Sandwiched In with John Lancaster - Author of "The Great Air Race"

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The Great Air Race reclaims one of the most important moments in the history of American aviation: the transcontinental air race of October 1919 that saw scores of pilots compete for the fastest roundtrip time between New York (specifically Roosevelt Field) and San Francisco in frail, open-cockpit biplanes. Riveting the nation, the aviators — most of them veterans of the Great War — pioneered the first coast-to-coast air route, braving blizzards and driving rain as they landed in fields or at the edges of cliffs. Bringing the pilots and the race’s impresario, Billy Mitchell, to vivid life, journalist and amateur pilot John Lancaster captures the challenges of flying in that almost prehistoric age — the deafening roar of the engine, the constant fear of mechanical failure, the threat posed by mere rain. As he demonstrates, the race, despite much drama and tragedy, was a milestone in the development of commercial aviation. The Great Air Race is a captivating story of man and machine, and the debut of a major new popular historian.  Among the many stellar reviews, The Washington Post writes, “It’s hard to imagine a more ideal narrator…Lancaster tells a vivid story and makes a moving case that these early martyrs at the takeoff of domestic aviation gave the rest of us a future in the sky.”

Join us for this special author event with Mr. Lancaster, who will discuss his book and provide a visual presentation about this fascinating, but little known piece of aviation history, which began right here on Long Island. He will also describe how in 2019, a century after the race, he flew the route from Long Island to San Francisco and back again in his two-seater plane, making all of the same stops that the daring, reckless and inspiring pilots made in 1919.  (Sponsored by the Friends of the Library)

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

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