An auspicious beginning for the series, this book is as heart-stopping as a roller coaster on a balsa wood trestle. It describes the not-too-silken history of parachuting since 1785 and, by heaven, sometimes it's been a leaping, slamming, lightning crisscrossed business. A Frenchman first jumped from a balloon at 2,000 feet with only a big linen sheet. Broke his leg, never tried it again. The greatest jump, also balloon, was from 102,800 ft., into thin air: ""No sensation...I do not move...I'm not falling!...The world is insane...I want desperately, with all my heart and soul, to fall."" Actually, he's doing 700 mph straight down, my oh my.