The Right to Fly - Preview:
A book passionately defending balloon flight for human beings, celebrating the 175th anniversary of The London Library. The first balloon flight with passengers (a sheep, a duck, and a rooster) took place on 19th September 1783. On 4th October 1863, Nadar's giant balloon "Le Géant" had its first ascent; the second (and nearly fatal) was two weeks later. A curiosity both for its content on theories of flight and its author, an important pioneer of French photography and skilled self-publicist, The Right to Fly indicates the interest taken by many at the time in the possibilities of human flight - and the Victorian passion for discoveries and invention. The books in "Found on the Shelves" have been chosen to give a fascinating insight into the treasures that can be found while browsing in The London Library. Now celebrating its 175th anniversary, with over seventeen miles of shelving and more than a million books, The London Library has become an unrivalled archive of the modes, manners and thoughts of each generation which has helped to form it. From essays on dieting in the 1860s to instructions for gentlewomen on trout-fishing, from advice on the ill health caused by the "modern" craze of bicycling to travelogues from Norway, they are as readable and relevant today as they were more than a century ago..