Orient Flight, UK First Edition, 1980
This is the first book Len Deighton co-authored with Frederick F. Blau, a well-known US philatelist (stamp collector). It is designated as a philatelic handbook and is privately published by The Germany Philatelic Society Inc. of Chicago, USA.
It looks at the reintroduction of the airborne post office. The Orientfahrt is distinguished for being one of the most controversial - in purely philatelic terms - of the Graf Zeppelin's history, mostly because there are no detailed sources of the flight that are completely reliable, so some questions of concern for collectors are not answered here. The book records in great detail the flight from Germany which was like a theatrical event, where dinner was served over the Dead Sea and breakfast would be over the Acropolis; the ship subsequently flew over Rome, Naples and Cyprus.
Why it's interesting
The book references to great passions of Deighton - airships and philately. The subject appeals really only to the stamp collector, but what's clear is that Blau and Deighton share a passion for the details and the stories behind this historic flight. There are some great black and white photographs of the Holy Land from the air plus numerous photocopy illustrations of people's postcards showing the stamps and franks in great detail. The detailed history of the airship and the technological developments are clearly written by Deighton, building on content shared in Airshipwreck.
'It was the invention of the steam engine that renewed man's dreams of flying. the first airship had a steam engine and the second successful one had an electric motor but weight proved the greatest problem for aviators. As the century moved to a close, two inventions brought the possibility of a practical flying machine much nearer. In 1888 the German, Gottlieb Daimler, built an excellent two-horsepower engine, and in the same period the electrolytic production of aluminium went a long way to providing strength with minimal weight.'
Only 1,000 copies were ever printed and sold through philately clubs and magazines.