ON EXTENDED WINGS by Diane Ackerman


An Adventure In Flight
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A paean to mechanized flying and a journal of one woman's learning experiences. It is clear from takeoff that poet Ackerman, has only one love greater than flying--the English language. She plain refuses to write a boring sentence. Oh, few of her paragraphs read like a flight through fog and some of her metaphors never leave the ground, but the reader almost always benefits from her willingness to take risks and from her laudable avoidance of clich‚. Written ostensibly to chronicle the education of a poet-pilot and to document one woman's initiation into the wonders of the sky, it is soon apparent that Ackerman's digressions, internal solos and private cross-countries are as valuable a part of the book as her rhapsodically rendered accounts of her actual air time. In fact, the exuberance of her style and voice may at first put the reader off, as Ackerman nearly overwhelms with enthusiasm and passion. Perhaps it is similar to the feeling a first-timer has when confronting the maze of instruments in an airplane's cockpit: there is something wonderful to be learned here if he or she can only get past the basics. Ackerman's writing style holds out the same promise, one that is honestly kept and demonstrally fulfilled. Uplifting, thoughtful, touching and true.
Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 1985
ISBN: 068418835X
Page count: 332pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1985

Kirkus Interview
Diane Ackerman
author of THE HUMAN AGE
September 8, 2014

Diane Ackerman is a poet who happens to write about science. Her latest book, The Human Age, is about the unprecedented fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. Humans have “subdued about 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness.” Ackerman acknowledges the chaos humans have caused to the environment and yet she is still “enormously hopeful,” as she writes in the book, about how positive our interaction with Earth can be. We ask Ackerman about a few little things in this Kirkus TV interview: nature, evolution, humanity. View video >


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