"Throw Out Two Hands"

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Throw Out Two Hands,” by Anthony Smith. 272 pp. . 8 1/2 in. x 5 7/8 in. (George Allen and Unwin Ltd., Ruskin House, 40, Museum Street, London, W.C.1. 30s.)

Lasy month the Book Reviews commenced with three aeronautical titles, and “Throw Out Two Hands” comes in the same category, “two hands” referring to hands of sand thrown from a free hydrogen balloon to maintain equilibrium. But I make no excuse for reviewing this book, although few of my readers are likely to own free balloons, fewer still essay flights over Africa in them.

But “Throw Out Two Hands” is so extremely well written that, if such a form of transport were more freely available, I am sure that those who enjoy driving fast cars, especially those Motor Sport subscribers who understand gliders and light aeroplanes, would, very soon after putting down this enthralling book, take up ballooning.

As there are no motor cars involved, except the adventurers’ Austin Gypsy and Land-Rover, I will devote very little further space to Anthony Smith’s masterpiece, except to remark that the book touches on airship and ballooning origins, is written in excellent English with a rare humour, that what land travel there is makes one itch to go motoring in Africa before all the primitive tracks become civilised, and that, although readers or this journal are unlikely to have an opportunity to photograph wild life from a balloon (for that, was the purpose of this dangerous but carefree expedition with the Belgian-made 26,000 cu. ft. “Jambo”), they may find the appendix by Douglas Botting on “Balloon Photography” of interest.

The entire book is splendid entertainment – it is already in its third edition, a Book Society choice – and, especially in view of the many very excellent colour plates, is also splendid value, at 30s. This one I recommend strongly, for passing the winter evenings.

W. B.