GMS Enterprises, Peterborough, 1st ed., 2000. 704 pp., numerous photo-ills., + ills. D.j., 28 x 21cm. FINE. The First World War left a vast surplus of wartime aircraft which were hastily converted for the earliest joy-riding machines because designing and building civil aircraft wasn't an economic proposition but neither engines nor aircraft were reliable. Over time flying did become more reliable however and virtually always without any Government subsidy. The creation of Imperial Airways saw the start of the 'Golden Age' of commercial aviation. While the route to India, Cape Town and Australia was quickly established, the North Atlantic posed the ultimate challenge. In the end, the Americans won the race and the Second World War put the brakes on British development. Britain failed to see the direction which airline flying was taking and whilst she offered craft skills and Pullman comfort, the world wanted speed, reliability and low cost. The saga of wrong layout, wrong design and, above all, the wrong engines began in the 1920's and blighted British commercial aircraft to the bitter end. There was also internal strife in the airline industry. This book describes the battle that marked the creation of our airlines and their aircraft. It is also the story of some 131-different aircraft, many of which are long forgotten. Along with that it is the chronicle of the aircraft engines, navigational and operational aids, and the legislation that controls operations. 1,286 photographs and facsimiles, many of which are rare and previously unpublished, together with 78 specially-produced multi-view drawings of rare and unusual aircraft and 131 different commercial aircraft are detailed and illustrated, many with both cockpit and passenger cabin pictures. SCARCE.