The Hindenburg disaster offers clues to recognizing risky inventions
Basic Books, $28.99
It took just over 30 seconds for the Hindenburg to go from flying technological marvel to smoldering wreckage on an airfield in Lakehurst, N.J. Horrified onlookers watched as electricity in the atmosphere ignited a plume of hydrogen gas escaping from rear of the airship. The fire tore through the Hindenburg and brought it crashing to the ground, killing 36 people.
As shocking as it was, the 1937 catastrophe was just one incident in a long, disastrous history for airships, writes science writer Ed Regis in Monsters, an engaging history of humankind’s technological hubris. In the decades before the Hindenburg, accidental fires downed 26 airships and killed 250 people.