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I Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography Hardcover – August 1, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 574 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (August 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553078070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553078077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Best remembered as leader of the 1942 raid over Tokyo, Doolittle later commanded the U.S. 8th Air Force in England. After the war he was active in the reorganization of our defense establishment and became director of several companies in the private sector. Doolittle, with retired Army Air Force colonel Glines, here recounts his knockabout Alaskan youth, his experiences as a miner in California, his brief but successful career as a prizefighter, and his adventures as a aerial-show "aerobat" and later as a test pilot. Air history buffs will appreciate the detailed comments on the technological advances stimulated by competition for the Bendix and other air-race trophies during the '20s and '30s, races in which Doolittle was a prominent participant. The book recalls vividly Doolittle's days as an aviation pioneer--and retells the exciting story of the Tokyo raid. The rest, mostly dealing with the general's top-level leadership during the remainder of the war, his successes in the business world after retiring from the Air Force and the reception of innumerable honors and awards, is less interesting. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Octogenarian Doolittle, with coauthor Glines ( The Doolittle Raid , LJ 10/15/88) uncovers no scandals and reveals no skeletons in telling the story of his life. What emerges is a portrait of a thoroughly decent human being whose relative unconcern for his military reputation is especially refreshing in this genre. Doolittle's proudest memories come not from his years in high command but from the cockpit. A brilliant pilot and a trained aeronautical engineer, he contributed significantly to the development of American aviation prior to 1941. Doolittle clearly regards the high point of his wartime service as preparing and leading the 1942 raid against Tokyo. Otherwise he presents himself as a man who had the good fortune consistently to be in the right places at the right times. Doolittle's account underplays his own energy and ambition, qualities without which no one reaches senior rank in the armed forces. Nevertheless, his modesty, his pride of craft, and his sense of duty are admirable.
- Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I'm an aviation history buff, and this is THE most interesting Aviation history book I have read.
UltimateGifts
I was especially amazed to find out that the movie quotes on the Doolittle raids were actually true; the guy actually said such powerful stuff.
Goody
Jimmy Doolittle's life story is quite amazing; here it is told with honesty and integrity from the man himself.
BN_Stump

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Konrei TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 11, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I COULD NEVER BE SO LUCKY AGAIN, written when Jimmy Doolittle was in his nineties, is a thoroughly refreshing glimpse through a glass lightly at a truly rare bird, a genuine American hero.

Written in the nonrevisionist tenor of PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, Doolittle's life story is told in a straightforward style in which the man fairly leaps off the page at you to grab you in a bear hug. Jimmy Doolittle lived to be nearly one hundred, and his zest for life explains why.

Best known for leading the "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" Raid of 1942, Doolittle did so much more. A true aviation pioneer,barnstormer, inventor, and rugged individualist, he was also the holder of an engineering doctorate, literally dozens of piloting records, and was a happily married man, to boot.

There are no skeletons unearthed, and no deep critiques of the literally thousands of people who passed through Jimmy Doolittle's life, including gold miners and Presidents. This is a memoir in the best sense, not character assassination masquerading as autobiography. Sometimes silence is golden.

On the other hand, Doolittle's self-effacing, humorous brand of Self is reflected in the amusing letters he received from friends such as Roscoe Turner and General "Georgie" Patton. His was an era of true loyalties and good old fashioned gumption.

Jimmy Doolittle was a man who loved life, and it shows.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David Traill VINE VOICE on December 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jimmy Doolittle is a giant in the aviation world. Although most remember him for the Tokyo bombing raid if 1942 (see the movie Pearl Harbor for his latest incarnation), Doolittle was responsible for many of the safety measures now taken for granted by pilots in the world today in the early daus of test flying in the Army Air Corps. He left the service, did some private consulting, and when World War II loomed ahead of us, he returned to duty, rising to a position of senior leadership in the war in Europe.
Doolittle achieved great success in the air, but this book will also teach the reader about his scientific abilities, and his corporate roles played in life, as well as his influence on some major policy movements in the US Government and the military after his retirement.
For just the story on his involvement in the Tokyo Riad, this would be well worth the read. However, this book is much more than that, and very well told by a modest, gentleman warrior of a different era.
For another account of the Tokyo Raid, I would suggest Ted Lawson's Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Kendal B. Hunter on February 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is for the fans of "The Greatest Generation"-type books. Both Patton and Macarthur got cinematic limelight, but we hear less about Admiral Nimitz, and even less about Doolittle. This book completes the Temple of the World War II Titans.

As I read, two things impressed me. First was Doolittle's down-to-earth and conversational style. I felt like he was sitting next to me, chatting on the on the golf course, and just reminiscing between tees. The second was the drastic changes in flight that occurred during his fourscore and ten years. He saw aviation from the Wrights brothers to the Space Shuttle. All in one lifetime!

I was also surprised how involved he was in developing aviation technology--he had a hand in the modern cockpit instrumentation. Things such as the artificial horizon, radar, and the dashboard layout came, in part, from him.

Other surprising things were behind-the-scene info Billy Mitchell, supply problem in WWII, and also the three friendly fire incident he was involved with. It puts a perspective on the current conflagration.

In order to round out the book, you need two supplementals. The first is to see "Patton." Doolittle provided the air cover for Old Blood and Guts, and the book contains many references and quotes from Patton. Yes, he was accurately portrayed in the movie, except for his voice. Doolittle mention he had a high, almost feminine quality to his voice, which explains his potty tongue.

The second is to read "Catch-22." Yes, Heller is writing about serving under Doolittle. As I read, I wondered if Dreedle=Doolittle.

This book is even-tampered in its approach to war. It is not as idealized as John Wayne, but did not swerve into the demoralizing MASH or Platoon.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
General Doolittle's book is refreshing to me because (1) it is a real autobiography that sets forth more hare-brained crash scenarios than most men would admit to, and (2) he is an extremely modest man. Unlike most WW II "historical accounts" that spice up the language (if not the action) with colorful detail that cannot be documented, General Doolittle sets forth many excerpts from his log books and other historical documents with no color added. His modesty and self-effacement are charming.

He is remembered primarily for his spectacular Tokyo raid and his leadership role in the 8th Air Force, but perhaps his greatest contributions to our victory in the Big One were the invention of instrument flying and his between-the-wars role in the development of high-octane aviation fuel, which gave us an advantage in aerial combat that is not sufficiently appreciated.

Doolittle was an effective leader in part because he flew representative dangeroous missions with his men and tended to manage his outfits from the cockpit, despite instructions to the contrary from Eisenhauer. His creativity and innovation derived from his unique technical grasp of aeronautics rank him alongside MacArthur's Gen. Kenny for military effectiveness in the confusion of conflict, but some of greatest contributions are in the civil arena following the war.

The book is not written in the style of great literature, but it is factually correct and well documented as one might expect, coming from a distinguished pioneeer with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering rather than a PhD in Literature from Oxford. He tells us how it was.

This is the most book I have gotten for the dollar in a long time.
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