This might better be defined as a chapter in autobiography, for here is the Nevil Shute (Norway) occasionally glimpsed in some of his novels, as aeronautical engineer, and virtually only that. There is a brief survey of his early life, -- a boy playing truant in the Kensington Museum aviation exhibitions; a college student working- for love of it- in the drafting room of aviation production; a cub pilot, with not many hours training; and chiefly, the managing director of a struggling pioneer industry, Airspeed Limited, where for years the dilemmas of reckless optimism came of necessity close to dishonesty to investors -- and only wars saved them from bankruptcy. A big slice of the story tells, in intimate technical detail, of the competitive race to determine whether private industry (which constructed the successful rigid airship, R-100,) or government project (responsible for the tragedy of failure in its sister ship, R-101) should be given the go-ahead. While the major issues are inherently dramatic, the minutiae of construction will appeal largely to the technically trained reader. A segment of aviation history, rather than a personal story of a popular novelist.