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Download The War in the Air epub

by Herbert George Wells

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
Download The War in the Air epub
ISBN: 0554382768
ISBN13: 978-0554382760
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Herbert George Wells
Language: English
Publisher: BiblioLife (August 18, 2008)
Pages: 304 pages
ePUB size: 1381 kb
FB2 size: 1897 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 135
Other Formats: mobi mbr rtf doc

This is a difficult book to stay with because it basically rambles all over the place with little characterization as it tries to cover every aspect of the events leading up to a world war. It goes through several comical episodes, describing new modes of transportation and mishaps in a picturesque part of England told in an almost pre-Steampunk style. It begins to settle on one character, and follows him in a tentative romance, until, by accident, he finds himself soaring aloft in hot-air balloon. It's a solo flight, and he knows nothing about how the balloon works. When he finally crash-lands he's in Germany, where they are preparing for war. In fact, they intend to invade America with a fleet of Zeppelins and bomb New York.

Here the book takes a turn from comedy to the deathly serious, as Wells writes of the horrific effects of war, its devastation, and gruesome killings. The story tries to follow the character we met in the earliest section, and details quite a few of his exploits and brushes with death as he tries to quit the war and return to his home in England, but it also abandons the character at times and ranges far wider to let us know the great events happening beyond the character's own limited world. Then the book transitions again, away from the present and into the near future, to fill us in on the end, or at least a tapering off, of the war and its aftermath.

This book was written before World War I, but world powers were already at odds with each other, and Wells, I believe had two purposes for writing the story as he did. He wanted to show that war had changed while we weren't looking, and that the next war would be an air war. He got the details of the aircraft wrong, and Zeppelins weren't really practical as assault craft, but he did accurately describe the horrific effects of aerial bombing on the cities below. The devastation was more akin to World War II than the first world war, but he was correct that war was changing, and that it was becoming far more devastating than anyone (except himself) could imagine.

I think his second, and primary reason, for writing the story as he did was to warn of the horror that would come with the next war, and in so doing, to discourage the rush to war. In that, he was not successful, but perhaps the persons who most needed to read it did not do so, or passed it off as mere fantasy.

Although the story fails on several levels to engage the reader, it is a prescient journey into the future as seen from the vantage point of the turn of the 20th century, and I think it might have a new and special pleasure for readers of Steampunk fiction. Because its good points far outweigh its bad, and because it has historical value and much to teach us, I rate it at 4 out of 5 stars. I wouldn't read it again but, as with most of Wells's writing, I'm glad I had the experience of reading it at least once.
The value of this work is in the details. Wells looks at the results of unrestricted warfare and how it might collapse a complete society in short order.

He looks at an urbanized population and examines the fallout - starvation, lack of housing and so on. He rightly notes most urbanites don't really know how to cook, cannot weave - in short, lack the skills and knowledge that their grandparents certainly had and used. This rings even more loudly today.

While parts of the story drag a bit owing to his excessive detail - and the technology is mostly 'wrong' (ornothopters never made any inroads) the *results* of conflict are frighting in their accuracy. Also, he correctly shows that while a government might be toppled by air power, a people cannot be controlled by 'air power' alone. If only Billy Mitchell had read and taken this book to hart.....
The story is a classic from H.G. Wells, one that predicts the first world war, and illustrates the motivations for war, the effects it has on the individual, as well as the technologies used, and all with startling accuracy. It is very well written; at times funny and somber and thrilling.

The bad review is for the physical book and whoever printed it. I did not pay attention to the dimensions before buying. It is ENORMOUS. Individual lines have from 17-22 words and there are 47 printed lines per page. Why? It is very cumbersome. The cover picture is also pixelated, which makes it seem as though it had been formatted for a smaller book and blown up. I also suspect, given the amount of grammatical errors and misplaced punctuation, along with the complete lack of publisher or copyright information printed anywhere in the book, that this was stolen and altered by whoever printed it just enough to avoid legal culpability. Buy the real copy.
I should start by saying that I wouldn't have read this if not for my Kindle Fire, which I find convenient to carry, and not to have to worry about storing books I only plan to read once.

We follow the exploits of Bert Smallways, a British commoner, who through happenstance, has a birds eye view of the war to end all wars. Wells leads us through a story of how air power dominate the next war as he sees it. I find it interesting how he predicts not only German aggression but also that Japan and China resentful of European colonialism would rise up, and how airships, submarines and airplane might be used in a global conflict.

Other reviewers have articulated much of what I could have said. The Kindle edition has the benefit of the features of the device. The Kindle comes with a dictionary, and a interface to highlight words to definitions, which was very helpful with some of the period words and slang with which I was unfamiliar, all without leaving the page you are reading.
HG Wells paints a retro-real picture of a world gone mad in the early 1900s. This is a moral tale of science getting ahead of people. This story could be updated continually--Artificial Intelligence appears to be the next horizon of unexpected outcomes. While fiction, this story clearly shows the difference between power struggles and human existence.
This is a book written over a hundred years ago that predicts many things correctly. First, the importance of control of the air in any future wars right up until today. Second, the rise of German and Japanese aggressiveness decades before World War II. The depiction of the German leader as a blond haired blue eyed Aryan type. The rise to world dominance of the Asian powers. Finally in the end his depiction of the world after an apocalypse type event as reverting to its primitive roots and more people being killed by the collapse of civilization than by the war itself. Not too different in its way from books like "On the Beach", "Alas Babylon", and "One Second After".