First Edition of John McPhee's The Deltoid Seed; Inscribed by Him
The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed.
Item Number: 2544
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973.
First edition. Octavo, original half cloth. Inscribed by the author, “For Mike Hutcheson many thanks and all the best John McPhee Bradford 1/23/89.” Near fine in a very good dust jacket.
Since the explosion of the Hindenburg in Lakehurst, New Jersey, energy-efficient, lighter-than-air ships have given way to gas-guzzling jet aircraft. But in the 1960s, an unusual band of inventors, engineers and investors, again in New Jersey, created the Aereon, a strange, wingless hybrid airplane/dirigible. The Aereon--the Deltoid Pumpkin Seed-- promised to be a safe workhorse of the skies, capable of carrying the payload of entire freight trains with minimal cost. In this exquisitely crafted tale of back-to-the-drawing-board perseverance, McPhee tells the story not only of the Aereon, but of any product development team. He astutely delineates the team members' personalities and interactions, delves back in time to the origins of lighter-than-air craft and the history of propellers, and in the end, makes us wonder why this promising technology hasn't been perfected. “It's a book Leonardo da Vinci would have warmed to, a set of experiments he's have changed" (Paul West, The Washington Post).