Hermann Goring Fighter Ace: The World War I Career of Germany's Most Infamous Airmanby Peter Kilduff
Over the last 70 years, in countless books and essays, Hermann Göring has been defined by his crimes and excess during the Third Reich and the Second World War. But his activities as a young career military officer in World War I have invariably been glossed over – until now. 'Hermann Göring – Fighter Ace' is the first in-depth look at Göring’s role as a military flyer and air combat leader from 1914 through the end of The Great War, and how those experiences shaped the personality that came to the world’s attention in 1939.
At the outset of the First World War, Göring was eager to prove his value to his fatherland in initial skirmishes with French troops. When struck by severe rheumatoid arthritis in September 1914, the twenty-one-year-old officer’s burning ambition and ego could not tolerate being sidelined and the following month he forced himself out of a sick bed to begin a new career as an aviation observer. Göring went on to become a fighter pilot with twenty-two downed enemy aircraft to his credit, the last wartime commander of the Red Baron’s own fighter wing, Jagdgeschwader Richthofen, and recipient of a row of prestigious medals including Prussia’s highest bravery award, the Pour le Mérite.
Peter Kilduff has produced a landmark volume based on extensive research into Göring’s early military records and thousands of German and Allied documents to put the neophyte airman’s life and events into perspective. Among other resources, Kilduff drew on Göring’s own combat reports and related writings.
Illustrated with over eighty drawings and photographs, including many from Goring’s private collection and never before published, Herman Göring – Fighter Ace is a tour de force of historical material covering the early combat career of one of the Twentieth Century’s most infamous military figures. Peter Kilduff is an acclaimed American historian and the author of thirteen aviation books covering biplanes to jets, including 2009’s Black Fokker Leader which was also published by Grub Street.
“… a top flight narrative with many new photos and appendices that detail Goring’s victory claims as well as those of pilots who flew with him throughout his career, and the men who became casualties under Goring’s command... a “must have” for anyone’s collection.”
Over the Front, Autumn 2010
“A master WWI aviation historian examines Göring's record as a military flyer and combat leader.…reveals the extraordinary ambition, love of publicity and ruthlessness exhibited by Goring as a junior officer and commander, as well as during his horrendous Nazi career.”
Western Front Association, 08/2010
“… paints a fascinating picture of Hermann Goring known worldwide for his crimes during the Nazi regime but shown here as an intelligent, extremely talented and driven fighter pilot during the first World War. With extensive research including flying records and psychological evaluations, updated by current experts, and intimate knowledge of aviation, Kilduff explores the life and early military career of this larger-than-life tragic figure, who has been post-diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and a subset called Nobel Prize Complex). … filled with photographs and never-before printed drawings, tables of flying victories and enemy losses, an index, bibliography and extensive endnotes.”
Books News, 11/2010
“At last, a book by an aviation historian providing a detailed study of Hermann Goring’s military career with emphasis on his service during WWI as a successful fighter pilot and leader… helps to explain the man he became and who, until now, has been known to us principally as an infamous Nazi leader.
Cross and Cockade, 12/2010
“…reveals some genuine acts of heroism and displays of professional leadership. More intriguingly however, are hints of the anti Semitism, the narcissistic self-delusion, the penchant for self serving exaggeration and the talent for making influential contacts that emerge in the course of Goring’s rise.”
Aviation History, 11/2010
“…an outstanding new work…superior…the very best account to date of Goring’s rather murky early life…”
Military Advisor, Winter 2010/2011
“Undoubtedly what makes this book attractive immediately are the 75 photographs found on nearly every other page, which puts faces to the names and helps readers see the places that were important to Goring during his career as a German pilot in the First World War…a fresh look…
"...a valuable contribution to the literature surrounding Göring, and avoids deterministic allusions in favor of a source-derived account of the childhood, adolescence, and early adult life of one of the twentieth century's most appalling figures. Anyone interested in World War One aviation history should read it, and it should also be recognized as the standard work on the early life of a significant National Socialist figure"
Carl J. Bobrow, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
“Kilduff is very knowledgeable about his subject. His discussion of the process for claiming aerial victories is particularly enlightening. The high-quality book is beautifully bound and printed. Goring himself took many of the photographs. Interestingly, Kilduff provides in the endnotes a synopsis of the career of every Allied airman Goring claims to have shot down…a useful work and an enjoyable read”
“… a valuable contribution to the literature surrounding Göring, and avoids deterministic allusions in favor of a source-derived account of the childhood, adolescence, and early adult life of one of the twentieth century's most appalling figures. Anyone interested in World War One aviation history should read it, and it should also be recognized as the standard work on the early life of a significant National Socialist figure.
Richard Byers (North Georgia College & State University) Published on H-War (April, 2013)
- Grub Street
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- 6.80(w) x 9.70(h) x 0.80(d)
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Meet the Author
Peter Kilduff has been studying and researching aviation history for over fifty years. He was a journalist and professional communicator for over forty years, and retired as Director of University Relations at his Alma Mater Central Connecticut State University.
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