Book Review: Empires of the Sky by Alexander Rose

“…it is Eckener who has surpassed his late mentor’s achievements by conceiving the greatest and grandest airship of them all, the most marvelous technological and aeronautical wonder of the age—the very vessel, in fact, in which the titans are soaring.


Alexander Rose, Empires of the Sky

Title: Empires of the Sky: Zeppelins, Airplanes, and Two Men’s Epic Duel to Rule the World
Author: Alexander Rose
Genres: Non-fiction, Science, Aviation, History
Length: 22 hrs, 43 mins (Audiobook)
Published: April 28th, 2020

My Rating: ★★★★½
Read: 1/17/2023 – 1/24/2023


I’ve always been fascinated by the early days of early aviation, but I didn’t know much about dirigibles aside from the Hindenburg disaster. Typically I read more about rockets, so this was an interesting change of pace.

Empires of the Sky is an in-depth look at the creation of the Zeppelin airships as well as the impact they had on the world. We get to learn about the inventors as well as some notable benefactors and everything in between. Perhaps most fascinating part to me was the political weight they carried, especially nearing the World War eras.

From the ups and downs to celebrations and tragedies, this is a super interesting read. It did run a bit long for me, though. Maybe it’s just a matter of not being overly interested in the topic (I’ll say my interest runs just above casual) but I felt like some sections really dragged. Despite this, this was an extremely interesting read. It seems like this section of history isn’t as prevalent nowadays with all of the high-tech advances in aviation. This book is a good reminder of the roots of air travel.

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • A good contrast of the subjects: Dirigibles and airplanes.
  • Rich with tidbits about what was going on around the world at different points in the timeline. It was a great frame of reference.
  • The narrator of the audiobook did a fantastic job. He was animated and kept me paying attention.

What I didn’t like:

  • It dragged in the middle. I don’t think this necessarily needed to be a 600+ page book.
  • Some repetition.


I don’t know how long I’ll retain the information presented here, but it was certainly an interesting read. I learned some new trivia facts, too, which is always handy.

Where to buy the book:

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