius, visit the Author Page.

Janet R. Daly Bednarek is associate professor of history at the University of Dayton. She is the author of America's Airports: Airfield Development, 1918-1947.
For more information about Janet R. Daly Bednarek, visit the Author Page.


"Offers useful and stimulating insights into this most American of technologies."--British Journal History of Science

"Launius and Bednarek's work is a timely and provocative overview. The book's emphasis on the cultural, aesthetic, economic, and political dimensions of the airplane and flight deepens our understanding of aerospace history and technological change."--William F. Trimble, Auburn University