Balloons to Jets: A Century of Aeronautics in Illinois, 1855-1955

SIU Press
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Balloons to Jets: A Century of Aviation in Illinois, 1855–1955, written by historian Howard L. Scamehorn, was originally published in 1957 by the Illinois State Historical Society and distributed only to the society’s membership and to select libraries in the state. Scamehorn offers a wealth of information not only on one hundred years of aviation in Illinois but also on events leading up to the Wright Brothers’ initial flight in 1903.


Scamehorn’s history of aviation in Illinois covers such topics as amateur pilots, aviation contests and meets, the development of airmail, military aeronautics, commercial air transport, the expansion of airports, flyers and flying achievements, and state and federal regulation of aeronautics. But Balloons to Jetsis not just a history of aviation in one state. Scamehorn also traces national and international aviation progress from the free balloon to the dirigible. He then describes aeronautical activities and experiments by such people as Octave Chanute, Glenn Curtiss, Thomas Scott Baldwin, Otto Lilienthal, Samuel Pierpont Langley, and others that lent support to the Wrights’ flight at Kitty Hawk. Of interest to both armchair aviation enthusiasts and professionals, Scamehorn’s study illustrates the evolution of commercial aviation from its origins with the military and the itinerant flyer to Charles Lindbergh’s successful transatlantic trip in 1927 and the subsequent explosion in public interest in flight.


Balloons to Jetsis lavishly illustrated with eighty-six black-and-white historic photographs of early aviators and a range of flying craft, including hot-air balloons, dirigibles, gliders, biplanes, monoplanes, bombers, and early luxury transports. This reprint features a new foreword by Gene Abney, the former director of the Illinois Department of Aeronautics.

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About the author

Howard L. Scamehorn is a professor emeritus in history at the University of Colorado. He is the author of seven books, including The Buckeye Rovers in the Gold Rush: An Edition of Two Diaries and Albert Eugene Reynolds: Colorado's Mining King.

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Additional Information

SIU Press
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Published on
Sep 30, 2000
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Transportation / Aviation / History
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This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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For readers of Unbroken comes an unforgettable tale of courage from America’s “forgotten war” in Korea, by the New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call.

Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.

While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.

Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC “Red” Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.

Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.

A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?

Praise for Devotion

“Riveting . . . a meticulously researched and moving account.”—USA Today

“An inspiring tale . . . portrayed by Makos in sharp, fact-filled prose and with strong reporting.”—Los Angeles Times

“[A] must-read.”—New York Post


“A masterful storyteller . . . [Makos brings] Devotion to life with amazing vividness. . . . [It] reads like a dream. The perfectly paced story cruises along in the fast lane—when you’re finished, you’ll want to start all over again.”—Associated Press

“A delight to read . . . Devotion is a story you will not forget.”—The Washington Times

“My great respect for Tom Hudner knows no bounds. He is a true hero; and in reading this book, you will understand why I feel that way.”—President George H. W. Bush

“This is aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake

“Though it concerns a famously cold battle in the Korean War, make no mistake: Devotion will warm your heart.”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice

“At last, the Korean War has its epic, a story that will stay with you long after you close this book.”—Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless and Legend

From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the 2011 Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature, The Twilight Warriors is the engrossing, page-turning saga of a tightly knit band of naval aviators who are thrust into the final—and most brutal—battle of the Pacific war during World War II: Okinawa.

April 1945. The end of World War II finally appears to be nearing. The Third Reich is collapsing in Europe, and the Americans are overpowering the once-mighty Japanese Empire in the Pacific. For a group of young pilots trained in the twilight of the war, their greatest worry is that it will end before they have a chance to face the enemy.

They call themselves Tail End Charlies: They fly at the tail end of formations, stand at the tail end of chow lines, and now they are catching the tail end of the war. What they don’t know is that they will be key players in the bloodiest and most difficult of naval battles—not only of World War II but in all of American history.

The Twilight Warriors relives the drama of the world’s last great naval campaign. From the cockpit of a Corsair fighter we gaze down at the Japanese task force racing to destroy the American amphibious force at Okinawa. Through the eyes of the men on the destroyers assigned to picket ship duty, we experience the terror as wave after wave of kamikazes crash into their ships. Standing on the deck of the legendary superbattleship Yamato, we watch Japan’s last hope for victory die in a tableau of gunfire and explosions.

The fate of the Americans at Okinawa, including a twenty-two-year-old former art student, an intrepid fighter pilot whose life abruptly changes when his Corsair goes down off the enemy shore, and a young Texan lieutenant who volunteers for the most dangerous flying job in the fleet—intercepting kamikazes at night over the blackened Pacific—is intertwined with the lives of the “young gods”: the honor-bound kamikaes forces who swarm like killer bees toward the U.S. ships.

The ferocity of the Okinawa fighting stuns the world. Before it ends, the long battle will cost more American lives, ships, and aircraft than any naval engagement in U.S. history. More than simply the account of a historic battle, The Twilight Warriors brings to life the human side of an epic conflict. It is the story of young Americans at war in the air and on the sea—and of their enigmatic, fanatically courageous enemy.
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