From Winston Groom, the best-selling author of Forrest Gump, Shiloh 1862, and Vicksburg 1863, comes the fascinating story of three extraordinary heroes who defined aviation during the great age of flight. These cleverly interwoven tales of their heart-stopping adventures take us from the feats of World War I through the heroism of World War II and beyond, including daring military raids and survival-at-sea, and will appeal to fans of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation, and James Bradley's Flyboys.
With the world in peril in World War II, each of the men profiled here set aside great success and comfort to return to the skies for his most daring mission yet: Jimmy Doolittle, a brilliant aviation innovator, would lead the daring Tokyo Raid to retaliate for Pearl Harbor. Charles Lindbergh, hero of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, would fly combat missions in the South Pacific. And Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace, would bravely hold his crew together while facing near-starvation and circling sharks after his plane went down in a remote part of the Pacific. Groom's rich narrative tells their intertwined storiesfrom broken homes to Medals of Honor (all three would receive it), barnstorming to the greatest raid of World War II, front-page triumph to anguished tragedy, and near-death to ultimate survivalas all took to the sky, time and again, to become exemplars of the spirit of the "greatest generation."
464 pages; 41 black-and-white photographs and four maps
Winston Groom is the author of 14 previous books of nonfiction and fiction, including Shiloh 1862, Vicksburg 1863, Patriotic Fire, Shrouds of Glory, Forrest Gump, and Conversations with the Enemy (with Duncan Spencer), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He lives with his wife and daughter in Point Clear, Alabama.
The author is a fine storyteller but was woefully weak on his knowledge of related history. He wrote, for example, "in the spring of 1940 Hitler quickly attacked and conquered, in turn, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, and France." Sweden was neutral throughout the war, Finland fought on the side of Germany against the Soviet Union, and the author doesn't mentioned Luxembourg being conquered by the Third Reich. Also, he completely misunderstands the 1940 Battle of Britain, a major event in the European conflict. He concludes the Luftwaffe lost the fighter war with the British due to the low octane rating of their aviation fuel. This, to put it bluntly, is ludicrous
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Bottom Line No, I would not recommend this to a friend
From National Geographic:Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. We are sorry to hear that this book did not live up to your expectations. This is how Winston Groom, the book's author, responded: "The writer is of course correct in pointing out that Hitler conquered neither Finland nor Sweden, neither of which was on the side of the Allies. It is true I didn't mention Luxembourg as being conquered by the Third Reich but neither did I bother to mention similar militarily inconsequential places such as Monaco, which was also occupied by Axis forces. I merely quoted the British petroleum secretary as having said after the Battle of Britain, regarding Jimmy Doolittle's prewar pitch to the RAF for using 100-octane gasoline in its fighter planes, 'This octane was 13 points higher than the fuel used by German aircraft. Those 13 points ended the threat of any Nazi invasion of England.' Just how much of an edge the higher octane gave the pilots, only they would know, but they won the battle, didn't they?" If you prefer an exchange or refund, please contact our customer service department at NGCatalog@ngs.org.