Gas Balloon Books

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Flight of the Pacific Eagle by Ray Nelson 1985

This is a great book about one of the historic flights in modern ballooning.  It is entertaining and interesting.  The book chronicles the flight across the pacific ocean by Ben  Abruzzo, Rocky Aoki, Larry Newman and Ron Clark. 

The Story of Hydrogen by Mark D. Uehling 1995 Franklin Whatts Library Edition

This a very easy to read book that explains the discovery of Hydrogen and it's use in gas balloons.  It is aimed at the young scientist in your family.

The Little Balloonist by Linda Donn 2006

This book is a love story set in Napoleonic France and was inspired by the life of Sophie Blanchard, one of the first women to fly.


Gordon Bennett Balloon Race by Drs. J. Boesman, The Netherlands Aeronautical Museum 1976

This book tells the story of the Gordon Bennett Gas balloon races from 1906 - 1976.  It has a synopsis of every race and some very interesting details.  It also includes a catalog of all GB collectable materials.   It is a limited edition book so it is difficult to find and expensive.

Twenty Feet From Glory by John R. Goodwin, McClain Printing Company 1970 

This book tells the story of one of three German balloon teams that came to the USA for the 1928 Gordon Bennett balloon race.   The book tells the social, political and economic history of  a 48 hour period in time during 1928.

They Sailed the Skies by J.Gordon Vaeth, Navel Institute Press, 2005

This book tells the story of  Lt. Thomas .G.W. Settle one of Navy's most experience balloon pilot and the Navy's Balloon program during the Golden Age of Flight against the backdrop of the American Navel Airship Program.   This book is easy to read and provides very interesting information about the Navy and Army's involvement in gas balloon racing during the 1920-1930 time frame.


At the Mercy of the Winds by David Hempleman-Adams Bantam Press 2001

At the Mercy of the Winds tells the story of two attempts to fly over the North Pole.  The book recounts the story of the Andree, Nils, Strindberg, Frankel 1897 balloon flight to the North Pole and Hempleman-Adams own record breaking expedition to the pole.


Balloons at War - Gasbags, Flying Bombs & Cold War Secrets by John Christopher Tempus Publishing, 2004
Conceived as a weapon of war from its inception, the balloon has served its military masters well in a variety of ways for over two hundred years. As an aerial observation platform, a means of escaping from a besieged city, or to carry bombs, propaganda or even agents deep behind enemy lines. As most balloonists will be aware they were utilized first in the Napoleonic era, then in the US Civil War, during the Siege of Paris, as well as policing the empires of the late nineteenth century including the Boer War in South Africa, and as part of the stalemate of trench warfare in the First World War. Then there is also the British and Japanese balloon bombs of the Second World War, plus the fascinating but mostly untold story of the balloon barrage defending British cities from the Luftwaffe and later the onslaught of the V1 vengeance weapons or ЊDoodlebugs№. But delve a little deeper and you will discover that the humble balloon has a darker and altogether more secretive side and this book examines the many clandestine operations devised for them during the various conflicts of the twentieth century, including the Cold War era. Even today the balloon is playing its part in defending against and, maybe, even working for the forces of terrorism.


Readers Note:  Signed copies of this book are available direct with free postage paid from within the UK and subsidized postage for the rest of the world. If anyone is interested drop the author a email at:

America's Daredevil Balloonist - W.H. Donaldson, 1840-1875 by James W. Raab (1999)  This book is a biography of one America's most prolific gas balloon pilots - W.H. Donaldson. (137 documented gas flight).  Donaldson was a showman, daredevil, barnstormer and aeronaut.  He lead a colorful life full of interesting balloon flights including the first attempt to cross the Atlantic in a balloon.   It is a very interesting story and it is very easy to read. 
Ships of the Sky by Marco Majrani (1993) tells the story of ballooning through history.  It focuses mostly on the Hot air side of the the story but has some information about gas balloons.  It is a beautiful book filled with great pictures and stories both past and present.  This book is available through the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Weekend With Willows by Sir Alister Hardy.(1986) This book recounts the true adventure in a gas balloon with three of his friends and Mr. Ernest Willows, one of the early pioneers of the British Airship, into the clouds above London in 1924.  This is a very fun book to read.  If you have ever flown in a gas balloon you will relate to this story very well.  It is a very enthusiastic account of a gas balloon flight across the English countryside.

Japan's World War II Balloon Bomb attacks on North America  By Robert C. Mikesh This is a fascinating look at Japan's use of gas balloons as a means to deliver bombs to the USA.  They launched close to 10000 balloons and nearly 1000 reached North America.  This is a very interesting look at a specialized use of a gas balloon.

Just Wind - by William Armstrong Jr. 2003.  This is one of the newest gas ballooning books available. 

Just Wind describes two of the most dramatic and dangerous flights ever attempted: the 1974 trans-Atlantic Flight of Col. Thomas L. Gatch Jr., and the Earthwinds Trans-Global attempts in the early 1990's. Read more about this book -Just Wind Press Release


Jambo by Anthony Smith 1963

This is a great book about a gas balloon used by three men who risked their life on a photographic safari over East Africa.  It is a great book that deals with flying gas balloons.  It is great reading full to chills and thrills.

The Romance of Ballooning - The Story of the Early Aeronauts. by The Viking Press 1971

This book tells the story of early gas balloon flights with actual new clipping from around the world.  It provides an interesting picture of ballooning since its first flight in 1783. 

Riding the Jetstream - by John Christopher 2001

This is a interesting book about the race to be the first person to fly around the world in a balloon.  It is a fascinating story of the historic struggle to achieve the goal and the driven personalities of the people who chased the prize.  It is very easy reading.

Readers Note:  Signed copies of this book are available  direct with free postage paid from within the UK and subsidized postage for the rest of the world. If anyone is interested drop the author a email at:

A Grandstand Seat - The American Balloon Service in World War I - By Eileen Lebow 1998

This book looks at the use of gas balloons during the first world war.  It is a compelling but little known part of our military history. 


The Flight of the Eagle by Olof Sundman. 1970

This is a tremendous book about the unfortunate attempt by S. A. Andree to fly a gas balloon over the North Pole.  This is a great read.

Hot Air & Gas by Ed Newman 1992

This book is written for kids and provides general information about gas balloons


The Eagle Aloft - by Tom D. Crouch Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1983

This book chronicles both gas and hot air balloon activity in America.  It is very comprehensive and tells many interesting stories. 

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