Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE HINDENBURG by Patrick O’Brien


by Patrick O’Brien & illustrated by Patrick O’Brien

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6415-X
Publisher: Henry Holt

Text and illustrations capture the spirit of the zeppelin, described by inventor Hugo Eckener, as “. . . like a fabulous silvery fish, floating quietly in the ocean of air. O’Brien illustrates the history of the dirigibles with meticulous and striking paintings done in watercolor and gouache on Italian watercolor paper. From the front cover, which shows the fiery orange flaming Hindenburg, to the back, which chronicles the last moments of the ship, the author tells a compelling story not only of the disaster but of the dream that led up to it. Compellingly well-told, beautifully illustrated, and skillfully designed, this is a work that will find a wide audience. O’Brien describes the crash of the Hindenburg, then takes the reader back to the beginning of the story, recounting the work of von Zeppelin in the early 1900s, explaining how the dirigibles were built, tested, and modified. He tells how they were used by Germany in WWI to drop bombs on London, and how after the war, for luxury travel across the Atlantic Ocean. Most fascinating are the step-by-step explanations of the design, building, and workings of the Hindenburg, the supreme pleasure craft, which carried 36 passengers and a crew of 61. The author notes passengers had private rooms, a library, a shower, and a gourmet kitchen that stocked 440 pounds of meat and poultry, 800 eggs, and 220 pounds of butter for the three-day crossing. The final section, “Did You Know?,” has additional fascinating facts. For example, “The tower on the top of the Empire State Building was built as a mooring mast. It was never used.” For historians, inventors, and dreamers, this one will fly. (Nonfiction. 9-14)