Can someone recommend some good aviation novels?

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Pilotl1234, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. Pilotl1234

    Pilotl1234 Filing Flight Plan

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    Preferably WWI, WWII, etc. or true stories? Thank you!
     
  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    Not WWII, But Dale Brown spins a good yarn. Stephen Coonts' Jake Grafton series was good.
     
  3. Rex Kramer

    Rex Kramer Pre-takeoff checklist

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  4. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    With Wings Like Eagles by Michael Korda is a really interesting book about the Battle of Britain.
     
  5. wanttaja

    wanttaja Pattern Altitude

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    WWII: "Twelve O'Clock High," by Barlett and Lay. Classic.

    WWII: "The Last Dogfight," by Martin Caiden. "Whip," also by Caiden.

    WWI: "The Blue Max", by Jack Hunter. Quite a bit different from the movie, with a totally different ending.

    WWI: "The Two-Headed Eagle,"* by John Biggins. WWI aviation from a totally different point of view, the Imperial Austrian Air Service, fighting above Italy.

    Ron Wanttaja

    * Full title: "The Two-Headed Eagle: In Which Otto Prohaska Takes a Break as the Habsburg Empire's Leading U-boat Ace and Does Something Even More Thanklessly Dangerous." Don't be scared off by the title, the books of this series are a very light, fun read.
     
  6. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not a WWI story but Richard Bach's "Illusions" is one of my favorites.

    I just finished reading "The Wild Blue Yonder" by Dwight and Mary Lou King and was entertained. Dwight was a B29 bombardier in the same wing as my dad and I found the book in my dad's stuff.

    Flight of the Intruder by Stephan Coonts is a great read set in a more recent war (Vietnam). I've read about everything he wrote and this is one of his best.

    "Unbroken" is about a WWII B24 bombardier but most of the story is about his ordeal as a Japanese POW. Still a great read though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013
  7. alfadog

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  8. Jim Logajan

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    True stories:

    Wager with the Wind: The Don Sheldon Story, by James Greiner

    Zero 3 Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane, by Mariana Gosnell

    Odyssey: A Daring Transatlantic Journey, by Susan Oliver

    Weekend Wings, by Frank K. Smith
     
  9. N175PT

    N175PT Pre-Flight

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    Three thumbs up on "Unbroken" ! It was a little slow to start, but wow, what we owe to those guys.

    Other good ones:
    "Chicken Hawk" (Robert Mason)
    "First Man" (Neil Armstrong)
    "Fighter Pilot" (Robin Olds)
    "I could never be so lucky again" (Doolittle)
    "Flyboys"
     
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  10. Pilawt

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    That should be Weekend Pilot, the book that helped set my passion for flying, back in 1963.

    Also, add to the list North Star Over My Shoulder by Robert N. Buck. Buck and Gann were contemporaries, and their paths crossed in Brazil during the war. It's interesting to read Buck's account at the same time as Gann's description in Fate Is The Hunter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013
  11. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    My favorite book of his is "Stranger to the Ground" which takes place in post WWII Europe. I don't know how true it is but I'm pretty sure he flew over there at that time in the same type airplane.
     
  12. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan En-Route

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    Actually Frank wrote books titled "Weekend Pilot" and "Weekend Wings". I have both books. I just picked the first title I recollected. I was only 7 in 1963 and didn't read Smith's books until a few years ago. They are still pleasant reads and definitely good advertising.
     
  13. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    Did not know that about Weekend Wings. Thanks.

    Weekend Pilot was his first book, recounting how he dealt with career stress by buying and learning to fly in a Cessna 140. Next came Flights of Fancy, in which he spreads his private-pilot wings with rented airplanes, then buys a new 1959 Comanche 250. Then in I'd Rather Be Flying he takes us through the instrument and multi-engine ratings.

    The books are fun, and an interesting glimpse into general aviation as it was fifty-plus years ago.

    Smith went on to write monthly columns for Flying then AOPA Pilot magazines.
     
  14. CaptLabrador

    CaptLabrador Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Dauntless Helldivers: A Dive-Bomber Pilot's Epic Story of the Carrier Battles by buell


    I read it a long time ago as a kid and remember loving it.
     
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  15. kontiki

    kontiki Line Up and Wait

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    Non fiction
    Voyager - Yeager and Rutan
    Above and Beyond- The Aviation Medals of Honor
    Seven Came Through, Captain Edward V Rickenbacker
    (True story of his B17 ditching in WWII Pacific)
     
  16. bqmassey

    bqmassey Line Up and Wait

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    Another vote for Chickenhawk.
     
  17. Pilotl1234

    Pilotl1234 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you so much everyone!! I'm going to read all of those soon! Does anyone have any more suggestions for true WWI/WWII stories? Thank you!
     
  18. GMascelli

    GMascelli Pattern Altitude

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    A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

    Book Description

    Release date: December 19, 2012
    Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly, a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber in the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

    This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

    A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of 1,000 bombers each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack.

    Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.”
     
  19. GMascelli

    GMascelli Pattern Altitude

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    If you have time take a few minutes and read Franks blog. He posted book reviews that proved helpful when I am looking for a good read. The books are listed with links, scroll down and look on the right side of his blog.

    I actually started to post a few reviews on some of the books I have been reading.
     
  20. JeffDG

    JeffDG Touchdown! Greaser!

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  21. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    I thoroughly enjoyed "In The Company of Eagles" by Gann.

    WWI
     
  22. moonshine

    moonshine Line Up and Wait

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    You'll enjoy the Weekend Wings. In a way it's all three combined, but then it's different. Lets you pick out the fiction in the original books ;) as well as provides a "in retrospect.." point of view on the same events. Like that long xc to Florida in the TriPacer - in the Wings it's "hooooly cr@p did we screw up". Good read overall
     
  23. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I read that book not too long ago and thought it was good. I've also recently read "China's Wings" which is mostly about William Langhorne Bond and how he helped start an airline in China before WWII. There's also "Lost in Shangri-La about a C-47 which crashes in New Guinea during WWII.
     
  24. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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  25. ColoPilot

    ColoPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For fiction books, I enjoyed Ken Follet's Night Over Water and Hornet Flight. The first is about the Pan Am Clipper seaplane before WWII, and the second is about a de Havilland Hornet Moth during WWII.
     
  26. Jim Logajan

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    I put my own review of "China's Wings" in the post that started this thread (the author also commented, though his post was much delayed):

    http://www.pilotsofamerica.com/forum/showthread.php?t=47793
     
  27. Gary

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  28. atczla

    atczla Filing Flight Plan

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    If you're into the future of air traffic control, check out Human Interference.
     
  29. John221us

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    Not WWII and not non-fiction, but the Jammer Davis series by Ward Larsen is light and fun (kind of like the Mike Hammer stuff). "Fly by Night" and "Fly by Wire".
     
  30. Dan Thomas

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    Another vote for Chickenhawk.

    Try this one: Into the Teeth of the Tiger:
    http://www.amazon.com/Into-Teeth-Tiger-Don-Lopez/dp/1560987529

    The Flying Tiger P-40s and the guys that flew them in China. Read it 30 years ago or more, but remember it as an excellent read.

    I have this one, another good book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Best-Book-Aviation-Stories-Series/dp/B000BO62DY

    In that one is a harrowing story of the first mail flight between Australia and New Zealand, in a Trimotor. Way out over the ocean, past the point of no return, one engine isn't running well and another is losing oil and about to seize up. The copilot performs a shockingly brave feat to save the crew.

    Dan
     
  31. Peteohms

    Peteohms Filing Flight Plan

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    Grey Eagles by Duane Unkefer
     
  32. TomHaines

    TomHaines Pre-Flight

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  33. Vinny

    Vinny Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Surprised nobody has mentioned Antoine de Saint-Exupery. "Flight to Arras" is a great read, about a WWII mission. "Night Flight" is excellent also, about airmail service in Argentina. "Wind, Sand, and Stars" is a memoir of sorts and includes his harrowing experience crashing in the Sahara and being rescued by Bedouins, which was the basis for "The Little Prince".
     
  34. stratobee

    stratobee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Flight of Passage by Rinker Buck. Excellent.
     
  35. Jthamilton

    Jthamilton Line Up and Wait

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    Not in same class as many of the great recommendations listed before me but I highly recommend Bob Hoovers book.

    I knew very little about the man only that he flew a great airshow when I first started flying. Fortunately I was able to have him sign my book the next year when he would sit and staff his booth at OShkosh.

    The read definitely makes you appreciate the legend he is.
     
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  36. Jimmy cooper

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    Fascinating book that I RE read every so often. Flying Fortress by edward Jablonsky. It describes the bloody 100th bomb group flying out of England during WW 2. Google "hang the expense" a B17 flown by " Big Frank Valesh" or "Rosie's Riveters, flown by robert " Rosie" Ronsenthal. Valesh went thru a total of 7 ( seven!) B-17's! Amazing flying by 19-24 year olds as air craft commanders! Don't miss it. It's right up there with books mentioned or better. Valesh almost washed out of cadets, went on to be one of the best!
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014
  37. Jayhawk

    Jayhawk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another vote for Flight of Passage - Rinker Buck. Tied with Wind, Sand, and Stars and Fate is the Hunter for my favorite aviation book.

    Ace of the Iron Cross by Ernst Udet's a pretty good book about World War I flying. If you're into historical fiction, Jeff Shaara's To The Last Man is mostly an account of the Lafayette Escadrille, told through the eyes of Raoul Lufbery and Richtofen. I'd definitely recommend it, enjoyed it way more than I expected.
     
  38. Jimmy cooper

    Jimmy cooper En-Route

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    I ve read many of the afore mentioned but the one I've read several times is edward jablonskis " Flying Fortress" . 19 to 25 year olds, flying left seat in B17s, tells their story as members of the Bloody 100th bomb group, which suffered tremendous losses. Google bloody 100th and look for people like big frank Valesh, or robert Rosenthal ( 52 missions) big frank went thru 7 B17s! Great book. Both pilots were and are legendary, along with many others in that group.
     
  39. MarkZ

    MarkZ En-Route

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    I don't know if it was mentioned before, but TRACON by Paul McElroy was a good read. Squawk 7700, and Hauling Checks are good ones as well.
     
  40. silver-eagle

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    True story: VULCAN 607. Story is about the Avro Vulcan and the Falklands War. From concept, to planning, and execution, it is best described as Britain's equivalent of Doolittle's raid on Tokyo.
    By the way, there is still one flying Vulcan left.