Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., 1st ed., 1988. 384 pp., numerous photo-ills., + ills. D.j., 24 x 15cm. FINE. Signed Presentation Copy from the Author. The story of the remarkable Spaniard, Juan de la Cierva, who pioneered the development of the first practical rotary-wing aircraft ' the famous Autogiro ' has received little attention. Yet his work was essential to the emergence of the helicopter as we know it today. By studying a toy's behaviour, Cierva envisioned an autorotating rotor that was to be the basis of all his subsequent work. From 1919 until his death in 1936, Cierva pursued the development of this concept with considerable energy and success. The author records Cierva's early work in Spain and explains the difference between a true autogiro and a helicopter. The narrative then focuses on Cierva's move to England and examines each successive technical step culminating in the development of "jump take-off." Cierva produced in the Autogiro a practical rotary-wing aircraft of which some 500 examples were manufactured in seven countries over a twenty-year period. These aircraft were employed on a limited scale for a wide range of civil and military uses worldwide, thus indicating the tremendously important future role of the helicopter. Cierva also supervised and was personally responsible for much of the associated design engineering and he courageously undertook a large part of the test and development. This book was illustrated with the most comprehensive collection of photographs and drawings published to date on the subject. Appendixes supplement specifications data for every type of Autogiro built. A glossary and detailed bibliography are included. Signed Presentation Copy from the Author.