Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the Twentieth Century

Overview

Eddie Rickenbacker epitomized the American spirit in the twentieth century. Daring, skilled, and rugged-moving fast and defying death-he drove race cars in the early days of the automobile, then flew canvas-over-wooden-frame aeroplanes in the Great War, downing twenty-six enemy flyers and emerging at war's end as the nation's ace of aces. Failing as an automobile maker after the war, Rickenbacker returned to aviation. He joined Eastern Airlines in 1934, only to depart under pressure in 1963, despite having built ...
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Overview

Eddie Rickenbacker epitomized the American spirit in the twentieth century. Daring, skilled, and rugged-moving fast and defying death-he drove race cars in the early days of the automobile, then flew canvas-over-wooden-frame aeroplanes in the Great War, downing twenty-six enemy flyers and emerging at war's end as the nation's ace of aces. Failing as an automobile maker after the war, Rickenbacker returned to aviation. He joined Eastern Airlines in 1934, only to depart under pressure in 1963, despite having built the company into a major carrier.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Film lovers shudder when they think about the scene in Goldfinger where James Bond is strapped to a metal table as a laser slowly cutting it in two inches toward him. As physics professor Parker (The Isaac Newton School of Driving) reminds us, however, you can't see a laser beam. Bond is always sent out with the ultimate boy toys: a wristwatch with a built-in buzz saw, a pen with metal-dissolving acid, even a spin controller that can stop a slot machine right on the jackpot. Parker explains in layperson's terms the physics behind many of Bond's stunts and devices: the basic principles of motion as he out-skis an avalanche in On Her Majesty's Secret Service; how the hologram works in The World Is Not Enough; the science underlying the villain Blofield's voice changer in Diamonds Are Forever. When Parker gets away from the physics, however, his writing is plodding, and there are too many blow-by-blows. All in all, it's neither as exciting nor as much fun as a Bond movie. 90 b&w illus. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The Western Front Association
This book will give a whole new generation of readers insights into a truly unique American character.
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Lewis provides readers with the definitive biography of this extraordinary man.
California Bookwatch
Makes for an avid story not just of Rickenbacker and his world, but of an evolving transportation industry.
Technology and Culture
Lewis has given us an unabashedly individual and heroic story from the heart of our era's passion for motorized speed.
Journal of American History
Lewis's intent is to replace Rickenbacker's self-promoting, ghost-written autobiographies with a reliable scholarly life.
Airways
A riveting read—certainly the best telling of the Rickenbacker story we are ever likely to have.
Skyways
This well-written and well-researched biography tells the life story of one of America's greatest, most widely-recognized, and controversial airmen.
Booklist
Lewis is comprehensive about his subject.
Washington Times
Mr. Lewis' research, 15 years of it, is meticulous, showing the beauty of how fact-based reality can top fiction for excitement, irony and tragedy. Mr. Lewis has painted a balanced, complete picture of an extremely complex man. It's obvious the author has a love for his subject, but this is not hagiography: All aspects of Rickenbacker's personality are laid on the table.
H-Net Reviews H-War
[Lewis] has compiled the definitive biography of Eddie Rickenbacker, an often forgotten American hero and entrepreneur. Exhaustively researched and well written, Lewis's study chronicles the life and achievements of Rickenbacker from his humble beginnings as the son of Swiss immigrants through his rise to heroic military veteran and founding father of American auto racing and airline travel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801882449
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2005
  • Pages: 720
  • Sales rank: 1,024,324
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Until his death in September 2007, W. David Lewis was a Distinguished University Professor at Auburn University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents


Preface     ix
Prologue: A Boy and His Flying Machine     1
Starting Line     3
Ignition     21
Acceleration     46
Full Throttle     64
Shifting Gears     88
Takeoff     112
Learning Curve     141
A Matter of Luck     159
Climax     186
Homecoming     218
Domestic Front     242
Frustrations     282
Comeback     307
Apex     319
Pivot     353
Call to Duty     382
Pacific Mission     414
New Mandate     450
Anticipating Victory     484
Turbulence and Descent     501
End Game     530
Epilogue: In the Arena     549
Acknowledgments     553
Notes     557
Essay on Primary Sources     641
Index     653
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