Hubert Latham, well-known as Bleriot's rival, was educated at Oxford and a member of early twentieth-century high society. He was a popular figure with the English public and mingled with notorious sporting personalities and French avant-garde artists. He flew a balloon across the Channel in 1905, and led treks in the Sudan, Abyssinia and Indochina in 1906-08, before competing with Bleriot for the Channel Flight in 1909. (Bleriot beat him but it is disputed whether this was through sabotage or intrigue.) Latham went on to thrill the world with his cool approach to danger in aviation challenges in the US, Russia, Egypt and England, before his untimely death in the Congo at just 29 years old.
Touching on wider themes, including the importance of the popular Press and its impact on public opinion, the political manoeuvrings and military build-up in the period 1910-14, and the emergence of many aviatrix, friends of Latham, who entered the sporting scene at this time, this is an exceptionally-researched biography of one of aviation's most mysterious characters.