Gilbert Cruz
November 02, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The God Machine

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
James R. Chiles
publisher
Bantam
genre
Science and Technology, Nonfiction

We gave it a C

Over the past century, the helicopter has been regarded as many things: an automobile alternative, a war machine, and a lifeline to those in peril. As James R. Chiles details in his taxing history The God Machine, the chopper has often been imbued with high hopes before revealing its profound limitations — too dangerous, too expensive, too unwieldy. And while the pedigree of any invention can be sketched out along the ”prototype, failure, prototype, success” spectrum, Chiles hews too closely to this pattern. The result is a mostly uninspired chain of anecdotes and descriptions that intermittently delights but fails to ever truly take flight. C

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