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Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by drafttek, Aug 7, 2007.
Heck I never even knew there was a movie. I loved the book.
Great book. But what really surprised me was how different two books written about similar things and similar time frame can be.
Compare that to the "North Star over my shoulder" by Bob Buck - airliners don't go crashing left and right, life's good with the notable exception of having to pump the gear and flaps on DC-2's (that gruesome part never appears in the "Fate is the Hunter") - and he retired a 747 captain. Go figure.
My favourite flying books is still "Weekend wings" by Frank K. Smith
The greatness of the book, "Fate is the Hunter", isn't so much that it was written as a book for aviators. It gave non-aviators the first detailed look at the life of a professional pilot during a unique age and time.
Island in the Sky -- 1944
The High and the Mighty -- 1952
Fate is the Hunter -- 1961
Yeah, well I guess Gann was trying to support a theme with FITH... the ol' Death lurks on every airway" sort of thing.
He claims in the foreword that none of the stories are based on real people or experiences, but the list of names at the end is very real.
Island in the Sky was made into quite a good movie.
In the movie version of The High and the Mighty, I got bored with passengers telling their life stories, so I skipped through those parts. Consequently, I could very much relate to the gag in Airplane! where a passenger hangs herself while being regaled by a fellow passenger with his life story!
I think the movie scene in The High & Mighty where the captain goes back into the tailcone during flight actually comes from a chapter in Fate Is The Hunter where he's looking for the intermittent vibration.
In Fate Is The Hunter, some particular credit has to be given to Gann for admitting he and his co-pilot didn't run to the possible aid of the crashed DC3 occupants enveloped in smoke and fire, while others were quick to do so.
Undoubtedly, another positive aspect of "Fate is the Hunter" is that it has stood the test of time. The book's longevity and its ability to strike a chord with even the newest generation of pilots is an impressive feat.
As impressive as Fate Is The Hunter continues to be, as I re-read Gann's "Flying Circus" I find it more encompassing of the many other facets of early aviation besides the airlines and heavy air transport, plus with the bonus of richly colored and highly detailed aircraft paintings by R. Parks for each chapter.
Many of these paintings portray aviation scenes that escaped photography forever, such as the thunderstorm and lightning surrounding a Ford Trimotor being tossed aloft at night.
I couldn't agree more.
Guess it's a matter of taste, but I found "Fate is the Hunter" to be utterly sublime.
OK, you can laugh... but as a ex-professional writer myself (retired now) I do recognize superior prose when I read it...and Ernie was a frickin' master.
How's THAT for a highfalutin' review?
It takes a strong person to admit to what what may have appeared as cowardice. Though in the end, it was a very human reaction.
One of the beauties of writing is the ability to at least partially exorcise one's personal demons. I think just telling that story must have helped him come to live with it. At least I hope so.
Thing to remember about Gann is that he was a story teller first, long before he became an aviator.
I was stunned and moved by this part of the book.
I became a fan of Gann when he described Newark. 70 years later the description still fits. Practically an aviation prophet.
ROFL. Great point.
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I hear Gann's voice every time I find myself 50 feet off altitude.
The only quibble I've ever heard about 'Fate is the Hunter' is that sometimes pilots in modern airplanes follow his advice concerning use of DC-2 deice boots.
The movie? Gann took his name off of that movie because he hated it, thereby passing up on many thousands of dollars in royalties.
It's worth it to watch, just for the fun seeing the copilot slap the captain.
If someone has a copy they want to share, I'd like to read it and pass it on.
I think chapter one of Flying Circus captured the ache that comes from a friend and pilot leaving and never coming back.
I liked the movie for the really interesting character development. Lots of stuff there that you didn't normally see in movie in those days. Also the well-played virtue of personal loyalty despite man's apparent flaws.
That was the best book I ever tried to read if I wanted to go the sleep. I could wake up in the morning, drink three cups of coffee, and Fate would still put me to sleep. Just because it's about aviation doesn't make it interesting.
Wager With the Wind by James Greiner.... the story of Don Sheldon? Now that's a good book for aviation enthusiasts. And if you like Mt. McKinley, also read Minus 142* by Art Davidson. Those are my two favorite books about Alaskans.
I think that was The High and the Mighty.
Definitely the best book on flying I've ever read.
If Gann wouldn't use a whole paragraph to describe how a moon faced pilot's eyes glisten in the sun it would have been 1/3 as long as it was. I liked his flight training stories and the heater in the DC-3. I liked the story about scud running and dropping the antenna down to determine when they were 50' above the water. Everything else was pretty boring.
Well, there's no accounting for tastes. My only problem with the book was that it was over too soon!
I'm guessing you don't like Game of Thrones, huh? I'm a relatively fast reader and read (according to my Kindle) something like 4% of one of the GOT books during a 3 hour flight from SLC to ATL. George R. Martin has a way with words. And more words. And more...
Gann was a piker in comparison.
But I loved Fate is the Hunter.
I found Fate to be well written as far as vocabulary goes. Vivid prose. Much more colorful than most aviation stories.
If Fate is the Hunter found you wanting more, find a copy of Gann's Hostage to Fortune. Whereas Fate is the Hunter was an autobiography of just a segment of his early professional flying years, Hostage to Fortune covers most of his life from making silent movies as a kid to first learning to fly and then the transition to full time author. Lot of tidbits that shed more light on things he talked about in Fate is the Hunter.