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Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle — Aviation Pioneer and World War II Hero Hardcover – June 1, 2005


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Calculated Risk: The Extraordinary Life of Jimmy Doolittle — Aviation Pioneer and World War II Hero + I Could Never Be So Lucky Again
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Santa Monica Press; 1St Edition edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891661442
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891661440
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A barnstormer, a prize-winning air racer, a key strategist and flier in major WWII bombing campaigns, an eventual air force general and a pioneer of engineering test piloting (blind flying and the outside loop)—Doolittle (1896–1993) is a familiar figure to air buffs. This affectionate but not uncritical biography by one of Doolittle's granddaughters usefully supplements existing material, particularly the autobiography I Could Never Be So Lucky Again. It recounts almost a century of achievements, from surviving an abusive childhood in Alaska to high school athletics, learning to fly and marrying his high school sweetheart during WWI. Along the way, before getting to Doolittle's notable achievements in WWII and afterward, we get wife Josephine's perspective on such things as their sons raising birds in their room, long winter flights in a family plane with no heating and her husband flying with both ankles in casts and having affairs with New York models. Even allowing for a granddaughter's partiality and occasional lapses of style, Josephine Doolittle emerges as a heroic figure in her own right (a pioneer in what would now be called counseling PTSD veterans) and in every respect a worthy match for her husband, who seems to deserve all the praise he has received. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

General Jimmy Doolittle is best remembered for leading an air strike over Toyko in 1942. He also was the first aviator to fly cross-country in under 24 hours (in 1922) and the first to fly blind, using only his plane's instruments. He won numerous speed trophies, was awarded many medals, and commanded three air force groups during the war. This book is a memoir written by Doolittle's granddaughter, in which she recounts her grandfather's early life in Nome, Alaska, and his years in the service. He served on an aerobatics team, studied the mechanical side of flight, and promoted strategic bombing that significantly altered the course of World War II. The author also describes her grandmother's public role, including attending War Bond rallies, USO functions, and Red Cross fund-raisers. Doolittle drew on such sources as her grandfather's wartime letters to his wife and hundreds of letters sent to them over the years. A personal account of a very public man. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I recomend this book for anyone interesed in Aviation.
Maui Mike
I want to thank Jonna Doolittle Hoppes for taking the time to write such a wonderful book about her grandparents.
Rick O'Kelley
His story is wonderful and written by his daughter, has a more personal tone.
I. R. McGee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alan Jenkins on October 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I can sum this up in a very short space. This is a well written book that not only gives an insight into General Jimmy Doolittle's contributions to our nation and the world, but also into his family and his wife's contributions on the home front during WWII. As far as I am concerned, no history class should be taught without this book as required reading.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dorothy L. Folk on March 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was purchased for my son who is interested in WWII planes and fliers, and since I was a civilian during WWII and lived through that era, this book was definitely to be read (especially after watching Life and Times on our local KCET station and the granddaughter was interviewed regarding this book). Both of us enjoyed reading the life of this remarkable man and it was a must for his growing library.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By W. Fields on May 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is about the family life of Jimmy Doolittle written by his granddaughter. It's touching in every aspect of what a family goes through over the years. After reading this book you will understand why his biography is titled " I Could Never Be So Lucky Again" by CV Glines, and why he is known as "The Master of Calculated Risk."
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David Alden on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This isn't a fun review to write. The author is clearly a loving granddaughter and her grandparents were special people. But the book doesn't hang together well. Story lines are initiated and never completed or seem to begin in the middle. Many times I flipped back to see if pages has stuck together because I found myself in the midst of a story that didn't seem to fit. It's too bad. The author has stories worth sharing, but her manuscript seems to have received nary a editor's mark.

I liken learning to decorating a Christmas tree. Having lots of pretty ornaments is great, but one must start with a sturdy tree. Similarly, learning is about having a strong tree, or framework, and then adding ornaments, or facts, relationships, anecdotes, etc. to the framework. This book is a box of interesting ornaments but with a tree that needs work. If a reader already knows the narrative of Jimmy Doolittle's life, then this book might be completely enjoyable and worthwhile. But to a reader coming to Doolittle for the first time, this book would be confusing and unsatisfactory. A reader should start elsewhere and only return here if additional insights are desired.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By khurram shahzad on November 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An entertaining account of life of a legendary Air Force hero. Captivating - read it in 3 days. Throws light on the history of initial days of aviation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gerry on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book as I had previously read "I Could Never Be So Lucky Again" by Gen. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle and Col. C.V. Glines. This book sort of dives into the personal later/adult life of Gen. Doolittle in both a touching and sentimental manner to which Gen. Doolittle sort of shied away from within his Autobiography. The Autobiography comes out the year before his death and this book dove tails his complete story. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to also read the Autobiography of Gen. Doolittle. I read this book directly following the Autobiography and believed this to be an important work in addition to Gen. Doolittle's life account. I would only recommend this book in this fashion as a stand alone book I would not have rated it higher than maybe 3 stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great shape ,on time good price. I plan on using this again. their were different options to chose from ,so I am well satisfied.
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By Rick O'Kelley on February 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I want to thank Jonna Doolittle Hoppes for taking the time to write such a wonderful book about her grandparents. Having written publicly about my own life, parents, and grandparents I know how difficult it is to give a true accounting of one's family and Jonna's book appears to tell the good and the bad of her grandparents. No one is perfect so one should not expect perfection in the Doolittle family. I recommend this book to both males and females of all ages but I especially recommend this book to newly weds, it is an excellent book to give as a wedding gift because it shows how a true partnership between a husband and wife can do great things for every member of a family.

Everything I have read about the Doolittles support that Jimmy and Joe were true and equal partners who didn't compete with each other but complemented each other. In our modern times some might find Joe's role as the primary homemaker demeaning but I don't. If that is what Joe wanted out of life and Jimmy was okay with it, then who has the right to judge. Joe clearly was a person who could set and talk with Jimmy as his equal, she chose her life and Jimmy chose his and he likely would not have been able to do all he did without Joe being his rock that he could anchor to, we are lucky they did because they help secure the life, liberty, and happiness that we all live today and for that they both receive my thanks and admiration.

I found Jonna's book an easy read making it a difficult book to put down. It will be a book I will read again and perhaps again. It was a great read.
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