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I have no idea of possible titles or authors, but...
Are there any good books on the subject of WW2 pilots (any nationality[s]) who continued in commercial aviation after the war and were involved in starting up the many airline operations that burgeoned during the ensuing years?
I would like to read of their exploits and experiences--both in handling their military a/c during and after the war as well as the new commercial types that were developed.
I would be grateful for any contact offering loan, purchase or just pointing me to a title that my library might be able to acquire.
If you haven’t read it already, Ernest K Gann’s ‘Fate Is The Hunter’ is a must. Buy it NOW!
Amazon has it in stock on <A HREF="http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671636030/qid=976097029/sr=1-1/026-2608308-4250029" TARGET="_blank">http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671636030/qid=976097029/sr=1-1/026-2608308-4250029</A>
Now that you mention it, I am aware of Gann's "Fate..." Might have seen it in a Readers Digest condensed volume at some time, but never read it. Seems like now is the time to do so.
BTW, I came across my h/b copy of The Ghost of Flight 401 [Fuller] recently (now where the hell did I put it?). Regarding a recent ghost story thread on this forum and requests for same, I will give this book to any good home in PPRuNe-world. I'm at email@example.com
Gavin Young`s history of Cathay Pacific is a good read.
"Beyond Lion Rock" - it describes the growth of the airline from a post-war operation flying cargo in DC3s using recently de-mobbed pilots to what it is today (or rather was in 1995, as that`s when it was written, I think...)
There are no good authors of late re 'flying' books.I've not gone beyond my predudice to read John Nance's(Braniff) book's!!Although Len Morgan(Braniff) is the natural extension of Ernie Gann.(Len should write more).Other authors are:
David Beatty(circa 50/60's)
Neville Shute(Circa 30/40's)
Robert J Serling,Heavy Prop's/jets
"tiger by the tail" Alvin Moscow
Having recently read The Battle of Hamburg (Martin Middlebrook) it occurred to me that some of these Lancaster/Wellington/Stirling and B17 pilots would have made it through and continued on in civilian flying.
Their accounts of their wartime and early civilian flying would make fascinating reading, I think.
uA, Try "The Sky Beyond" Sir Gordon Taylor. ISBN 0-553-23949-X. I rate it as one of the best descriptions of oceanic route development.
"Pathfinder" AVM DCT Bennett. Again early oceanic flying, then a huge contribution to strategic bombing. The unfortunate story of BSAA isn`t here and it dissolves into a bit of a blimpish tirade, but you have to admire the man who was so driven he wrote " The Complete Air Navigator" on his honeymoon.
If you care to go back a further generation then Cecil Lewis`s "Sagittarius Rising" ISBN 0-14 00.4367 5 tells a good tale.
Just a personal thing, but much as I enjoy "Fate is the Hunter" and a couple of the other books, esp "The High and the Mighty", by the time I got a third of the way into "A Hostage to Fortune" I`d had enough of Earnie. I finished it but it didn`t improve.
While on the subject of books, about a year ago I read of a forthcoming book on the old Imperial Airways flying boat service to Africa and of a mission to rescue one of these craft after it had holed its hull and sunk.
The book should be out now but stupidly I forgot to make a note of the title. I would certainly like to read this. Anyone come across it yet? If so can you tell me what it is called?
Try looking for Archie Jackson's books such as "Can anyone see Bermuda? : Memoirs of an airline pilot (1941 - 1976)". Describes his time in the RAF, British South American Airways and BOAC from Lancastrians to Super VC-10s.
"Behind the cockpit door", by Arthur Whitlock is a very good read about his lifetime in aviation, and might be what you're after. Came out about 8 years ago, but a library might be able to obtain a copy.
[This message has been edited by HOGE (edited 18 December 2000).]
Some will have seen Mel Gibson's latest offering, "We Were Soldiers", a better than average movie telling the story of one of the first major battles between the US Army and the Peoples' Army of North Vietnam in the Ir Drang valley in November 1965. I enjoyed the movie, but the (what seemed to me) very obvious "Hollywood ending" made me go out in search of the book to see what really happened.
If you're looking for a very good read, I couldn't recommend the book on which the movie is based too strongly. "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young" by Lt Gen Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway (Corgi) 0 552 15026 6 is a terrific read.
Surprisingly, Hollywood has stuck very close to the truth in just about 95% of the story - (the fact is, what actually happened is so amazing that a screen writer didn't need to 'jazz it up' in any way). It's just a pity that the studio 'suits' felt they had to come up with the pap and nonesense of that final charge and the helicopter gunships' pure Hollywood intervention at the very end - what actually happened would have been dramatic enough.
If you've seen the movie, do yourself a favour and get the book, for it describes both what happened in the movie and the really nasty battle that occurred two days later only two miles away, where a sister battalion of the American Air Cav was overrun, with one company suffering 100 casualties from an effective strength of 108 men.
If you're only into Aviation stories, then this book might also be for you, because what those Army helicopter pilots did in operating into the 'hot' LZs in the two battles described simply beggars belief, but they did it.
And if you're a middle aged American or Australian who ever took part in any demonstration that denigrated the soldiers who took part in the Vietnam War, I'd like to think you'd feel more than a little uncomfortable after reading this book.
Try Master Airman by Alan Bramson if you can find it. It is the story of AVM Donald Bennett CB CBE DSO, the youngest AVM ever I beleive. He had a very successful war, but struggled afterwards. A fantastic story.
I would recommend "Round the Bend" by Nevil Shute , who in addition to being a dam' fine novelist, founded his own aircraft manufacturing company (Airspeed, later absorbed during WW2 by DH), was FRAeS, flew single-handed from UK to Australia and back in a Proctor V, and generally had a long and direct connection with both private and commercial aviation throughout his life.
The story concerns a start-up air freight operation based in the Gulf and eventually extending to Oz.
(added by edit) E-mail me. If you're not in Outer Plumbago or somewhere, I'll loan you a copy at no charge.