This book provides a much-needed overview of the development of aviation in Latin America. It examines military and civil aerial endeavors and captures the seductive glamour of the commercial air industry. It both reminds us that air power is intimately connected to political power and motivates us to take the transformative work of artificial flight seriously.

The romance of the air colors most aviation histories. Narratives tend to focus on the seemingly magnificent feats of pilots, planes, inventors, and entrepreneurs from the United States and Western Europe. In Conquistadors of the Sky, Dan Hagedorn centers his analytical lens on Latin America to draw attention to the important ways that historical agents from the global South helped to give rise to “one of the greatest technological developments of humankind” (p. xi). For example, the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont, and not the noted Wright brothers, was the first to successfully lift and...

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