Flights of Passage

Flights of Passage

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by Samuel Hynes
     
 

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He was a wide-eyed teenager when he left his Minnesota home in 1943 to learn to fly. By the end of World War II, he was a battle-worn Marine bomber pilot who'd survived more than a hundred missions in the Pacific. With stunning eloquence and breathtaking clarity, Samuel Hynes recalls those extraordinary years: the madness of war and the horror of death, the

Overview

He was a wide-eyed teenager when he left his Minnesota home in 1943 to learn to fly. By the end of World War II, he was a battle-worn Marine bomber pilot who'd survived more than a hundred missions in the Pacific. With stunning eloquence and breathtaking clarity, Samuel Hynes recalls those extraordinary years: the madness of war and the horror of death, the friendships forged in cockpits and gin mills, the wives and sweethearts left at home, and the wonder of flying-that exquisite harmony between pilot and machine aloft in the insubstantial air. More than a combat tale, this is the story of one man's remarkable rite of passage in that timeless world of innocence gone to war.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hynes, a professor at Princeton, looks back with amused nostalgia at the wide-eyed, eager youngster he was as an aviation cadet and then as a Marine lieutenant who saw action in the Pacific as a light-bomber pilot. The memoir, however, is only secondarily about combat. Mostly it tells what it was like to be ``young and happy and silly'' while training for, then participating in, the Second World War. The author recalls that he had three major goals in those days: getting drunk, getting laid and getting into the war. Hynes includes classic military-on-the-make anecdotes, and, although he and many of his fellow pilots considered ``gross and ugly'' the behavior of the more sexually aggressive members of the squadron, their gross and ugly antics are tenderly, and hilariously, depicted. The author married during the war, and his description of the relationship (he and his wife were part of a ``game'' that, in retrospect, he calls ``Grown-ups'') is as moving as his account of the first combat death he witnessed. 35,000 first printing. (March)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Teenager Hynes (now Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, Princeton) took naval flight training, became a Marine bomber pilot, and late in World War II flew over 100 missions against the Japanese. His scintillating descriptions of this time, of his friends and often bawdy fellow pilots, of his tentative romantic adventures, and of new vistas and challenges, are woven together with skill and intelligence. This is not a standard story of courage in war, but rather a tale of the dogged and mortal persistence to pass many versions of ``the Test'' that training and combat and even sex presented to a young man preparing for war. An introspective, winning, and vivid recollection sketched by a gifted observer. Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781929490103
Publisher:
Beil, Frederic C. Publisher, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/25/2001
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.78(d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Hynes is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature emeritus at Princeton University. He served as a Marine Corps combat pilot from 1942 to 1953. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross (for his war service) and the Robert F. Kennedy Award (for The Soldiers' Tale) and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

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Flights of Passage: Recollections of a World War II Aviator 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written book by an obviously gifted writer who seems to describe him self as a careless and irresponsible Naval Aviator. He writes of his little concern for his own crew members. He goes on ad nauseam regarding his fascination with raunchy limericks. He describes his poor flying judgement and careless unprofessional approach to flying safety which results several times in danger to others, unnecessary damage to aircraft and wasteful costs to taxpayers. He talks of his inattention to duty on anti-submarine patrol which would endanger those in the fleet he should have been protecting. The author deserves very high marks as an honest and talented writer but it seems a shame to represent Naval Aviators in such a poor light. My experience as a Naval Aviator leads me to believe the authors actions and attitudes were not typical.