View Full Version : Book recommendations.....

19th Dec 2008, 22:58
Just finished reading Fate Is The Hunter for the umpteenth time. Can anyone recommend any of Ernie's other books? Or books by other authors that are just like it? I love reading autobiographies by airline pilots. Does anyone know any other good ones? I've also read Flightlines by Richard S Drury which was a great read too! Contrails and Pilots of the Line made for good reading too...

19th Dec 2008, 23:10
Sky Roads, Thomas Y. Crowell Company 1940 Gann's first book. Non Fiction
All American Aircraft 1941 Non Fiction
Getting Them Into The Blue 1942 Non Fiction
Island in the Sky, Viking, 1944
Blaze of Noon, Holt, 1946
Benjamin Lawless, Sloane, 1948
Fiddler's Green, Sloane, 1950
The High and the Mighty, Sloane, 1952
Soldier of Fortune, Sloane, 1954
Trouble with Lazy Ethel, Sloane, 1957
Twilight for the Gods, Sloane, 1958
Of Good and Evil, Simon & Schuster, 1963
In the Company of Eagles, Simon & Schuster, 1966
The Song of the Sirens, Simon & Schuster, 1968
The Antagonists, Simon & Schuster, 1971
Band of Brothers, Simon & Schuster, 1973
Ernest K Gann's Flying Circus, Macmillan, 1974
A Hostage to Fortune (autobiography), Knopf, 1978
Brain 2000, Doubleday, 1980
The Aviator, GK Hall, 1981
The Magistrate: A Novel, Arbor House, 1982
Gentlemen of Adventure, Arbor House, 1983
The Triumph: A Novel, Simon and Schuster, 1986
The Bad Angel, Arbor House, 1987
The Black Watch: The Men Who Fly America's Secret Spy Planes, Random House, 1989

All worth a try.

20th Dec 2008, 09:50
Avoid, if you can, this book by retired USN Admiral Paul T Gilchrist. It's interesting in the detail it gives about carrier ops but the writing is very tedious and cliche-ridden. He really does go on about the "...Steely grey eyed...." Every time he moves to a new aircraft you get the potted data from Janes "...wingspan of...fuel capacity of.... " He also comes across as a big headed SOB, trying a little bit not to be a bigheaded SOB. I would not like to have flown with him, or worked with him, or even worse for him. I got it in a second hand book shop in Melbourne and even at reduced price I paid too much (in retrospect).
The Ancient Mariner

Focks 2
20th Dec 2008, 15:56
It's interesting in the detail it gives about carrier ops

Which is the reason why its so popular. Take the macho crap with a pinch of salt.

'Think like a Bird' by Alex Kimbell is a good'en, though not airline.

Trying to get hold of 'Fly No More: Navy Test Pilot' by Brian Davies (RN) for a reasonable price if anyone wants to flog theirs.

20th Dec 2008, 20:25
If you have a passing interest in the space programme of the 60s and 70s, read "Carrying the Fire" by Michael Collins.

It is the best book ever written about the space programme.

For those who don't know, Michael Collins was the pilot of the command module of Apollo 11.

20th Dec 2008, 21:11

Gentlemen they was :ok:

A A Gruntpuddock
20th Dec 2008, 22:11
'An Old Captivity' by Neville Shute. Read, re-read, re-re-read .....

Failing that, 'No Highway' by the same author.

Never found anyone who could put aircraft and people into context in quite the same way. Few dramatics, it's like watching a bricklayer for a few days and suddenly realising he has built the Taj Mahal.

17th Mar 2009, 23:36
Just finished (in two evenings) Left for Dead by Nick Ward. The tale of a crew member of one of the ill fated (weren't they all) '79 Fastnet racers. If you've ever sailed, especially in heavy weather, this book's a full blown, feel it, smell it, hear it like you were there page turner. It seems to me as though he tells the story like it happened without unnecessary embelishment too, which is refreshing.. A highly recommended read.

17th Mar 2009, 23:40
Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; beautifully written and evocative. Actually, anything by Saint-Exupery for describing flying. :ok:



18th Mar 2009, 00:19
Anything by St ex pretty much covers it, especially in the original French. I like Rolling Thunder's list. Most I don't know. All have been added to the list. The only one I have is Gann's Flying circus.

I just love first hand biographys. Makes up for my exceptionally dull flying career. Born out of my time, I'm afraid.

18th Mar 2009, 00:58
Though it was a while ago, I remember enjoying some of Dale Brown's books, his B-52 series that started with Flight of the Old Dog (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_of_the_Old_Dog). Exciting stuff, from a writer who knew the BUFF inside and out, and had some upgrade ideas of his own. :ok:

18th Mar 2009, 02:14
I love reading autobiographies by airline pilots. Does anyone know any other good ones?

North Star Over My Shoulder: A Flying Life by Bob Buck
(From the DC-2 to a TWA 747)

Flight of Passage by Rinker Buck
No relation to Bob - a timeless classic about two teenage boys who restore a Piper Cub and fly it across 1960's America

SkyGods by Robert Gandt
The history and demise of Pan Am

Flying Colors by John Nance
The history and demise of Braniff

18th Mar 2009, 03:33
So pleased that I was going to recommend Fate is the Hunter and you've already read it several times QF411!

Can certainly recommend The Aviator by EKG. More compact than Fate is the Hunter but each page is like a cold beer on a hot day. Savour it.

Phantom over Vietnam (self-explanatory I guess) is an interesting read although bland in comparison to EKG.

Quite old now and nothing to do with aviation, but I can also recommend PS I Love You if you haven't seen the film. So good I was trying to read it even while driving (alright not really but it was in the car and I was almost HOPING for traffic.)

Of course it's a girly book but I think any book that can mist your eyes over is a worthwhile read.

Of course I've HEARD it causes misty eyes. You know.... in SOME people.

18th Mar 2009, 14:35

18th Mar 2009, 15:09
:ok:You might try Richard Bach (gift of wings, Illusions) He gets a bit surreal and slightly childish, but his perspective is original. Try going to Amazon.com and do a search, then look at the hint section. "People who liked this also like..." I realize this is just a tactic to sell, but the hint section off Amazon and Netflix have pointed out some really great stuff that I've never heard of.

There's something about fiction that doesn't work for me. It never happened and there always seems to be some plot contrivance which is total BS. True non-fiction and biography are my favorite. Just finished "Moving Violations" by John Hockenberry, a wheelchair-bound journalist. Terrific book. Don't just read aviation. There are gems everywhere.

sign me.....a.book-o-holic

Jimmy Macintosh
18th Mar 2009, 15:19
Glad no one has mentioned "Yeager, An Autobiography". The guy has had an exciting life but it just oozes arrogance and self importance.

One that was quite interesting was Samurai, by Saburo Sakai, the Angel of Death, very interesting read especially as there don't seem to be many Japanese WWII books.

18th Mar 2009, 16:48
The Big Show by Pierre Clostermann. An exceptionally good account of his flying in WWII in both the Spitfire (yawn) and the Hawker Tempest and flying with the RAF as a Free French AF pilot.

Not bad for a Frogge. This book is a VERY GOOD READ. Do yourselves a favour!!


18th Mar 2009, 17:05
"Flames in the Sky" also by Pierre Closterman.

After an excellent landing you can use the airplane again!

18th Mar 2009, 17:18
It refers to the old adage about aircraft landings, that 'any one you can walk away from was a good one.'

Even if the aircraft is a smoking wreck surrounded by fire engines, if you walked away; it was a good landing.

Thus, if the aircraft is servicable for the next flight, and requires no reattachment of wings and/or hammering of aluminium etc. it was an 'excellent' landing...

18th Mar 2009, 17:22
Yes but why does he use it in this context? It must have some sort of euphemistic application. What does it mean when you throw in that particular line?

Jimmy Macintosh
18th Mar 2009, 17:45
That's Flashes signature.

Cornish Jack
18th Mar 2009, 18:18
Any or all of the previously mentioned, of course, and you might care to try something nicely light and readable by 'one of ours' - "Flying People" by Graham Perry. Recently had the pleasure of reading it and much enjoyed same. GP writes from the perspective of one who the late, lamented Roger Bacon would have described as " a total aviation person". A nice amalgam of auto biog and exposition on things aeronautical and some titbits of information which I had not come across before. To add to the mix it is well illustrated by 'figment' cartoons. Nice!

18th Mar 2009, 19:33

Nevil Shute wrote several books with an aviation theme. Always a nice easy read.

18th Mar 2009, 19:55
Yeah, including the factual/autobiographic "Slide Rule", also excellent.

After an excellent landing etc...

18th Mar 2009, 20:14
Recommended it before but what the h3ll - 'First Light' by Geoffrey Wellum. A true gent.

18th Mar 2009, 21:43
'First Light'
Read this a few months ago. Smashing read. Epitomises the characters who just got on with the job of combat flying and survived if they were lucky.