Solo: My Adventures in the Air

Solo: My Adventures in the Air

5.0 2
by Clyde Edgerton
     
 

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When Clyde Edgerton was four years old, his mother took him to the local airport to see the planes. For Edgerton, it was love at first sight. Eighteen years later, she would take him to the same airport to catch a flight to Texas for Air Force pilot training. In Solo, Edgerton tells the story of his lifelong love affair with flying, from his childlike wonder

Overview

When Clyde Edgerton was four years old, his mother took him to the local airport to see the planes. For Edgerton, it was love at first sight. Eighteen years later, she would take him to the same airport to catch a flight to Texas for Air Force pilot training. In Solo, Edgerton tells the story of his lifelong love affair with flying, from his childlike wonder to his job as a fighter pilot flying reconnaissance over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Now, nearly thirty-five years after the war in Vietnam, he looks back at his youthful passion for flying, at the joy he took in mastering it, at the exhilaration—and lingering anguish—of combat flying. It is a story told with empathy and humor—and with searing honesty that will resonate with every pilot who remembers the first takeoff, the first landing, the first solo. For the nonpilots who always choose the window seat, it’s a thrilling story to live vicariously.

Editorial Reviews

William Grimes
One of the great pleasures of this modest, winning memoir is his rediscovery of his youthful passion. In Annabelle, a funny-looking, high-nosed three-person plane, Mr. Edgerton finds true love the second time around. It's a match made in sky-blue heaven, with just enough room, in the back seat, to accommodate a happy reader.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Beginning with a fateful trip to a local North Carolina airport at age four and ending with midlife adventures in a small private plane, novelist Edgerton (The Floatplane Notebooks, etc.) turns to autobiography, using his lifelong relationship with aircraft and flying as his navigational center. Four years in UNC's air force ROTC led to service in 1970-1971 as a forward air control pilot in Vietnam, flying missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail out of Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand. "I do not agree with everything the United States is doing in V.N.," he wrote in a letter home, "but I do believe we should be there." (Like other former believers in the domino theory, Edgerton, who was decorated for his role in a rescue mission, later bitterly changed his mind.) Edgerton presents his flying life dryly and clinically, and includes a great deal of aeronautical detail. The book ends with a paean to his Piper Cub, bought in the late 1980s, and more reflections on Vietnam. Much of the book reads as if Edgerton were sifting the technical details of flying and flight for clues into his own character without quite being aware of his audience. Buffs will get it, but others will be left on the tarmac. Agent, Liz Darhansoff. (Sept. 9) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What started with Edgerton (Lunch at the Piccadilly, 2003, etc.) learning to fly airplanes comes full circle through war, then back home to a horizon full of doubts. Edgerton's mother was protective, but she also wanted her boy to be independent and worldly, so she agreed to let him fly, first in high school, then as a ROTC candidate in college. As Edgerton patiently explains the fundamentals of flying-from physics to check lists, instrumentation, lifting off, landing, recovering from stalls (Edgerton will make your hair bristle here)-he conveys the distinct personalities of aircraft and his own experiences with them: Cherokee 140, Laredo, T-41, T-37, T-38, F-4, and the OV-10 that he later flew on missions in Vietnam. Before then, though, each plane was a passage toward a destiny he couldn't have imagined, each one a bit of training with fun and high jinks, mock dogfights, nights spent stealing the general's car. Edgerton brings an energy and innocence to these proceedings, though they prepare neither him nor the reader for what was to come when he shipped to Japan. There was the real possibility of nuclear engagement with North Korea, but that fact slipped over his head. What couldn't pass him by were bombing runs on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, or searching for downed pilots, many of them lost forever (though they maintained radio contact while on the ground for some time). Since then, Edgerton has done a lot of brooding about his war years, about how flying, once so bright and pure, became a vehicle for misgivings that collapsed into discomfort and dread, then regret. He even has a swansong later in life, but his nose gets dirtied and he's ready to hang up the goggles. Flying wasEdgerton's crazy love, and his story of the affair goes ineluctably from the smitten and folksy to the fraught. File under, "Icarus."
Men's Journal
“Edgerton is either the best living novelist to fly planes or the best living pilot to write novels. . . . [He] gives readers an intensely rewarding aerial view of war, passion, and 400-mph adventure.”—Men’s Journal
Southern Living
“I reveled in this true story of an Air Force pilot’s love affair with the skies. . . . With vivid recollections, Edgerton gives a candid account of his passion for flight, displaying his trademark humor.”—Southern Living
The New York Times
“[A] spare, heartfelt celebration of the flying life.” — The New York Times
From the Publisher
“[A] spare, heartfelt celebration of the flying life.” — The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565124264
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
09/09/2005
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.15(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Spellbinding, exciting, funny, informative, moving, and beautifully, beautifully, beautifully written.”—Tim O’Brien

“Exhilarating. . . . If you like flying, you’ll love this book.” — Michael Korda

Meet the Author

Clyde Edgerton is the author of eight novels, five of which have been New York Times Notables. He is a professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and performs with his band, Rank Strangers. Author Web site—www.clydeedgerton.com.

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Solo: My Adventures in the Air 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wats up
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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