A history of flying machines and the men and women who flew them, from Wilbur and Orville to the present; by Boyne (adult fiction: The Wild Blue, 1986), a former director of the National Air and Space Museum. This is a book of anecdotes and vignettes, with dozens of fascinating and striking photographs and pictures: Orville's first flight in Flyer, at Kitty Hawk; WW I German gunners with oxygen tubes; the Concorde photographed against an eclipse of the sun. The rather ponderous and prolix narrative is picaresque, strong on the military (Boyne was in the Air Force for nearly 25 years), but weaker on descriptions of materials, methods, principles, techniques, weights, wingspreads, etc. Also: a curious lapse for a book with ""Smithsonian"" in the title is lack of any mention of Langley, the secretary of the Smithsonian who, in 1903, tried (and failed) to fly over the Potomac. Women here exist largely to cheer their men on: Harriet Quimby, who fell out of her plane, is mentioned; Amelia Earhart, who beat men at their own game, is not. Still, a handsome book. Index.