The history of the air age has mostly been written from the perspective of aircraft designers, builders, and pilots. ""Imagining Flight"" is a history of the air age as the rest of us have experienced it: on the pages of books, the screens of movie theatres and the front pages of newspapers. It is a book about the ways in which people outside the aviation business have looked at, dreamed about, and worried over powered flight in the century since the Wright brothers first showed a startled world that it was possible. ""Imagining Flight"" considers a great many themes from history in light of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the Columbia disaster. It thus aims to be the first book to explore the entire first century of flight through the eyes of those who watched it from the ground.
A. Bowdoin Van Riper is a historian of science and technology who teaches at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia. He is also the author of Men Among the Mammoths (1993), Science in Popular Culture (2002), as well as numerous articles on the histories of geology, archaeology, and aerospace technology. He took his first airplane ride at the age of five, and has been looking up ever since.