Sagittarius Rising

Sagittarius Rising

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by Cecil Lewis
     
 

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‘Classic . . . the definitive account of aerial combat – full of passion and poetry’ – Max Arthur, Independent ‘Magical evocation of the lonely battle fought in the clouds’ – The Daily Telegraph ‘This is a book everyone should read. It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either. The boy had all the noble

Overview

‘Classic . . . the definitive account of aerial combat – full of passion and poetry’ – Max Arthur, Independent ‘Magical evocation of the lonely battle fought in the clouds’ – The Daily Telegraph ‘This is a book everyone should read. It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either. The boy had all the noble tastes and qualities, love of beauty, soaring imagination, a brilliant endowment of good looks . . . this prince of pilots . . . had a charmed life in every sense of the word’ – George Bernard Shaw

Sent to France with the Royal Flying Corps at just seventeen, and later a member of the famous 56 Squadron, Cecil Lewis was an illustrious and passionate fighter pilot of the First World War, described by Bernard Shaw in 1935 as 'a thinker, a master of words, and a bit of a poet'.

In this vivid and spirited account the author evocatively sets his love of the skies and flying against his bitter experience of the horrors of war, as we follow his progress from France and the battlefields of the Somme, to his pioneering defense of London against deadly night time raids.

REVIEWS

”…brings to life the illustrious career of a passionate fighter pilot…engaging and spirited account…beautifully written and by turns horrifying, moving and exhilarating, this is a stirring tribute to the remarkable young men who risked their lives daily in the golden age of aerial combat.”
Lone Star Book Review, 1/2011

Editorial Reviews

Lone Star Book Review
"…brings to life the illustrious career of a passionate fighter pilot…engaging and spirited account…beautifully written and by turns horrifying, moving and exhilarating, this is a stirring tribute to the remarkable young men who risked their lives daily in the golden age of aerial combat."
Library Journal

A born aviator, Lewis was winging his way over France as a member of the Royal Flying Air Corps at the ripe old age of 17 and ultimately became a member of Britain's top squadron of World War I fighter pilots. Lewis recalls his experiences in this 1936 memoir in which he relates his love of flying and the horror of aerial combat.


—Michael Rogers
From the Publisher
Praise for Sagittarius Rising:

“This is a book everyone should read. It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either. The boy had all the noble tastes and qualities, love of beauty, soaring imagination, a brilliant endowment of good looks . . . This prince of pilots had a charmed life in every sense of the word; he is a thinker, a master of words, and a bit of a poet.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“A magical evocation of the lonely battle fought in the clouds.”
The Daily Telegraph

“Classic . . . the definitive account of aerial combat—full of passion and poetry.”
The Independent

“I have read a number of different accounts of aviators in the First World War, but the world that Cecil Lewis unveils in Sagittarius Rising is unlike any other I have previously read about … What makes this book so special is not only Cecil Lewis’s story, but the way in which he shares his life experiences. He writes so eloquently, painting an amazingly detailed picture with his words ... If I had to pick the one book that I could own on the personal accounts of aviators from the First World War, this book would be it … [Lewis’s] ability to captivate your imagination with his words makes for a book that is very difficult to put down once you start reading it.”
Aero (January 2007)

“This beautiful work evokes the air war of 1914-1918 in an unusual and moving way. It was written by a sensitive artist who, unlike so many of his comrades, had his life preserved by a series of fortunate assignments during his career as a combat pilot. He thus acquired the skill to match his love of flying, and so survived the war … Given that Cecil Lewis left school at 17, lying about his age to get into the Royal Flying Corps, his ability with words is astounding. Even more remarkable is that much of his 1936 Sagittarius Rising is written with passionate, embracing enthusiasm of youth. His foreword wryly acknowledges this, asking the reader’s forgiveness for his inclusion of some tentative romantic encounters … a book that everyone who loves aviation should read.”
Aviation History (November 2007)

“If you want to read one book which best captures the heroic infancy of flying, then Sagittarius Rising is it. Forget St-Exupery, Lindbergh or even Richard Hillary. Cecil Lewis got there before any of them, and in this magical memoir summed up the terrible beauty of flying, and fighting the first air war, waged in the skies above the Western Front.”
—Nigel Jones, BBC History Magazine

Sagittarius Rising is his stirring, often moving, account of his years with the corps, fighting on the Western Front. The vivid descriptions of dog-fights (including an encounter with the Red Baron) and the exhilaration of flight transcend Boy's Own Paper banality through his poignancy and lyrical depth.” —The Times

"This pretty new Penguin edition of his book sports an eye-catching cover illustration by Matthew Taylor and a wonderful Introduction by aviation historian Samuel Hynes...it’s mighty good fun to spend time in airman Lewis’s company."
Open Lettters Monthly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781848325197
Publisher:
Frontline Books
Publication date:
10/03/2009
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Sagittarius Rising:

“This is a book everyone should read. It is the autobiography of an ace, and no common ace either. The boy had all the noble tastes and qualities, love of beauty, soaring imagination, a brilliant endowment of good looks . . . This prince of pilots had a charmed life in every sense of the word; he is a thinker, a master of words, and a bit of a poet.”
—George Bernard Shaw

“A magical evocation of the lonely battle fought in the clouds.”
The Daily Telegraph

“Classic . . . the definitive account of aerial combat—full of passion and poetry.”
The Independent

“I have read a number of different accounts of aviators in the First World War, but the world that Cecil Lewis unveils in Sagittarius Rising is unlike any other I have previously read about … What makes this book so special is not only Cecil Lewis’s story, but the way in which he shares his life experiences. He writes so eloquently, painting an amazingly detailed picture with his words ... If I had to pick the one book that I could own on the personal accounts of aviators from the First World War, this book would be it … [Lewis’s] ability to captivate your imagination with his words makes for a book that is very difficult to put down once you start reading it.”
Aero (January 2007)

“This beautiful work evokes the air war of 1914-1918 in an unusual and moving way. It was written by a sensitive artist who, unlike so many of his comrades, had his life preserved by a series of fortunate assignments during his career as a combat pilot. He thus acquired the skill to match his love of flying, and so survived the war … Given that Cecil Lewis left school at 17, lying about his age to get into the Royal Flying Corps, his ability with words is astounding. Even more remarkable is that much of his 1936 Sagittarius Rising is written with passionate, embracing enthusiasm of youth. His foreword wryly acknowledges this, asking the reader’s forgiveness for his inclusion of some tentative romantic encounters … a book that everyone who loves aviation should read.”
Aviation History (November 2007)

“If you want to read one book which best captures the heroic infancy of flying, then Sagittarius Rising is it. Forget St-Exupery, Lindbergh or even Richard Hillary. Cecil Lewis got there before any of them, and in this magical memoir summed up the terrible beauty of flying, and fighting the first air war, waged in the skies above the Western Front.”
—Nigel Jones, BBC History Magazine

Sagittarius Rising is his stirring, often moving, account of his years with the corps, fighting on the Western Front. The vivid descriptions of dog-fights (including an encounter with the Red Baron) and the exhilaration of flight transcend Boy's Own Paper banality through his poignancy and lyrical depth.” —The Times

"This pretty new Penguin edition of his book sports an eye-catching cover illustration by Matthew Taylor and a wonderful Introduction by aviation historian Samuel Hynes...it’s mighty good fun to spend time in airman Lewis’s company."
Open Lettters Monthly

Meet the Author

Cecil Lewis (1898–1997), the longest-living flying ace from WWI, joined Great Britain’s Royal Flying Corps at age sixteen and served as a combat pilot, a test pilot, and a flight instructor during the First and Second World Wars. After the wars, he went on to cofound the BBC, where he was a writer, a producer, and a director. In 1938, he won the Oscar for cowriting the screen adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

Samuel Hynes is the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Emeritus at Princeton University and the author of a number of books, including his highly praise memoir, Flights of Passage, the Robert F. Kennedy Award–winning nonfiction book The Soldier’s Tale, and several major works of literary criticism. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Sagittarius Rising 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago