The story of the Airship Era of balloons, blimps, zeppelins, dirigibles and so on, with a brief look back at pioneer hot-air balloons of the last two centuries. With 100 half-tones, this is fuller and more anecdotal but less smartly beautiful than Lennart Ege's recent Balloons and Airships, which is in ravishing color and also half the price of this production. That said, The Airship sails handsomely over what is becoming familiar terrain: the first successful man-carrying powered aircraft (Henri Giffard's Aerial Steamer of 1852) through the rigid airships of the turn of the century, the dynamic leadership of German developers before and during World War I, the postwar years, and the sad decline of these behemoths following the Hindenburg disaster in 1937. But new plans are a-borning and new designs for intercontinental freighters, short-journey passenger airships, and military transports. The new sport (and art) of flying the thermals in private hot-air balloons should also spark renewed interest in airships. Something about their stately silence and smooth ride tempts the imagination -- perhaps life isn't complete without one trip in a helium-born dinosaur.