Falling Upwards
Richard Holmes, Read by Peter Noble

Book cover image

Narrated By: Peter Noble

Duration: 15 hours and 11 minutes

What to expect

A GUARDIAN BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW STATESMAN BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A DAILY TELEGRAPH BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A NEW REPUBLIC BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A TIME MAGAZINE TOP 10 NONFICTION BOOK OF 2013

From ambitious scientists rising above the clouds to analyse the air to war generals floating across enemy lines, Richard Holmes takes to the air in this heart-lifting history of pioneer balloonists.

Falling Upwards asks why they risked their lives, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet. The stories range from early ballooning rivals to the long-distance voyages of American entrepreneurs; from the legendary balloon escape from the Prussian siege of Paris to dauntless James Glaisher, who in the 1860s flew seven miles above the earth – without oxygen.

Falling Upwards has inspired the Major Motion Picture The Aeronauts – in cinemas SOON.

Genre

True stories of discovery, General & world history

Listen to a sample

SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY:

JIM CRACE, GUARDIAN – ‘A whole wide world of significance’

SARAH SANDS, NEW STATESMAN – ‘Sheer delight’

MICHAEL PRODGER, EVENING STANDARD – ‘Picaresque history’

DAN JONES, DAILY TELEGRAPH – ‘Tremendously inventive’

LEV GROSSMAN, TIME MAGAZINE – ‘Thrilling history’

CHLOE SCHAMA, NEW REPUBLIC – ‘Unadulterated delight’

KIRKUS – ‘Gripping’

MAIL ON SUNDAY – ‘Tragic’

‘A book as delightful as it is unexpected … [an] extraordinary cabinet of drifting aerial wonderment, a book that will linger and last, as it floats ever upward in the mind’ Simon Winchester, Wall Street Journal

‘Holmes presents a full-blown, lyrical history of the same subject, investigating the strangeness, detachment and powerful romance of ‘falling upwards’ into a seemingly alien and uninhabitable element. He lovingly charts … a history full of awe and inefficiency … A truly masterly storyteller’ Evening Standard

‘Endlessly exhilarating … packed full of swashbuckling stories, as well as fascinating historical accounts of the use of balloons. It is also a singularly beautiful book, wonderfully designed and illustrated and quite clearly a product of love’ Mail on Sunday

‘What Holmes teases out … is that ballooning gave us, quite literally, a different point of view … This exhilarating book, wonderfully written, generously illustrated and beautifully published, captures all that and more’ Spectator

‘Holmes conjures an extraordinarily vivid, violent, thrilling history, full of bizarre personalities, narrow escapes and fatal plunges. A peerless prose artist, infectiously curious’ Time Magazine