Recorded by Digital Virgin Studios on location at Necker Island.
"As far back as stories go, pioneers have reached for the skies. In the last two hundred years, they have mastered the air and made the modern world possible. Today they are bringing outer space within our reach. They're inventors and toymakers, amateurs and adventurers, visionaries, dreamers, and yes, crackpots. Some have called them irresponsible, even dangerous.
"But I have met many of them. I have worked with them, and funded them, and flown with them. I admire them, and trust them, and I think they and their kind are our future. In this book I look at the history of flight through the stories and people who have inspired me.
"These are tales of miraculous rescues; of records made and broken; of surprising feats of endurance and survival, including some of my own adventures, as well as developments in the future of air (and space) travel. This is a story of pioneers, and of course it includes the world famous Montgolfiers and the Wright brothers.
"But I also want to describe some of the lesser-known trailblazers - people like Tony Jannus, who in 1914 created the world's first scheduled commercial flight, flying his passengers over the waters of Tampa Bay at an altitude of just 50 feet; the 'bird man' Leo Valentin, who in the 1950s jumped from 9,000 feet with wooden wings attached to his shoulders; and my friend, Steve Fossett, who dedicated his life to breaking records and having adventures. This is their story. It is also, in a small way, my own." --Richard Branson
©2010 Richard Branson (P)2010 Random House Audiobooks
This is an enlightened account into what the troubles and lives have gone into improving the technology to fulfil our dreams of flight and going into space. Richard tells us the names of the known and lesser known people, that thought up plans and ideas or was given the job of flying these planes ,experimental balloons or dropping from space, in order to go beyond the limits of the knowledge and technology at the time. To go beyond, touching the edge of space and highlight a possible prediction of heading towards the moon for a business trip in about 2020. To highlight just what went into our ability to go half way around the world for a two week holiday. This also is peppered with the personal adrenaline spiking moments that Branson has experienced flying the various aeronautical machines in his lifetime.
If you want to have a taste of who these pioneers were that sail close to the wind. Then this is the book for you.
Richard, I wish you luck in your trials in getting your Deep Submarine and Space Ventures to success and eventually finding time to get your Pilots Licence.
"Once a Knight is not always enough"
I bought Reach for the Skies, partly because I needed a 'quick fix' to get me through to my next credit and also because I admire the man. He is a man of my time and we share a timeframe thus there are many connections through ideas developed during the shared years. This is always a good start and him narrating was a bonus.
There is little doubt Sir Richard knows his stuff and he takes us through the great experiments of flight with passion and connectivity. Of course you couldn't be Branson unless there was an opportunity to promote his brand and it is well evident but the connections to his tales work in a way that did not make me feel as if I had paid for a Virgin commercial. Tight, short and tinged with pathos, we discover insights about pioneers that are a worthy listen.
Sir Richard of Virgin, I salute you for your tale telling and unabashed but sensitive promotion.
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