Sky Rivals book cover

Sky Rivals

During the Golden Age of Aviation of the 1920s and 1930s, two great pilots stood above the rest: one-eyed Oklahoma farm boy Wiley Post, shy and awkward on the ground but a daredevil in the sky; and Jimmie Mattern, a handsome, charismatic Hollywood stunt pilot from Texas. The whole world followed their exploits through screaming newspaper headlines as they flew in planes made of little more than wood, canvas, and bailing wire, competing to be the first solo flier to circumnavigate the earth.

One would succeed; the other would become more famous than he could have ever imagined. And both would change the face of aviation forever.

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Adam L. Penenberg

Adam-PenenbergAdam L. Penenberg is a journalism professor at New York University who has written for Fast Company, Forbes, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wired, Slate, Playboy, and the Economist. A former senior editor at Forbes and a reporter for Forbes.com, Penenberg garnered national attention in 1998 for unmasking serial fabricator Stephen Glass of the New Republic. Penenberg’s story was a watershed for online investigative journalism and portrayed in the film Shattered Glass (Steve Zahn plays Penenberg).

Penenberg has published several books that have been optioned for film and serialized in the New York Times Magazine, Wired UK, and the Financial Times, and won a Deadline Club Award for feature reporting for his Fast Company story “Revenge of the Nerds,” which looked at the future of movie-making. He has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show as well as on CNN and all the major news networks, and has been quoted about media and technology in the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Wired News, Ad Age, Marketwatch, and Politico.

Reviews

Get ready to loop the loop and fly sky high in this enthralling story of the race to be the first pilot to circumnavigate the world. Events are related in an easy to get lost in manner, making this a real page turner, packed with information about the people and events. The two main stars of this historic race are Wiley Post and Jimmy Mattern, both of whom are very colourful characters in their own rights and they are brought back to life in the pages of this book.

This is not a dry, fact filled book, it is one which shares the background information in an engaging manner, keeping the reader wanting to learn more about what happens next. The author’s interest and intrigue is apparent throughout the book and his writing style encourages readers to share his love for the characters and events involved in these historic events. I don’t often read non-fiction novels like this but this is certainly one I have no hesitation in highly recommending. — Splashes into Books review blog

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A wonderful account of the epic race around the world between Wiley Post and Jimmie Mattern in 1933, the peak of the Golden Age of Flying. Penenberg describes in vivid detail the struggle of two aviation pioneers trying to overcome bad weather, poor equipment and difficult circumstances as they attempt to become the first to fly solo around the globe. Riveting and suspenseful, this book takes readers into the cockpit of these primitive airplanes as two reckless thrill-seekers push themselves physically and emotionally to the limits of endurance in their attempt to become a part of history. Now mostly forgotten, this incredible race was followed by the media for weeks while millions of people worldwide held their collective breaths in anticipation of record-setting accomplishment. Great read! — David D. Kindy, Amazon reviewer

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This book will take your breath away! There are so many thrills that reading this story is like riding a roller-coaster. Having been born into a flying family, I have always admired the pioneers of aviation and the risks they would take just to see if it could be done. The two rival pilots in this story, Wiley Post and Jimmie Mattern, were the best of their day. During this Golden Age of Aviation, pilots were competitive but also willing to help each other out. Jimmie and Wiley were determined to beat each other at circumnavigating the world, but only one can be the winner. This is their story.

Adam Penenberg has done a fabulous job of telling this story. You will be right there in the cockpit with these guys, and it’s a thrill. These two were flying around the world before there were instruments to tell you where you were. They get lost and found and lost again, and they have the whole world waiting to see if they will be heard from again. Sometimes they go days without contact, living on chewing gum and tomato juice. And Wiley is doing it with just one eye. I think everybody should read this book but it will be especially appealing to aviation history buffs or lovers of thrilling stories. — A Line from a Book review blog

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