Books: Up in the Air

THE FIRESIDE BOOK OF FLYING STORIES (464 pp.)—Edited by Paul Jensen—Simon & Schuster ($3.95).

One day in 1844, a desperately hard-up writer named Edgar Allan Poe submitted a sensational story to the New York Sun. A coal-gas balloon "employing the principle of the Archimedean screw," he said, had crossed the Atlantic Ocean in three days. The gullible Sun splashed this fantasy over its front page; two days later it ruefully apologized.

The Poe hoax—in retrospect, guilty only of being 75 years premature*—leads off this easygoing anthology of flying life and lore. Editor Jensen,...

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