Here's a challenge: Obscure BookFilter
February 3, 2006 9:26 PM   Subscribe

PossiblyExtremelyObscureBookFilter: I'm trying to locate the title and author of a paperback book I read in the late '60's.

Here's what I remember: The book was one of those enormously thick paperbacks, and was a saga about several generations of people involved in the aircraft design & manufacturing industry. I'm thinking on the scale of Mitchener, maybe 800 pages or so, although I can't seem to find a synopsis of any of his books that seems to fit the one that I remember.

One thing I remember was that the actual aircraft described made it seem like a thinly-veiled historical fiction about the Douglas Aircraft company, since many of the (fictional) airplanes mapped to DC-series airplanes quite well.

I was in junior high school when I read it, and can't recall many more details, but I have faith in my fellow Mefi-ites. Anyone have any ideas, or other authors in that genre I could look at?
posted by pjern to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Response by poster: Actually, reading the more inside bit (*after* posting of course), I recall that the main characters were mostly several generations of a family, with some bastardy and adultery thrown in along the way. Good clean fun :)
posted by pjern at 9:32 PM on February 3, 2006

Well, if Asia were involved, I would suggest James Clavell.
posted by ilsa at 9:41 PM on February 3, 2006

The only Clavell book (that I know of) dealing with aircraft is Whirlwind, which was published in '86, so I think he's out.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 9:53 PM on February 3, 2006

Aside from that, though, Clavell fits your bill perfectly, so you should check him out.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 9:58 PM on February 3, 2006

Sounds like The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins, sort of about Howard Hughes and his aircraft business, among other things, mostly sex, money and power.
posted by caddis at 10:15 PM on February 3, 2006

Agreed -- Carpetbaggers is probably one of the best matches. Here's a summary glimpse, from an Amazon review:

One of the very first references [to sex] is when Jonas Cord is landing his plane - the landing field is apparently like a female naked body. In a short period of time, Jonas' father dies, and he is immediately raping his step-mom, Rina. He then sleeps his way across the US. He's got a naked daughter upstairs while he negotiates business with the father downstairs. You learn that Rina had slept with her adopted brother for many years as a teen, even becoming pregnant. Rina then made advances on her adopted father, which he rejects in horror. She becomes a bi-sexual for a while, living with her lesbian female teacher in France while also being mistress to an older man.

Other authors to look at would be Arthur Hailey (Airport, Hotel) and Allen Drury (his The Throne of Saturn is about the space industry during a Mars race -- basically a stand-in for an Apollo potboiler). I doubt you're thinking of Gravity's Rainbow, somehow.
posted by dhartung at 10:33 PM on February 3, 2006

Response by poster: I've read The Carpetbaggers, and that's definitely not it. I should have used it as an example, though. I should have thought of Clavell.

Whirlwind is definitely out- the book I remember seems to end at the beginning of the jet era, and is largely set in the USA.

Keep 'em coming, I might find a new book I'll like! You folks are great!
posted by pjern at 4:37 AM on February 4, 2006

Best answer: Could it be Brood of Eagles? Wiki for the author shows it was originally published in 1969.
posted by Gator at 5:06 AM on February 4, 2006

Response by poster: BINGBINGBINGBINGBING! Amazing! That's it! Wow, you guys are good.
posted by pjern at 5:17 AM on February 4, 2006

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