“A tale of everlasting importance, To Caress the Air, tells the story of little known American aviation pioneer Augustus Herring, who flew a manned, powered aeroplane five years before the Wright Brothers.”
Robert Brown, President, Academy of Model Aeronautics
“To Caress the Air is historical fiction that contains factual information about
Augustus Herring, the aviation pioneer who challenged the early aeroplane
establishment with new ideas about powered flight and the design of airplanes.
While secrecy between inventors, concerns about patent rights and court cases
delayed Herring’s recognition, the story’s seamless transition between fact and
fiction keeps the reader engaged in the pioneering days of powered flight and the
men who challenged the air.
Richard Brox, Director Emeritus, Aero Club of Buffalo
To Caress the Air is a remarkable account of how little known engineer, Augustus
Herring, overcame long odds to build and fly one of the world’s first successful,
powered aeroplanes. The story, enhanced by the author’s keen portrayal of
America in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, is told with meticulous detail and
a gripping prose.
Walter BoyneColonel, USAF (Ret), Author, Historian
To Caress the Air, Augustus Herring rises from obscurity as a powerful multi-
dimensional character who just happened to be the first to fly. A more engaging,
history of pioneer flight does not exist.
Debra Cleghorn, Executive editor, Air Age Media
A fascinating illumination of an extremely progressive and dynamic period of
early American aviation, much of which took place in Western New York.
Hugh M. Neeson,Vice President: Bell Aerospace Textron, Trustee: Niagara Aerospace Museum (’55 – present)
Based on facts that will rock established perceptions of pioneer aviation, To Caress the Air tells the story of Augustus Moore Herring, the first man to achieve heavier-than- air, powered flight. Fictionally dramatized, Gierke’s narrative is rich
with technical and biographical detail and is extensively documented with footnotes.
Tom Atwood: Former editor-in- Chief of Model Airplane News magazine; co-founder of Flight
Journal magazine; founder of Fly RC, RC Heli Pilot and Robot magazines,
Atwood is currently the Executive Director of the National Robotics Education Foundation (NREF).
A provocative work that challenges the conventional wisdom on the first flight of
the Wright Brothers. The saga of Augustus Herring is one that deserves to be told.
Maury Klein, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Rhode Island, Author of: The Power Makers
The brave and foresighted men who, more than a century ago, believed that man could fly had to fight for credibility, for funding, and, occasionally, for their legal rights in court. C. David Gierke’s novel To Caress the Air recounts the
fascinating, and largely forgotten, story of one such real-life pioneer: Augustus Herring, who may have beaten the Wright brothers into the air by five years.
David M. Friedman, Author of The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel and their Daring Quest to Live Forever.
When law and engineering intersect, I pay attention. As they evolve together, can
a legal system resolve conflicts of inventive minds? Gierke's richly sourced
account of Herring intense courtroom struggle reverberates in American courts today.
Joseph J. Terranova, Trial lawyer