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Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography #SIPHRD0018
Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography
Smithsonian Institution Press

The book, Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography is part of the Smithsonian History Of Aviation Series, which chronicles the development of aerospace technology and its evolution.  This series covers both civil and military themes along with a thorough study of the cultural impact of the airplane.  "Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography" follows the career of legendary designer Anthony Fokker an aircraft designer that is synonymous with early aviation warfare.  Anthony Fokker rose to prominence during World War I as a builder of fast and rugged bi-planes and tri-planes used extensively by Germany during the "Great War".  One of Anthony Fokker's early military aviation related breakthroughs occurred when he invented a device that synchronized machine gun fire with propellers.  This ground breaking development allowed one or more machine guns to fire through the arc of the spinning propeller without hitting it.  By 1918, Fokker was the manufacturer of Germany's top fighting aircraft.  In the 1920s, Anthony Fokker headed the world's largest aircraft manufacturing firm with business interests in Germany, Holland and the United States.  His most successful aircraft of this era was the Fokker Tri-motor an aircraft that was every bit the equal of the more famous Ford Tri-motor.  The author argues in "Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography" that Fokker's early success was due as much to fortuitous timing and marketing savvy then to engineering genius.  Further revealed by the author is how Anthony Fokker's reluctance to invest in research and development, his tendency to produce small-series, customized aircraft and quality control problems eventually lead to the decline of his empire.  By the mid-1930s American firms Boeing, Douglas and Lockheed built more modern airliners, which rendered the Fokker Tri-motor obsolete.  Anthony Fokker's constant travels and known eccentricities also adversely impacted his personal life at the same time his financial strategies undermined the sales of his aircraft.  On a more positive note, during the 1930s Anthony Fokker worked quite effectively as a salesman for both the Douglas and Lockheed companies and in so doing played a crucial role in the American aviation industry's dominance in the European commercial aviation market.  While Anthony Fokker also designed monoplane military aircraft during the 1930s, they never enjoyed the success of his famous World War I era German fighters.  The major sections of "Fokker: A Transatlantic Biography" are as follows: 1) Preface; 2) Chapter 1 - Growing Wings; 3) Chapter 2 - The Fortunes Of War; 4) Chapter 3 - Cornered Amid Chaos; 5) Chapter 4 - A Business Of Sorts; 6) Chapter 5 - To Capture A World Market; 7) Chapter 6 - The American Enchantment; 8) Chapter 7 - Running On Empty; 9) Chapter 8 - Weathering The Storm; 10) Chapter 9 - Rocking The Boat; 11) Epilogue; 12) Notes; 13) Archival Sources; 14) Bibliography and 15) Index.  This book is 250 pages and is in very good condition.  The author is Marc Dierikx.  Edition published in 1997.  


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