10 books like Zeppelin Hindenburg

By Dan Grossman, Cheryl Ganz, Patrick Russell

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Zeppelin Hindenburg. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Zeppelin!

By Guillaume de Syon,

Book cover of Zeppelin!: Germany and the Airship, 1900-1939

This is an academic book, one that’s engaging, fluidly written, and immensely interesting for anyone intrigued by the longtime German fascination with airships. Rather than the technical details, Syon’s broader focus is on what the wondrous technology meant to Germans and how it shaped their culture and history over the decades. His approach, in other words, puts Zeppelins into context. Put it this way, in 1938 a large-scale survey discovered that Count von Zeppelin, the inventor of the airship and dead for twenty years, ranked among the best recognized of German luminaries. His score was higher than even that of the immortal Beethoven at a time when the Luftwaffe-obsessed Nazis were trying to scrub any memory of their airships. Such a finding is impossible to explain unless you understand the cultural importance of the Zeppelin, making this book critically important. 

Zeppelin!

By Guillaume de Syon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zeppelin! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Whenever the airship flew over a village, or whenever she flew over a lonely field on which some peasants were working, a tremendous shout of joy rose up in the air towards Count Zeppelin's miracle ship which, in the imagination of all who saw her, suggested some supernatural creature." As this paean to the Zeppelin from an early-20th-century issue of the German newspaper Thuringer Zeitung makes clear, the airship inspired a unique sense of awe. These phenomenal rigid, lighter-than-air craft-the invention of Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin (1838-1917)-approached the size of a small village. Although they moved slowly, there was no…


Airshipmen, Businessmen, and Politics, 1890-1940

By Henry Cord Meyer,

Book cover of Airshipmen, Businessmen, and Politics, 1890-1940

This is a collection of ten essays about airship history, mostly concentrating on the business, political, and diplomatic angles. Zeppelins didn’t simply “exist” as objective bits of hardware, but were inextricably enmeshed in the controversies of their era, as Meyer ably and amply demonstrates. If you’re interested in the story-behind-the-story of Zeppelins, this is the book for you, though I’d perhaps wait to dive in until you’ve gotten your feet wet with some basic background reading. Particularly fascinating are Meyer’s investigations into the Zeppeliners’ visits to Detroit to see Henry Ford in the early 1920s, his comparative assessment of French and British airship engineering, and the sad fate of the very last German airship—no, the Hindenburg was not it—before they vanished forever in the age of the airplane.

Airshipmen, Businessmen, and Politics, 1890-1940

By Henry Cord Meyer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Airshipmen, Businessmen, and Politics, 1890-1940 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dust jacket notes: "Rigid airships, the first aircraft capable of crossing the oceans with significant numbers of passengers and cargo, captured the public's imagination and the attention of many who saw in the dirigible a chance to expand their own ambitions, whether personal, political, military, or commercial. Drawing on governmental, company, and private archives from Germany, England, and the United States, Henry Cord Meyer shows how politicians and airship company executives with ulterior motives exploited public enthusiasm as well of feelings of nationalism. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin used his invention to enhance German military power and assure his nation's preeminence…


The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships

By Harold Dick, Douglas Robinson,

Book cover of The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships: Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg

Harold Dick, a young American engineer, was seconded to the Zeppelin Company between 1934 and 1938, putting him in the unique position of being the only outsider ever allowed within its secretive hangars for a prolonged time. While he was there, he collected data, photos, and reports, compiled a diary, and was on excellent terms with the greatest airshipman of all time, Hugo Eckener, who had been Count von Zeppelin’s protégé and had run the company since before the First World War. All of that, plus the fact that he made no fewer than 22 transatlantic voyages on the Graf Zeppelin and Hindenburg, makes Dick’s 1985 memoir an extraordinary one.

The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships

By Harold Dick, Douglas Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Golden Age of the Great Passenger Airships as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drawing on the extensive photographs, notes, diaries, reports, recorded data, and manuals he collected during his five years at the Zeppelin Company in Germany, from 1934 through 1938, Harold G. Dick tells the story of the two great passenger Zeppelins. Against the background of German secretiveness, especially during the Nazi period, Dick's accumulation of material and pictures is extraordinary. His original photographs and detailed observations on the handling and flying of the two big rigids constitute the essential data on this phase of aviation history.


Giants in the Sky

By Douglas Robinson,

Book cover of Giants in the Sky: A History of the Rigid Airship

Robinson was among the finest of airship historians and his work is based on a firm research footing and deep personal knowledge (he also helped edit Harold Dick’s book and traveled round Germany in the 30s). This volume includes chapters on American and British airships, but the real meat is the material on their German counterparts. Sometimes, I’ll be honest, Robinson’s fondness for detail can be a little overwhelming, but there’s no doubt that he knows his stuff, especially on wartime Zeppelins and the bombing campaign. Warning: Giants in the Sky is long out-of-print, unfortunately, but copies are available (for a price).

Giants in the Sky

By Douglas Robinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Giants in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Second Library copy- San Diego Air and Space Museum


The Guns Above

By Robyn Bennis,

Book cover of The Guns Above: A Signal Airship Novel

This novel begins in the fiery aftermath of a gruesome airship battle—and it only gets better from there. Our heroine, Josette, is a scrappy, hardworking airship captain who must contend with the undermining efforts of the fleet’s dubious general and his spies, all while fighting *actual* battles against an enemy that wants to blow her crew out of the sky. What really captured my attention about this book was the incredible descriptive voice displayed by the author: from the gory battle scenes to the complex inner workings of an airship, this is a truly immersive adventure. Josette is a smart, relatable heroine who pulls no punches and doesn’t let herself get sucked into the political minutiae, which keeps the story moving at a good clip. 

The Guns Above

By Robyn Bennis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Guns Above as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They say it's not the fall that kills you.

For Josette Dupre, the Corps first female airship captain, it might just be a bullet in the back.

On top of patrolling the front lines, she must also contend with a crew who doubts her expertise, a new airship that is an untested deathtrap, and the foppish aristocrat Lord Bernat, a gambler and shameless flirt with the military know-how of a thimble. He's also been assigned to her ship to catalog her every moment of weakness and indecision.

When the enemy makes an unprecedented move that could turn the tide of…


Hell Divers

By Nicholas Sansbury Smith,

Book cover of Hell Divers

Nick should be considered royalty when it comes to the post-apocalypse. He has numerous series with vastly different settings, but all of them are a masterclass in characterisation and story craft. His books draw me in with slick action and characters I care about from the get-go. He tackles the real issues without rubbing it in the reader’s face, and his work makes you question what you would do if the world went sideways.

Hell Divers

By Nicholas Sansbury Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hell Divers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and USA Today bestselling series

They dive so humanity survives …

More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers -- men and women who risk their lives by skydiving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.

When one of the remaining…


Pimp My Airship

By Maurice Broaddus,

Book cover of Pimp My Airship: A Naptown by Airship Novel

I don’t often read “steampunk” because it usually reflects the Victorian era of England or a ‘what if’ scenario involving the Confederacy and I’m just sick to death of the subjects. Along came “steamfunk,” an addition to the genre where the focus wouldn’t be on exclusively white characters, but Black sourced from the African continent. Then once upon a time, Broaddus cracked a joke on Twitter: “I’m going to write a steampunk story with an all-Black cast and call it ‘Pimp My Airship.’ To his chagrin (and eventual delight) several editors asked to see the story. The worldbuilding in this story is phenomenal. It take place in Indiana, part of an alternate history where England has established a “United States of Albion” and Native Americans have managed to retain a sizeable chunk of territory. There’s so much more to the book in relation to history and cultural norms. I thoroughly…

Pimp My Airship

By Maurice Broaddus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pimp My Airship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Warning: Don’t Believe the Hype!

All the poet called Sleepy wants to do is spit his verses, smoke chiba, and stay off the COP’s radar—all of which becomes impossible once he encounters a professional protestor known as (120 Degrees of) Knowledge Allah. They soon find themselves on the wrong side of local authorities and have to elude the powers that be.

When young heiress Sophine Jefferson’s father is murdered, the careful life she’d been constructing for herself tumbles around her. She’s quickly drawn into a web of intrigue, politics and airships, joining with Sleepy and Knowledge Allah in a fight…


The Black God's Drums

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Book cover of The Black God's Drums

This one’s a little different – pirates sail the clouds instead of the ocean. In a world where Haiti won its freedom at a devastating cost, a young Black woman wants to earn a place on an airship, but can’t seem to find any way to prove her worth to the sky pirates she longs to join. Until she learns about a weapon called the Black God’s Drums, that someone plans to use to wipe New Orleans off the map. Add in the whispers of an orisha with its own agenda and a possible romantic attraction to the peg-legged Captain Ann-Marie, and you’ve got everything a pirate might want.

The Black God's Drums

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Black God's Drums as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air - in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie's trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God's Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight…


The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed

By John McPhee,

Book cover of The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed

When most people think of dirigibles, they’re reminded of either the Goodyear Blimp or (if they’re old enough) the crash of the Hindenburg. However, there’s a small band of fanatics who are dedicated to the quest for lighter-than-air flying. For these folks, the subject is more compelling than the Holy Grail, and they devote decades of their lives and the bulk of their resources to prove to the public that dirigibles should come back and replace jet aviation. A true story, and a fascinating read.

The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the fascinating story of the dream of a completely new aircraft, a hybrid of the plane and the rigid airship - huge, wingless, moving slowly through the lower sky. John McPhee chronicles the perhaps unfathomable perseverance of the aircraft's sucessive progenitors.


Airborn

By Kenneth Oppel,

Book cover of Airborn

Matt serves as a cabin boy on an airship when he encounters a man who claims there are creatures that fly and never touch the ground…

This book is pure fun and adventure. Looking for amazing creatures? Real stakes and human conflict? A likable main character? You’ve got it all here. I particularly loved the work the author put into creating an entire ecosystem of creatures that live so far up in the sky that we never see them on the ground! 

Airborn

By Kenneth Oppel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Airborn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Matt Cruse is cabin boy aboard the Aurora, an airship which truly is lighter than air. Since the discovery of hydrium, a gas that renders even the heaviest vehicle as light as a feather, airships travel all over the world in the same way as planes do today. Matt himself was born on an airship and it is there that he feels most at home. Matt has high hopes for promotion to junior sailmaker on this voyage - until Kate de Vries, one of the wealthy passengers, arrives on the scene. She's feisty and brave, and won't let social distinctions…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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