"This small book is an excellent summary of the emergence of the airline in American society between the end of World War I and the beginning of the Great Depression in 1929. Bilstein has made a fine contribution to aviation history."
—American Historical Review
"Bilstein has produced a good descriptive book of the political, economic, and social significance of the airplane from 1918 through 1929. Without ignoring the romance associated with flight, he provides a valuable account and successfully supports his case for the importance of these years in establishing the pattern of aviation's impact in subsequent decades."
—Journal of Economic History
From 1918 to 1929 American aviation progressed through the pioneering era, establishing the pattern of its impact on national security, commerce and industry, communication, travel, geography, and international relations. In America, as well as on a global basis, society experienced a dramatic transformation from a two-dimensional world to a three-dimensional one. By 1929 aviation was poised at the threshold of a new epoch.
Covering both military and civil aviation trends, Roger Bilstein's study highlights these developments, explaining how the pattern of aviation activities in the 1920s is reflected through succeeding decades. At the same time, the author discusses the social, economic, and political ramifications of this robust new technology.
Aviation histories usually pay little attention to aeronautical images as an aspect of popular culture. Thoughtful observers of the 1920s such as Stuart Chase and Heywood Broun considered aircraft to be an encouraging example of the new technology-workmanlike, efficient, and graceful, perhaps representing a new spirit of international good will. Flight Patterns is particularly useful for its discussion of both economic and cultural factors, treating them as integrated elements of the evolving air age.