September 2015 Featured Book
By Mark Vanhoenacker '96
"A superb chronicle...Vanhoenacker makes jet travel seem uncanny and intriguing all over again...[he] writes in a richly ethereal style, with the confidence of a professional who knows his subject...an elegant, nonlinear reflection on how flying in a commercial airliner - even while painfully folded in a seat in coach - can lift the soul." - Tom Zoellner, The New York Times Book Review
- Listen as Mark Vanhoenacker '96 and Cullen Murphy '74, chair of the Amherst College Board of Trustees discuss the book.
- Read an excerpt and a reviews.
- Learn more about the author.
- Visit Amherst Reads on Goodreads and start a discussion.
A poetic and nuanced exploration of the human experience of flight that reminds us of the full imaginative weight of our most ordinary journeys--and reawakens our capacity to be amazed.
The twenty-first century has relegated airplane flight--a once remarkable feat of human ingenuity--to the realm of the mundane. Mark Vanhoenacker, a 747 pilot who left academia and a career in the business world to pursue his childhood dream of flight, asks us to reimagine what we--both as pilots and as passengers--are actually doing when we enter the world between departure and discovery. In a seamless fusion of history, politics, geography, meteorology, ecology, family, and physics, Vanhoenacker vaults across geographical and cultural boundaries; above mountains, oceans, and deserts; through snow, wind, and rain, renewing a simultaneously humbling and almost superhuman activity that affords us unparalleled perspectives on the planet we inhabit and the communities we form.