Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I

Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I

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by Blaine Pardoe
     
 

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An accurate, thoroughly researched, and riveting tale of a World War I American fighter ace.See more details below

Overview

An accurate, thoroughly researched, and riveting tale of a World War I American fighter ace.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Breezy, journalistic biography of America's greatest World War I fighter ace-until a German ace shot him down six weeks before the armistice. Frank Luke Jr. (1897-1918) grew up in turn-of-the-century Arizona; high school classmates in Phoenix noted his fondness for guns, horseplay and football. In 1917, the year America declared war on Germany, he enlisted in the fledgling Army Air Corps. Everything about this revolutionary new branch of warfare, including the aircraft, training and tactics, was improvised, unreliable and extremely dangerous; combat pilots had a life expectancy of three weeks. Novelist and military writer Pardoe (The Cruise of the Sea Eagle, 2005, etc.) recounts Luke's training in the United States and France, summarizes America's role in the war and provides short biographies of fellow pilots and commanders. In July 1918, the rookie pilot joined the 27th Squadron at the front, where his self-confidence, boastfulness and aggressiveness quickly made him unpopular with the squad's veterans. They warmed up to Luke as his score of kills grew. By autumn, it had reached 18, and stories of his achievements began appearing in American newspapers, which extolled him as the "balloon buster." (Destroying observation balloons was a very dangerous mission because balloons were heavily defended.) Within days of Luke's death in September, fellow ace Eddie Rickenbacker had replaced him in the headlines, and Luke's name eventually faded away to become the answer to a trivia question. Readers may wince at the author's overheated writing style and penchant for describing his subjects' inner feelings, but they will admire the research that turned up a generous trove of letters and diaries,enabling Pardoe to deliver a detailed picture of the not-very-introspective airman's short life. Military buffs who overlook the purple prose will enjoy a brisk, nuts-and-bolts description of air warfare in the murderously flimsy flying machines of 1918.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781616082949
Publisher:
Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
07/27/2011
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,371,907
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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