Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Book Review: Lincoln Beachey: The Man Who Owned the Sky (Frank Marrero)

Originally published by Aviation History magazine. Published Online: August 11, 2001 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

Lincoln Beachey: The Man Who Owned the Sky, by Frank Marrero, Scotwall Associates, San Francisco, 1997, $14.95.

Carl Sandburg wrote a poem about him. Curtis LeMay, Jimmy Doolittle and Charles A. Lindbergh watched him fly as boys. Orville Wright and Glenn Curtiss said he was the best they had ever seen. Lincoln Beachey basked in the adulation but remained cynical about it, saying, "They come to see me die."

Frank Marrero has done a first-rate job of telling the story of America's greatest first-decade exhibition flyer. Besides delving deeply into printed sources, he used creative research techniques, such as visiting reunions of San Francisco earthquake survivors, to find people who had seen Beachey fly. He found that they could help him capture the detail and flavor of Beachey's time and place.

Marrero admits that he had difficulty mixing four "voices" for the book–himself as historian, himself as storyteller, Beachey in his own words and histrionic contemporary newspaper accounts. Some of the transitions are awkward, but overall it works well. Marrero states that he verified each statement with at least two sources, but in fact he has taken the liberty of constructing a number of scenes, such as the breathtaking first chapter on Beachey's boyhood. Readers would have been better served if Marrero had identified such conjectural reconstructions.

Marrero clearly admires Beachey, who flew dirigibles, pushed past the limits of airplane design and performance, packed in gigantic crowds, and badgered the government about safety standards. But he makes no effort to hide the womanizing or other less admirable features of the man. Marrero's lively writing style makes Lincoln Beachey: The Man Who Owned the Sky useful to students as young as junior high. Early aviation aficionados may find it essential.

Kirk House

Subscribe Today

Subscribe to Aviation History magazine

Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy