Sixty years ago, cars and airplanes were still deathtraps waiting to happen. Today, both are safer than ever, thanks in part to one pioneering air force doctor s research on seatbelts and ejection seats. The exploits of John Paul Stapp (1910 1999) come to thrilling life in this biography of a Renaissance man who was once blasted faster than a .45 caliber bullet across the desert in his Sonic Wind rocket sled, only to be slammed to a stop in barely a second. The experiment put him on the cover of Time magazine and allowed his swashbuckling team to gather the data needed to revolutionize automobile and aircraft design. But Stapp didn t stop there. From the legendary high-altitude balloon tests that ensued to the ferocious battles for car safety legislation, Craig Ryan s book is as much a history of America s transition into the Jet Age as it is a biography of the man who got us there safely."