Most will agree that the advances made in aviation in little more than a century are remarkable. What was once a dramatic, and often perilous, adventure has become ubiquitous and a barely acknowledged part of modern life. But in 1912, when The Boys' Book of Aeroplanes was published, only nine years had elapsed since the Wright brothers made their first flight at Kittyhawk on 7 December 1903. Although many had attempted to fly, devising plans for all manner of craft, and much success with balloons, gliders and airships had been achieved, it was in this first decade of the twentieth century that the real practical issues were confronted and overcome, and this enabled controlled, sustained, powered, heavier-than-air flight to begin.In this Vintage Words of Wisdom title, one of the earliest aeroplane books written for enthusiastic boys (but, we suspect, also having a strong appeal for the more mature reader), the authors chart the history of flight in considerable detail. From Oliver of Malmesbury in 1065 to Clement Ader, via Leonardo da Vinci, the famous and some now forgotten pioneers are given their place in the development of flight. The authors also provide a description of the sensation of flying based on their own experience and they attempt to place the reader in the pilot's seat. This is wonderfully evocative, given the risks then prevalent in these earliest of flying machines, and highlights the intrepid and pioneering characteristics required of the aviators. The science of flight is not disregarded and there is a wealth of detail on the fundamentals of how and why aircraft fly and also on the engineering and mechanics necessary to build a successful aircraft. The text is supported by numerous drawings and a wealth of period photographs that evoke the enthusiasm and demonstrate the courage of these flying trailblazers.We think The Boys' Book of Aeroplanes will appeal not just to the aviation enthusiast but also to anyone interested in the impact that aviation has had upon the world in the last hundred years. The principles outlined remain relevant today and the historical account provides a context for the development of aviation through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The book is an authoritative tour de horizon for all things aeronautical at the dawn of powered flight.