Dictatorship of the Air

Focusing on one of the last untold chapters in the history of human flight, Dictatorship of the Air is the first book to explain the real story behind twentieth-century Russia’s quest for aviation prominence. From the 1909 arrival of machine-powered flight in the “land of the tsars” to Stalin’s victory over Hitler in 1945, Dictatorship of the Air describes why the airplane became the most important symbol of industrial progress and international power for generations of Russian statesmen and citizens. The book reveals how, behind a façade of daredevil pilots, record setting flights, and gargantuan airplanes, Russia's longstanding legacies of industrial backwardness, cultural xenophobia, and state-directed modernization prolonged its dependence upon Western technology and, ultimately, ensured the USSR’s collapse.

Based on nearly a decade of research, but intended for general readers and aviation enthusiasts, this clearly written and well-illustrated study is the only book, in any language, to answer the fundamental question "What is 'Russian' about Russian aviation?"


Cambridge University Press

Now in Paperback:  From Cambridge UP / Amazon.com

Scott Palmer

Scott PalmerDr. Scott W. Palmer is a historian of modern Russian culture and technology and a frequent traveler to the Russian Federation. He has conducted numerous extended visits to Russian archives since 1994. He is the recipient of the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Fellowship from the National Air & Space Museum as well as fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Library of Congress, the Fulbright-Hays Program, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.