Why did I love this book?
I was already a fan of Holmes’ The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, and there was some overlap in this book, in the best sense—since what could be more wondrous or terrifying than humans taking flight for the first time. Falling Upwards became the definitive history for me while I researched my book for younger readers. It captures the human experience of flight in a lively, character-rich narrative with philosophical heft, straddling—as did early ballooning—science and spectacle. It’s an elegant, rollicking story built over a scaffold of sound scholarship. I couldn’t put it down.