×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Glen Edwards: The Diary of a Bomber Pilot
     

Glen Edwards: The Diary of a Bomber Pilot

by Daniel Ford, Glen Edwards
 

In 1941 at the age of 23, Glen Edwards learned to fly in a wood, metal, and fabric biplane; in 1948, he died in the fiery crash of a Northrop Flying Wing, one of the Air Force's most advanced jet-propelled bombers. As a combat pilot in North Africa and Italy during World War II and as a test pilot during a postwar era of unprecedented aeronautical innovation,

Overview

In 1941 at the age of 23, Glen Edwards learned to fly in a wood, metal, and fabric biplane; in 1948, he died in the fiery crash of a Northrop Flying Wing, one of the Air Force's most advanced jet-propelled bombers. As a combat pilot in North Africa and Italy during World War II and as a test pilot during a postwar era of unprecedented aeronautical innovation, Edwards was counted among the best of a new generation of military aviators. In 1950, as it was on the verge of becoming the Air Force's premier flight-testing center, the isolated desert base in Muroc, California, where Edwards crashed was renamed in his honor.

Situating Glen Edwards's diary in the context of World War II, the development of flight testing, and the advent of an independent U.S. Air Force, Daniel Ford shows how military pilots during the 1940s were expected to augment seat-of-the-pants bravado and precision flying skills with rigorous academic training. Conveying both the exhaustion of combat and the exhileration of flying some of the world's fastest, most sophisticated planes, Edwards's diary entries trace the full trajectory of his career: the near-daily bombing missions over Africa and Italy for which he won the Distinguished Flying Cross, a record-breaking cross-country flight in 1945 as the lead pilot of the Douglas XB-42 "Mixmaster," his assignment to Wright Field, "the Mecca of all Army pilots," a stint at Princeton to study aircraft stability and control, and participation in developing the Northrop YB-49 Flying Wing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The fascinating diary of the WWII bomber and postwar test pilot (after whom Edwards Air Force Base was named) placed into context by Ford, a contributing editor at Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine. Although many WWII memoirs have appeared in recent years, Edwards's rises above the rest with his honest and captivating accounts of daily life for a combat pilot in Africa. Also excellent is Ford's commentary: He gives non-flying readers all the necessary technical information without attempting a course in aeronautical engineering. Edwards's training and combat career are interesting, but less colorful than his indoctrination into the first ranks of the armys test pilots (this in the days before the Air Force was formed). His accounts of jumping into any plane he could get near, and of hopping through the country in search of beautiful women, sometimes, even, Hollywood starlets, offer a unique perspective on the world just after the war, when multitudes of young men returned from overseas and the military pilot was just as much a symbol of glamour as the movie idol. Edwards himself was assigned soon enough to head the test program on the radical and ill-fated Northrop Flying Wing Bomber (he would be killed during testing).While at work on that, he contributed important findings to aircraft research and helped to change the position of test pilot from one offered to any skilled pilot to that of a highly trained scientist. Edwards's own words are skillfully interwoven with Ford's, offering a richly detailed account of postwar aviation and the infant years of the military-industrial complex. (photos, not seen) (From Kirkus Reviews; Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.)

Ford [has] a splendid writing style and understands the modern Air Force. Reading his book is a real treat. (Military Review, 1999)

Highly recommended. (Today's Library, 1999)

A fascinating tale and a tribute to an unassuming man who simply loved to fly. (Air&Space/Smithsonian, 1999)

Kirkus Reviews
The fascinating diary of the WWII bomber and postwar test pilot (after whom Edwards Air Force Base was named) placed into context by Ford, a contributing editor at Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine. Although many WWII memoirs have appeared in recent years, Edwards's rises above the rest with his honest and captivating accounts of daily life for a combat pilot in Africa. Also excellent is Ford's commentary: He gives non-flying readers all the necessary technical information without attempting a course in aeronautical engineering. Edwards's training and combat career are interesting, but less colorful than his indoctrination into the first ranks of the army's test pilots (this in the days before the Air Force was formed). His accounts of jumping into any plane he could get near, and of hopping through the country in search of beautiful women—-sometimes, even, Hollywood starlets—-offer a unique perspective on the world just after the war, when multitudes of young men returned from overseas and the military pilot was just as much a symbol of glamour as the movie idol. Edwards himself was assigned soon enough to head the test program on the radical and ill-fated Northrop Flying Wing Bomber (he would be killed during testing).While at work on that, he contributed important findings to aircraft research and helped to change the position of test pilot from one offered to any skilled pilot to that of a highly trained scientist. Edwards's own words are skillfully interwoven with Ford's, offering a richly detailed account of postwar aviation—-and the infant years of the military-industrial complex. (photos, not seen) .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560985716
Publisher:
Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date:
10/17/1998
Series:
History of Aviation Series
Pages:
195
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Ford has spent a lifetime reading and writing about the wars of the past hundred years, from the Irish rebellion of 1916 to the counter-guerrilla operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is best known for his history of the American Volunteer Group—the 'Flying Tigers' of the Second World War—and his Vietnam novel that was filmed as Go Tell the Spartans, starring Burt Lancaster. Most recently, he has turned to the invasion of Poland in 1939 by Germany and Soviet Russia. Most of his books and many shorter pieces are available for Amazon's Kindle ebook reader. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews