The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight

The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight

by Winston Groom


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The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight by Winston Groom

Written by gifted storyteller Winston Groom (author of Forrest Gump), The Aviators tells the saga of three extraordinary aviators—Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle—and how they redefine heroism through their genius, daring, and uncommon courage.
This is the fascinating story of three extraordinary heroes who defined aviation during the great age of flight. These cleverly interwoven tales of their heart-stopping adventures take us from the feats of World War I through the heroism of World War II and beyond, including daring military raids and survival-at-sea, and will appeal to fans of Unbroken, The Greatest Generation, and Flyboys. With the world in peril in World War II, each man set aside great success and comfort to return to the skies for his most daring mission yet. Doolittle, a brilliant aviation innovator, would lead the daring Tokyo Raid to retaliate for Pearl Harbor; Lindbergh, hero of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, would fly combat missions in the South Pacific; and Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace, would bravely hold his crew together while facing near-starvation and circling sharks after his plane went down in a remote part of the Pacific. Groom's rich narrative tells their intertwined stories—from broken homes to Medals of Honor (all three would receive it); barnstorming to the greatest raid of World War II; front-page triumph to anguished tragedy; and near-death to ultimate survival—as all took to the sky, time and again, to become exemplars of the spirit of the "greatest generation."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426213694
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Publication date: 09/15/2015
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 156,782
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

WINSTON GROOM is the author of 14 previous books of nonfiction and fiction, including Shiloh 1862, Vicksburg 1863, Patriotic Fire, Shrouds of Glory, Forrest Gump, and Conversations with the Enemy (with Duncan Spencer), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He lives with his wife and daughter in Point Clear, Alabama.

Table of Contents

Map of Pacific Theater in World War II 10

1 These Three Men 12

2 The King of Dirt 18

3 The Man with the Outside Loop 39

4 Can Those Be Stars? 63

5 Air Combat Is Not Sport, It Is Scientific Murder 84

6 New York to Paris 124

7 Man's Greatest Enemy in the Air 161

8 I Was Saved for Some Good Purpose 186

9 An Inspiration in a Grubby World 226

10 His Halo Turned into a Noose 264

11 The Raid 301

12 We Were Slowly Rotting Away 342

13 The Lone Eagle Goes to War 378

14 Masters of the Sky 417

Notes 445

Notes on Sources and Acknowledgments 449

Bibliography 452

Index 456

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The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Gripping Tale of Three Aviation Heroes Winston Groom’s prose never disappoints, and this gripping history of three aviation giants is no exception. Following the lives of Charles Lindberg, Jimmy Doolittle, and Eddie Rickenbacker, this engaging account provides a personal angle to this pivotal era in human innovation and heroism. Although aviation experts may not be surprised by much of the information herein, this is nonetheless a well-researched and well-written account that I found very fresh and insightful. Although it may be difficult to imagine a time when air travel was in its early stages, Groom’s storytelling brings this unforgettable era in history alive with an intriguing attention to detail that will keep you turning the pages. A fine specimen of nonfiction that every aviation enthusiast or history buff should read. If you enjoy this book, another insightful and historic account on early aviation is Adeleide Ovington's memoir "An Aviator's Wife."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love history but even if you don't love it you will find this book an easy read. Follow three well known aviators and see how similar their lives were and how they all served not only aviation but the nation. I have recommended it to many
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased the book as a gift for a recent high school graduate who is interested in aviation. Teenagers often have very little knowledge of the early pioneers of flight.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Well done
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It becomes painfully obvious that the author had no concept of the existing technology at the time events described were taking place. Waste of money!
PelotaRH More than 1 year ago
The book contains too many factual errors, some so fundamental it amazed me that any reasonably educated person would spot. Such as the author declaring that Germany in WW II invaded and  conquered Sweden and Finland. Sweden was neutral and Finland fought on the side of Germany. And inviting readers to believe that Britain defeated Germany in the Battle of Britain due to using a higher  octane fuel in their fighters. No military historian even mentions this. Silly: on landing in Paris following his  Atlantic flight, Lindbergh stepped out on the wing of his aircraft; the Spirit of St. Louis was a monoplane , with the single wing above the cockpit. The P-47 manufactured in Willow Run, Michigan: not so; only on Long Island and Evansville, Indiana. And by my count, at least a dozen  more factual errors. The author  seemingly did little research and the editor no support. The author, editor, and publisher failed readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So well written... these historically amazing aviators came to life, and by the end they had become dear friends I hated to leave. Learning personal and private information is most interesting and make these men human. The history that is presented far out shadows what we learn in high school history classes. i kept thinking I wish our current leaders would have the moral fiber and integrity of these men; perhaps this should be required reading for those seeking to lead!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to put it down. Interesting to read. We've come a long way since Rickenbacker, Lindbergh, and Doolittle pioneered aviation, and this book takes us on that trip. Fascinating. Good reminders of World War I and World War II as well as of their personal journeys. Billy Mitchell's name is also prominent.
JudyL75 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book, very well written;  At times unbelievable what these guys went through and tenaciously stuck out for the sake of aviation and their country.    They pushed the envelope, sometimes with a lot of luck avoiding death's door. None showed any arrogance considering the notoriety all three attained.  This book held my attention, I couldn't wait to read on and on about their endeavors.  I was very impressed with the lives and accomplishments of all three but Charles Lindbergh seemed was the best to me because he "got it" in that he was sensitive all along to the beauty of flight and aviation but also the downside that it brought to people during WWI and WWII as well as the effect (good and bad) it has had on far-flung peoples of this world.  This is one of those books I will pick up again and read.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent read about the esrly days of aviation.
carbolt More than 1 year ago
A interesting concept. But it is one metaphor and cliche after another. Seems to be written for grammar school students.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book as a gift. It was received with great enthusiasm.