The history of global air transport from the first mail flights in the United States, the first government-sponsored routes in Europe, to the link that broke--dirigibles--and the long-last North Atlantic plane service that secured the circle. Other books cover continental American aviation: this not only fans out--focusing especially on Juan Trippe and his Pan Am Clippers--but also examines for cause-and-effect the initial French and German spurt, the slower British start, the roles of KLM, SABENA, QANTAS, etc. Ingenuity played a part--in the days of landmark siting, the British gouged a furrow out of the sand all the way from Amman to Baghdad; permanent advances required the development of instruments and the refinement of aircraft, the establishment of weather and communications and navigational networks--all of which Mr. Hood (a former pilot) places in context. In the United States aviation became Big Business; elsewhere it was an instrument of foreign policy; the two sometimes conflicted. The year differences were resolved and the North Atlantic Super Clipper Service started was also the beginning of World War II; a final chapter jets to the present. No stunts here and few heroes--instead, detail and analysis smoothly integrated for an interesting overview.