Escape of the Pacific Clipper

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Plans for the December 1941 maiden journey of the Pacific Clipper, Pan American Airway's newest and most technologically advanced flying boat, were thrown into chaos when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. With the Japanese Navy having destroyed all friendly bases in the Pacific, the Pacific Clipper was forced to return to New York without arms, money, or maps, dodging Japanese and German forces and landing on isolated lakes and rivers. This is the story of the 11-man crew and their odyssey. Includes b&w photos, maps, and schematic drawings. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780828320269
  • Publisher: Branden Books
  • Publication date: 7/28/1997
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 1.16 (d)

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Reasonable fiction, lousy documentary

    The author of this book, George Flynn, is a former U.S. Air Force officer, free lance writer, editor, and film producer. As such, one would expect a high quality production. Escape of the Pacific Clipper is not. The book is highly fictionalized, based on a historical event and, for readers not expecting a good documentary, it makes for pleasant and interesting reading. The fiction, far from emulating actual events, is smoothly interwoven throughout the story; it is sometimes difficult to discern where the fiction ends and facts begin. There are so many glaring typographic, spelling and grammatical errors throughout the book - well over a hundred, maybe as many as three hundred - that one would not expect them to escape the pen and review of a writer claiming such qualifications. Worse yet, there are many technical errors regarding aircraft, aviation and war (some of which I know from personal experience, others I've vetted through book-inspired research) that a former Air Force officer should not make that exacerbate the lack of quality. For example, the plane he calls an "amphibian" - a plane that lands on either water or land - is actually a "flying boat" - or seaplane - that has no wheels and can only land on water, a fact he mentions from time to time, but still calls it an "amphibian". And there are numerous other technical errors of different types. The abundance of technical errors casts doubt on every portion of the documentary that cannot be readily verified from other sources. If you are looking only for a novel with a historic basis and don't care about facts, I give this book four stars; if you want a good documentary, it deserves only two stars. Needless to say, I was greatly disappointed with Flynn's version of this interesting historical event accomplished by a resourceful Pan Am flight crew very determined to return to the U.S. and bring the brand new, state of the technology, aircraft home safely. So, in the end I rate it generously at three stars.

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