The balloon has a thrilling and distinguished history. It was instrumental in the development of meteorology and military reconnaissance, and it was from a balloon that Victorian social researchers most vividly experienced the scale of pollution and class division in their cities. Award-winning biographer Richard Holmes is well known for entering into the physical life of his subjects – so, naturally, when he decided to write a book on the history of ballooning, he took to the skies himself.
Falling Upwards is a true adventure story, about the pioneering aviators who risked their lives to see the world from above – beginning in the 1780s with the experiments of the Montgolfier family, he relives the flights of General Custer and Felix Nadar and explores the balloon’s place in the literary imagination.
Holmes last visited the bookshop to read from The Age of Wonder, his award-winning study of scientific progress in the 18th-century – we’re eagerly anticipating his next visit.