The author of this book, Dana Winslow, was a young American in Paris as France recruited men to fight the invading German forces of the Kaiser at the outbreak of the First World War. Feeling strongly for the plight and cause of the French, he immediately went to Les Invalides and there enlisted in the French Flying Corps as a trainee pilot. This vital first hand account is an essential source work of the period which reveals the training of the earliest French military aviators of the great conflict on the Western Front and it follows Winslow on his 'rite of passage' from inexperienced civilian, to lowly and little regarded aeronautical student (petit bleu) through his first perilous days in the combat zone to his time as an experienced and much prized pilote in the hostile skies over the trenches of the front lines. As may be expected, Winslow takes us to his war of dogfights, mid-air collisions, artillery spotting and reconnaissance in vivid-if humbly recounted-detail. Winslow's book is especially valuable as an insight into the variety of aircraft employed by the French during his time with them and he provides useful details as to their construction, abilities, applications and flying characteristics such-as those of the peculiar 'cut down' Bleriot that was 'the Penguin.' He also gives an interesting view of the business of military flying in wartime, which he distinguishes as entirely separate from piloting, as he describes it, as a mere 'conductor.' Accounts of battling in the air during the Great War are not common, so this volume is, of course, a welcome addition to their limited number and will be of interest to everyone interested in the subject.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket; our hardbacks are cloth bound and feature gold foil lettering on their spines and fabric head and tail bands.