William M. Leary Jr.’s study combines history with personal drama to reconstruct an important chapter in the early years of aviation. He has conducted intensive research in American governmental archives, the Hoover Institution, and numerous libraries throughout the United States, in addition to obtaining access to the records of Pan American Airways (who bought out CNAC in 1933). His history of CNAC offers insights into the history of modern China and sheds light on several key aspects of Sino-American diplomatic and business relations.
Leary has done more than merely narrate history; has provided the reader with an intimate appreciation for the pulse-tingling experiences of the pilots in flight operations and given incisive treatment to the difficulties facing management. . . . The author has richly earned the gratitude of all scholars by his skillful narration of an important chapter of aviation history.
—Technology and Culture
Leary's depiction of the exceedingly primitive conditions in China gives one a fascinating glimpse of the triumphs and horrors of early aviation.
—Pacific Historical Review
A first-rate study . . . Leary has combed obscure private and public archives to piece together the story of a unique Chinese–American joint venture.
—Business History Review
Helps explain why Chinese civil aviation failed to realize its promise, at least before 1949—why the dragon never really established itself in the air.
—Journal of Asian Studies