Boys' Books, Boys' Dreams, and the Mystique of Flight

Boys' Books, Boys' Dreams, and the Mystique of Flight

by Fred Erisman

Hardcover

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Overview

Boys’ aviation series books from 1910–1950 shaped at least two generations’ view of aircraft and American life. From the earliest days of aviation to those of spaceflight, they instilled a vision of flight both romantic and progressive. They described a future in which technology and humanity are complementary and offered flight as a way of bettering all mankind.

In this first comprehensive study of the more than forty boys’ aviation series, Erisman reveals the part played by the books and their writers in spurring the American nation’s fascination with flying. It is a noteworthy piece of social and literary history that sheds new light on how popular art can transform technological progress into cultural idealism and reform.

Some of the titles were written by journalists, others by military officers, and not a few by the pseudonymous ghosts of the Stratemeyer Syndicate (Tom Swift, Hardy Brothers, and Nancy Drew, among others), yet all shared the same goal. Populated with manly heroes in the Tom Swift and (later) Charles A. Lindbergh tradition and drawing upon the almost daily advances in aviation technology occurring in the first third of the twentieth century, the books communicated a steadfast vision of the liberating, exhilarating world that flying offered every boy. More than that, they conveyed as well a glimpse of the better world that would come as air-mindedness and aviation worked their uplifting influence on the larger community.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780875653303
Publisher: Texas Christian University Press
Publication date: 10/28/2006
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Fred Erisman holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and taught for thirty-five years at Texas Christian University. He held the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair of Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, during the 2002–2003 year. A specialist in American popular literature and culture, he has published numerous studies of science fiction, technological fiction, detective and suspense fiction, and the Western.

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