In 1947, no one knew if it was possible to break the "sound barrier." The Bell X-1 was the tiny, rocket-powered craft that finally broke it. It was the result of innovative designers and engineers turning their attention from the pioneering jets of World War II to a new task--an aircraft designed purely to fly faster than sound. Legendary pilots rallied to the cause, with World War II ace Chuck Yeager piloting the X-1 when it finally achieved supersonic flight in 1947, the first manned craft to reach such speeds. With historical photographs and meticulously researched digital art, Peter Davies traces the whole career of the Bell X-1, from its early development through to the influence it had on military and civilian jets in the second half of the 20th century.