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Legend and Legacy : The Story of Boeing and Its People

Serling, Robert J.

34 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 031205890X / ISBN 13: 9780312058906
Published by St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1992
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Legends In History (Weimar, CA, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Legend and Legacy : The Story of Boeing and ...

Publisher: St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Printing

About this title


The name Boeing evokes vivid images, from the B-17 Flying Fortresses of World War II to the 707 and 747 jet transports that revolutionized air travel. Less well known: The Boeing Company built the first stage of the Saturn rocket that started men on the way to the moon, developed the Minuteman missile system, and is now designing America's space station. Boeing jets, in service around the globe, carry 675 million passengers annually--the equivalent of twelve percent of the world's population.
Behind the statistics and the awe-inspiring aircraft is a company of paradoxes, a vast organization nimble enough to take daring market risks that have kept it at the top of its industry. Robert J. Serling, forty-five years an award-winning aviation writer, takes the reader behind the scenes with humor, objectivity, and abundant anecdotes: Boeing once went seventeen months without seeing a single domestic jetliner and came close to bankruptcy. One of its legendary test pilots unexpectedly barrel-rolled a prototype jetliner, into which the company had sunk one-quarter of its net worth, because he thought the stunt would help sell the airplane. Legend and Legacy, Robert J. Serling's most ambitious work to date, reads like a novel, complete with memorable characters who, despite occasional stumbles, helped win the war and conquer the commercial skies: The salesman who almost traded a used 727 for $12 million worth of underwear. The vice president who worked in a darkened office illuminated by a single, low-wattage light bulb. The gifted, driven engineers who did the impossible, by yesterday.
Never in its seventy-five years has Boeing been so revealingly profiled. This book is must-reading for anyone fascinated by the history of aviation.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Aviation buffs probably will revel in this thoroughgoing chronicle of Boeing Co., but the relentlessly upbeat text provides nonenthusiasts with appreciably more detail than they're likely to want. Serling, a novelist (Something's Alive on the Titanic, 1990, etc.) and journalist (Eagle, 1985, etc.), offers a lively, anecdotal account of the plane-maker and how it grew from a small outfit in the Pacific Northwest backwoods into the world's leading supplier of commercial jetliners. The name Boeing evokes images of WW II's B-17 and B-29 bombers as well as of the 707 and 747 transports that revolutionized air travel. As Serling makes clear, though, the company (which turned 75 last July) is a force to be reckoned with in other markets. Among other achievements, it built the first stage of the Saturn rocket that started us on the way to the moon; developed the Minuteman missile system; and is designing America's space station. In less affluent times, the author recounts, Boeing produced such offbeat goods as boats, furniture, low-income housing, railroad cars--and milk (from a corporate herd of cows). For all its vaunted engineering and organizational skills, though, the company has been a consistent failure at diversification. But memories of the ill-starred ventures and of the colorful characters (including a salesman tempted to swap a used 727 for $12 million worth of new underwear) who helped create a multinational colossus afford welcome respites from the author's preternatural fascination with the technological minutiae of almost every Boeing plane or system ever built. Troubling as well are his short-shrift, exculpatory accounts of the company's recent brushes with scandal--in particular, payoffs made to foreign customers, and Pentagon overcharges. An exhaustive log that may strike some as merely exhausting. (Sixteen pages of photos.) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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