Colonel Cody and the Flying Cathedral: The Adventures of the Cowboy Who Conquered the Sky

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9780312276935: Colonel Cody and the Flying Cathedral: The Adventures of the Cowboy Who Conquered the Sky
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Colonel Cody and the Flying Cathedral is the fascinating and bizarre history of Samuel Franklin Cody, who in his early years worked the same cattle trails as Buffalo Bill and played the same Dodge City roulette tables as Wyatt Earp. But his later life took a startling turn. While performing in England, Cody became a passionate kite-builder and flyer, and at the apex of his career, fashioned a vast airplane dubbed “The Flying Cathedral,” and with it went on to become the first man to fly in England.

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About the Author:

Garry Jenkins is the author of five previous books, including The Beautiful Team, about Brazilian soccer. He lives with his family in London.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A rollicking, consistently surprising biography of an American cowboy who, in an unlikely turn of history, ended his life a hero of British aviation.Colonel Samuel Cody wasn't exactly a con man, but he possessed all the same skills--including a nicely developed sense of when to abandon strict factuality in the interest of telling a good story. For example, it certainly improved his stock as a showman (a career into which he drifted after working as a cowboy and prospector) that he happened to share the last name of his much more famous sometime employer, William Buffalo Bill Cody. Never mind, wryly observes Jenkins (Daniel Day-Lewis, 1995), that he was born Samuel Cowdery in Iowa in 1867 and shared no kinship whatever with the man he called Uncle Bill. Cody had a talent for self-promotion, to be sure, but he also had a genuine, informed passion for kite-flying (picked up as a pastime to while away the hours on the Great Plains) that soon became (once he figured out how to insert himself into one of his soaring contraptions) a sure way to draw a crowd. Cody took his kite-flying show to England, where he earned a large following and a handsome income. He was less successful as a businessman, but he managed to keep one step ahead of a small army of creditors as he labored to build a powered aircraft. Undeterred by Wilbur Wright's preemptive flight at Kitty Hawk, Cody soldiered on to build the craft he called a flying cathedral, and with it he became the first man in England to take to the air, encouraging other inventors to adapt his designs. When he died in a crash in 1913, Britain gave him a funeral with full military honors.Jenkins does a fine job of threading Cody's personal saga into the histories of the Wild West and world aviation, weaving a pleasingly reader-friendly narrative -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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