Airship History - Combat
The Zeppelin in Combat by Douglas H. Robinson:
If you are truly passionate about airships like I am, then The Zeppelin in Combat by Douglas Robinson is a must-read. Extensively covering the role of Zeppelins during WWI, this magnificently illustrated collector's book details the dangers inherent in operating the great hydrogen-filled ships for naval reconnaissance for the German High Seas Fleet as well as the wildly inaccurate bombing raids on England that caused indiscriminate destruction to even civilian housing and civilian non-combatants.
The psychological impact of these bombing raids is difficult to convey to a modern audience. It has been described to me this way; imagine spaceships from another planet parked over major cities and rained death down with no discernible pattern. The people can see the ships, but there is no means to stop or prevent the carnage. The anger and resentment generated by these airship operations ultimately led to a characterization of the Germans as "bloodthirsty" and to the implementation of many of the disastrous policies implemented against that country… ultimately leading to the next great war.
Nevertheless, The Zeppelin in Combat stands as a tribute to the airmen and commanders of these mighty ships. There is no other era where airships were used as extensively, and hard lessons about navigation, design, and operation were learned at a high price. This book is filled with schematics, flight logs, orders, and other historical documents. It is the best book on the market to truly understand the airship's past and imagine the airship's future.