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Blood Brothers: Hiram and Hudson Maxim: Pioneers of Modern Warfare Hardcover – Feb 20 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; First edition (Feb. 20 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861760965
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861760968
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,113,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa4c429c0) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4a9dd38) out of 5 stars Inventors Extraordinary Oct. 30 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
McCallum, Iain, Blood Brothers: Hiram and Hudson Maxim - Pioneers of Modern Warfare, Chatham Publishing, London 1999, 220p, 33 photographs, 2 maps. ISBN 1 86176 096 5
The Maxim brothers were self made men from a humble New England background whose inventions span many fields of activity. They were rumbustious, even vulgar, but they had a talent for making things work. Hiram's automatic machine gun is the best known of their inventions, with variants on his design in use in several armies until well after World War II. Even the Royal Navy's multiple pompom was basically to Hiram's design. Both the Admiralty and the War Office are shown as interested and progressive in trials of the new weapons. Their reluctance to purchase in quantity seems well justified in the light of rapid developments in this field.
Both men were active on propellants for guns and both warned of the danger of cordite as then made in the United Kingdom. Hudson was largely instrumental in persuading the US Navy to adopt nitro-cellulose, which probably kept that navy clear of the disastrous explosions which afflicted ships using cordite. It was Hudson's initiatives in this field which led to the final split between the brothers, as Hiram thought that Hudson had pirated his work.
Hiram's attempts to fly were unsuccessful but very brave and well conceived. He began serious work in 1889 with the development of a light weight steam engine and boiler. Over the next few years he built an aeroplane which, in final form, had a wing span of 104 feet and weighed 8000lb with fuel, water and a crew of two. It ran on rails for take off but a second set of rails prevented it from rising too far at first. In July 1894,near Dartmouth in Kent, it did take off and seems to have travelled about 600 feet before crashing. Though work continued for a time, it was proving costly and the support of the Vickers company was withdrawn.
The book is well written, easy to read and, with numerous wives, mistresses etc., quite spicy!
HASH(0xa4aa2cc0) out of 5 stars This book is easy enough to read for popular history enthusiasts Feb. 12 2016
By sgath92 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is perhaps the first serious effort anyone has undertaken to create a narrative on how the Maxim family acquired their wealth & reputation. The Maxim family played a very important role in late 19th/early 20th century ordnance development, and their involvement in the evolution of the DuPont corporation should peak the interest of a wide variety of readers. This book is easy enough to read for popular history enthusiasts, while maintaining a first rate of novel historical research. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for researchers & authors to turn their attention to the Maxim family, and I feel as though there yet more left to be done given the family's involvement in founding the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League). This is, of course, a book mostly focused on Hiram & Hudson Maxim so those hoping to read about Hiram Percy Maxim (1869-1936) will be disappointed.

It is unfortunate that McCallum did not go into great length on the family's involvement in the high explosive ordnance controversy of this period, with Hudson having patented a variety of so-called "torpedo shells" and had competed with Louis Gathmann and Willard Isham to sell the idea to the United States Government.

Nonetheless, this is the best secondary source one can find on the subject of the Maxim family, and will not disappoint someone wanting to learn about them.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4aa2c6c) out of 5 stars A definitive, well-written work! Nov. 10 2001
By P. Whitney - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mr. McCallum offers a comprehensive yet entertaining glimpse into a most fascinating chapter in the history of warfare and weaponry.