Higher: 100 Years of Boeing - Book Review

by Guy Norris
Jul 20, 2015

Boeing, like Aviation Week & Space Technology, celebrates its centenary in 2016. To mark the milestone, Russ Banham, an author specializing in company histories, has written ‘Higher: 100 Years of Boeing’ – a lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched overview of the aerospace giant’s first century.

Containing several never-before-seen photos from the combined archives of Boeing and the famous legacy companies it acquired in the 1990s, the book masterfully captures the broad history and spirit of the company as it has evolved over the decades. Divided into 10 main chapters, the book traces the complicated, intertwined story from Bill Boeing’s early days as a Seattle timberman to Boeing’s present status as the world’s largest aerospace company.

Banham tackles the difficult task of chronicling the parallel development of Boeing, Douglas Aircraft, McDonnell Aircraft, elements of North American Aviation and Hughes Aircraft, by dividing the story into key themes and placing the story of each  within a larger context. The massive growth sparked by World War Two is covered in a broad-based chapter called ‘the Arsenal of Democracy’, while other key periods cover the Cold War to the Space Race, the 707 and the Jet Age, and To the Moon and Beyond.

The heydays of Boeing’s growth into the commercial giant of today are covered in a chapter devoted largely to the birth of the 747, while the final chapters reviewing the tumultuous civil, military and space developments of the past two decades bring us up-to-date with overviews of everything from the 777X to the scramjet-powered X-51 Waverider.

The 256-page deluxe version, which has an additional 64 pages of photos, is listed at $49.00 and is available through the Boeing Stores online www.boeingstore.com as well as its physical store locations. The book is also for sale through a limited number of authorized resellers, including the Museum of Flight in Seattle. A 192-page version, priced at $35, will be available from August 4th at bookstores as well as on www.amazon.com. International versions are in development.

► Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight content from the magazine's long and rich history, including viewpoints from the industry's most iconic names and stories that have helped change the shape of the industry.

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