A heart-stopping narrative of
risk and courage, Bird
the story of the remarkable men and women who pioneered the latest advances in
aerial exploration—from skydiving to BASE jumping to wingsuit flying—and made
history with their daring.
Bird Dream shows
that recent decades have witnessed an unprecedented revolution in human flight.
By the end of the twentieth century BASE jumping was the most dangerous of all
the extreme sports, with thrill-seeking jumpers parachuting from bridges,
mountains, radio towers, and even skyscrapers. Despite numerous fatalities and
legal skirmishes, BASE jumpers like Jeb Corliss of California thought they had
discovered the ultimate rush. But all this changed for Corliss in 1999, when,
high in the mountains of northern Italy, he and other jumpers watched in wonder
as a stranger—wearing a cunning new jumpsuit featuring “wings” between the arms
and legs—leaped from a ledge and then actually flew from the vertiginous
cliffs. This dude’s flying, thought
Corliss with a start. This changes
What Corliss had witnessed was
a wingsuit, an innovation more flying squirrel than bird or plane. Wingsuits
were not new; they had fascinated men for centuries. Yet a modern design had
improved safety and performance, allowing wingsuit pilots to leap from a
helicopter or high cliff and soar for miles—using little more than their
bodies—before deploying a parachute to reach the ground safely. The best pilots
could fly close to the earth, rapidly navigating narrow canyons and mountain
ranges. Still, colossal dangers remained, and the beauty of exploring human
flight with such unprecedented grace would exact the ultimate cost for some
pilots—they would pay with their lives.
Drawing on intimate access to
Corliss and other top pilots from around the globe, Bird Dream tracks the evolution of the wingsuit movement through
the larger than life characters who, in an age of viral video, forced the sport
onto the world stage. Their exploits—which entranced millions of fans along the
way—defied imagination. They were flying; not like the Wright brothers, but the
way we do in our dreams.
Based on five years of
firsthand reporting and original interviews, Bird Dream is
the work of journalist Matt Higgins, who traveled the world alongside these
extraordinary men and women as they jumped and flew in Europe, Africa, Asia,
and the Americas. Offering a behind-the-scenes take on some of the most
spectacular and disastrous events of the wingsuit movement, Higgins’ Bird Dream
is a riveting, adrenaline-fueled adventure
at the very edge of human experience. Download and start listening now!