BOOK REVIEW

WINGS OF MADNESS - PAUL HOFFMAN

This is the true story about Alberto Santos-Dumont who from a very young age was obsessed with the idea of flight.

Things were not easy for Alberto and his family at first because there was so much to be done.  His father's plantation was very large.  Alberto's father became known as the "coffee king" and as a result of this new venture became very wealthy.

There were eight children in the family but Alberto was the one who took the most interest in the coffee business.  He would spend entire days watching the machines and teaching himself how to fix them. Alberto would stay up at night reading some of his father's engineering manuals.  Most of all, he loved science fiction - his favorite was Jules Vernes' books about flying machines.

Alberto's wealth allowed him to live a good life in Paris.  There he worked on ballooning and building engine-powered vehicles, which he used to circle the Eiffel Tower.  Alberto wanted to be the first to build and fly an airplane.  However, Wilbur and Orville Wright beat him to it. 

When the war started and it was evident that a plane could be used for mass destruction, Alberto tried to campaign for demilitarization of aircraft.  As time went on he developed a mental illness and held himself personally responsible for deaths created by the flying machines. 

This is a very captivating story.  Most people in the United States probably never heard of Alberto Santos-Dumont.  This book brings to light the honor Alberto really deserves for his part in history.  Paul Hoffman has done an excellent job of researching the facts to put this book together.  Buy this book - it is extremely well written!


NANCY EATON

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR, NANCY EATON

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