Book Reviews

Flying is an experience in its own right – A book review

Do you come from a flying family? Have you ever considered flying for a living or getting your flight license to experience something really great? Are you looking forward to owning a flying car in your lifetime? Well, if so, or if you just like aviation, I have a great recommendation, an excellent book that I think you should read. No, it’s not a new book, and it’s not just one book, in fact it’s several books in one – some 75 stories in all, each easy to read and just the right length. The name of the book is:

“Men In The Air – The Best Flight Stories of All Time, From Greek Mythology to the Space Age”, edited by Brandt Aymar and Walter J. Boyne, Wing Books, New York, New York, 1990, pp 597 , ISBN: 0-517-14656-8.

The book is true to the title as the first chapter is the famous story of Daedallus and Icarus, Greek mythology of a father and son flying with their artificial wings and the son getting too close to the sun has the wax on the wing melts and he falls to his death unable to maintain altitude. Then we have several science fiction short stories including one by Isaac Asimov; “To Saturn And Back” then the book starts with stories of human powered flight and some very good ones I might add.

On the human-powered flight front, there are stories about airships, balloons and airships – then the Wright brothers, Lindberg, and the designs and history of Sikorski who made the first viable helicopters. I found the stories of mail theft, barnstorming, air races and early air shows thoroughly interesting.

The book is not without conflict as it is about the first World War I flying aces in Europe. World War II flight stories are numerous and involve stories of pilots from all sides of the war; Japanese, Allied forces, American, Luftwaffe and Russian airmen. There are stories of pilots in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.

The final set of stories are about women pilots in aviation – a must read to inspire future female pilots – I highly recommend reading all of the stories there. Interestingly enough, there are also interesting stories about flying and weather – as well as the Hurricane Hunters.

The book has significant sections on the Propeller Age, the Jet Age, and the Space Age. Our most famous Apollo astronauts have stories told, intense, heartbreaking and nerve-wracking tales. I think you will like this book as much as I do. Be Great – Don’t Hesitate.

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