Corn, 1983, The Winged Gospel

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Joseph J. Corn. The Winged Gospel: America's Romance with Aviation, 1900–1950. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. ISBN 0-19-503356-6.

Manifestations of airplane enthusiasm in America. Organized more thematically than chronologically. Chapters cover aero "evangelists" special appeals to women, and to to children, etc.

From preface:

So central was the airplane in the American imagination, in fact, that many people expected they would soon take to the sky, flying their own family plane or helicopter. But more than anything, the airplane symbolized the promise of the future. Americans in this period viewed mechanical flight as portending a wondrous era of peace and harmony, of culture and prosperity. This was he promise of the "winged gospel."
[...] Indeed, to the detriment of our understanding of the relationship of technology to society, scholars have largely ignored the emotional aspects of our historical response to machines like the airplane. Yet as Eugene S. Ferguson, one of the founders of the history of technology, warned in 1974, "if we fail to note the importance of [the] enthusiasm that is evoked by technology, we will have missed a central motivating influence in technological development."[1]


  1. Eugene S. Ferguson, "Toward a Discipline of the History of Technology," Technology and Culture, 15 (Jan. 1974), 21.
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