The invention of the aeroplane was both the realization of an age-old human fantasy and a portent of a great new future. This book - a cultural history of the pioneering phase of aviation - tells the story of the ways in which powered flight captured the imagination of writers, artists, and intellectuals and helped to shape new visions of the world.;Prize-winning historian Robert Wohl describes the colourful early aeronauts: the brilliant, taciturn Wilbur Wright, who arrived in France to demonstrate his invention to a sceptical audience and soon became their idol; Alberto Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian expatriate and dandy who delighted the Parisian public by landing his dirigible in front of his house on the Champs-Elysees; and Louis Bleriot, the first man to fly across the English Channel. He then looks at responses to the development of the flying machine by such writers and artists as H.G. Wells, Emile Driant, Franz Kafka, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Edmond Rostand, F.T. Marinetti, Vasily Kamensky, Kazimir Malevich, and Robert Delaunay, showing how the responses ranged from celebration of flight to dire warnings of its military implications.;Finally he explores the creation of the flying ace, the knights-errant of the sky, analyzing how such men as Roland Garros, Oswald Boelcke, Manfred von Richthofen, and Georges Guynemer became famous, how they came to terms with their deadly pursuit, and how they were mythologised after their deaths. Generously illustrated with rare photographs, drawings, paintings, and posters, the book evokes an era of pride, power, and endless possibility, when the sky first became a new frontier.