Pigeon Guided Missiles : and 49 Other Ideas That Never Took Off, Paperback

Pigeon Guided Missiles : and 49 Other Ideas That Never Took Off Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


During the Second World War, an American behavioural psychologist working with pigeons discovered that the birds could be trained to recognise an object and to peck at an image of it; when loaded into the nose-cone of a missile, these pecks could be translated into adjustments to the guidance fins, steering the projectile to its target.

Pigeon-Guided Missiles reveals this and other fascinating tales of daring plans from history destined to change the world we live in, yet which ended in failure, or even disaster.

Some became the victims of the eccentric figures behind them, others succumbed to financial and political misfortune, and a few were just too far ahead of their time.

Discover why the great groundnut scheme cost British taxpayers GBP49 million, why the bid to build Minerva, a whole new country in the Pacific Ocean, sank, and why the first Channel Tunnel (started in 1881, over a century before the one we know today) hit a dead end.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages, Illustrations
  • Publisher: The History Press Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Military history
  • ISBN: 9780752459905



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This book is a bit of a mixed bag of various ideas -- to do with science, architecture, health, science -- that never got off the ground. It's more of a collection of curiosities, to me: a bit of trivia, if you will. Some of them aren't as ridiculous as the title might make it sound, only based on ideas about the world that no longer stand up to scrutiny. Others just couldn't get off the ground due to economic situations, like the abandoned subway in an American city.<br/><br/>I read it while doing essay research, five chapters at a time, as a bit of light relief, and enjoyed it for that. And at the moment, it's in the Kindle Christmas sale, so if it strikes your fancy... now is a good time.

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