Customer Reviews


199 Reviews
5 star:
 (179)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure
I'm a writer and an aviation enthusiast, not a pilot, but I'd have to rank this as one of the two best books I have read in the last decade, and far and away the best aviation book I have ever read.
This is a rare combination -- Gann not only has many wonderful yarns to spin but is a writer of truly top-drawer literary ability. As others have said, the book stands...
Published on July 12, 1998 by Mark K. Mcdonough

versus
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fate is the Hunter
This 1986 paperback does not contain all of the material included in the original edition of 1961. There are numerous experiences and anecdotes omitted. For example, the episode on which the movie, "Fate is the Hunter" is based, is not included in this new edition. Some of the best material has been left out.
Published on June 10, 2001 by Ralph Bufkin


‹ Previous | 1 220 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure, July 12, 1998
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
I'm a writer and an aviation enthusiast, not a pilot, but I'd have to rank this as one of the two best books I have read in the last decade, and far and away the best aviation book I have ever read.
This is a rare combination -- Gann not only has many wonderful yarns to spin but is a writer of truly top-drawer literary ability. As others have said, the book stands up well to repeated reading. My copy is battered and torn, but much loved.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gann's Theory of Life, February 19, 2001
By 
Peter G. Roode (Gainesville, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
This classic ought to be read by every pilot. Not only is the prose superb but along the way he treats us to his Theory of Life
He regards life as a war -- an undeclared war against fate, the fate that hunts men down. "... One can never know when, where, or how fate will strike. Yet sooner or later it does...." Blind random events without a perceptable cause. FATE.
"Tell me now,... by what ends does a man ever partially controls his fate? It is obvious ... that favorites are played, but if this is so, then how do you account for those who are ill-treated? The worship of pagan gods, which once answered all this, is no longer fashionable. Modern religions ignore the matter of fate. So we are left confused and without direction".
Gann concludes, "Perhaps we should hide in childlike visions of afterlife wherein those pronounced good may play upon harps and those pronounced evil, stoke fires?" The first chapter sets the theme of the book. A mid-air collision is averted simply because Gann chose to descend 50 ft to his assigned altitude of 5,000 a few moments before. The other plane was just a tad sloppy. In these days before ATC and radar, it was all position reports. Why did Gann chose to descend? Why was the other pilot 50 ft high? His only explanation is FATE, and it is as good an answer as any. At these times, Gann says, "... diligently acquired scientific understanding is suddenly blinded and the medieval mind returns. In describing NTSB investigations of crashes, a cause always has to be arrived at, even when the investigators privately know that the true explanation is that "...some totally unrecognizable genie has once again unbuttoned his pants and urinated on the pillars of science".
FATE IS THE HUNTER is dedicated "To these old comrades with wings now folded"... a listing of 349 names, in an unknown order. Echoing the randomness of FATE, at random places throughout this book Gann repeats his litany: So-and-so was killed in an instrument approach to SLC. etc
Gann describes an encounter with freezing rain on a night trip from BNA to EWR. They picked up 4" of clear ice and carried it all the way to Cincinnati. He characterizes this encounter as his first with true disaster, "... heretofore we had not yet been thoroughly frightened or forced to look disaster directly in the face and stare it down". After having "merely nodded to fear" he found that "Now we must shake its filthy hand". They survived, landing with rudder frozen, forward visibility obscured, and empty tanks. Was it skill or fate? Gann notes that due to some unknown quirk, the DC-3 they were scheduled to fly that night was down for maintenance, and an ancient DC-2 was substituted. The DC-2 was a much better ice carrier...
After a (zero-zero) takeoff from Presque Isle during which steel radio tower pieces slid to the rear, making the DC3 almost unflyably tail heavy, they proceed to Goose Bay in Labrador, and then 1300 miles to their "dubious destination", Bluie West One (now the town of Narssarssuaq), 60 miles up the center of a trio of fog shrouded fiords in Greenland. He is advised to enter the correct fiord, unless he has learned how to back up an airplane. The flight and approach to Greenland is hard for today's instrument rich pilots to imagine. Finding the coast of Greenland obscured by a low lying stratus, they are forced to let down (sans radio aids) gingerly. They break out a few hundred feet above the water, 1 mile visibility, and find an iceberg ahead to them, its top poking up to the overcast. Describing it as "wickedly beautiful" he contemplates that FATE has let him off once again. They choose a fiord (can't see the other three in the mist, consequently can't be sure if it is the right one), and 15 minutes later land on a one-way runway.
They fly by dead recogning across the North Atlantic, make a night let down (sans weather), Reykjavik remains curiously radio silent, and breakout at a mere 60 feet or so. They determined the nearness of the ocean by trailing their radio antenna, with its lead "fish" weight on it. When yanked away by striking the ocean they know to stop descending. They find their destination airport, at night, by dead reckoning alone. The radio silence was the result of a mix-up. Given the wrong code they were thought to be enemy aircraft.
The war over, the tyranny of seniority numbers frustrates Gann. He quits his job, and joins the verteran Sloniger (seniorty #1) to fly for an un-named steamship company that wanted to fly the Pacific and compete with Pan Am. Flying DC-4's with new Dash-13 engines, Gann has all four quit on a run to Honolulu. He limps back to SF and all work fine. The mechanics can find nothing wrong. The engineers chide him on now knowing how to properly lean them. This all culminates in a flight with the engineers (by then Gann knows they will run fine below 3,000 ft.) When they cut out despite the engineers manipulating all engine controls, Gann enjoys their discomfiture then brings them home safely. They never did figure out what was wrong with the engines. Eventually they were scrapped. (The nameless genie again.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most exciting and inspiring book I have ever read., July 12, 1998
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
I have read and re-read "Fate is the Hunter" so many times that the pages are loose and falling out. You are not just reading the best aviation book of all time, you are in the cockpit behind the master himself, as he savors the illicit thrill of a zero-zero takeoff from a fog bound Presque Isle airport in a C-47 during the war, taking a load of steel girders to Goose Bay. Just after takeoff, the girders break loose and slide to the rear of the aircraft, which starts a climb so steep that the plane is shuddering in a stall. As Gann and his co-pilot are pushing the control column forward as hard as they can with their feet a crewmember is trying to move the girders back up the near vertical floor.
Gann's writing so inspired me that I wanted to become an airline pilot, but my flying ability was just slightly better than Bixby, his inept co-pilot that almost collided with the Taj Mahal, another fascinating story later on in the book. I became a dispatcher instead, an occupation I truly loved, which was also inspired by Gann's interaction with the dispatchers of his line.
I wrote Ernest Gann at his home in Friday Harbor, Washington and tried to convey just how much I enjoyed "Fate is the Hunter" and what an impact it made on my life. I received short note from him. It was very gracious and humble, and is one of my greatest treasures.
I also highly recommend "Hostage to Fortune", a chronology of Gann's incredible life from a rebellious young man that could never follow his father into business and be chained to an office, through a lifetime of adventure, to his retirement on Red Mill Farm, on an island in the Pacific northwest.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plane Truth, January 24, 2005
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
I am pleased to see that people are still reading this wonderful book; it has long been one of my favorites. Author Ernest K. Gann is probably better known for his novels, esp. THE HIGH AND THE MIGHTY, but FATE IS THE HUNTER is non-fiction, an autobiography of Gann's career as a commercial pilot. It has many memorable anecdotes and people from the early days--1930's and 40's--of aviation. We meet Hughen, a captain who brought an ice-laden DC-2 to a safe landing, and Ross, who gave the rookie Gann self-confidence by sharing take-offs and landings 50-50, regardless of weather or mechancial problems. This is a book that really takes you "inside the cockpit". Take your seat, and fasten your seatbelt. This is a "flight" you will long remember.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fate is the Hunter, June 10, 2001
By 
Ralph Bufkin (St. Simons Island, GA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
This 1986 paperback does not contain all of the material included in the original edition of 1961. There are numerous experiences and anecdotes omitted. For example, the episode on which the movie, "Fate is the Hunter" is based, is not included in this new edition. Some of the best material has been left out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easily the best book I've ever read!, May 11, 2002
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
First off, I am an aviation nut. I am a student pilot and aspiring ATP. For me, finding a good book let alone a good aviation book is nearly impossible. So many books are chocked full of technicalities that I either already know or don't care about. Finding a truly interesting aviation book is a rare treat. After about 2 pages of 'Fate is the Hunter' I was truly hooked. This book puts you right in the cockpit with Mr. Gann as you venture the world from the start of his flying career on the DC-2 to flying across the endless Pacific during WWII when airlines were called to help the war effort. Mr. Gann is truly a talented writer and in my opinion one of the best in Aviation right up with St Ex. If you are as engrossed in aviation as I am, this is one book you wont want to put down and will wish would never end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fate is the Hunter, August 29, 2005
By 
Terence Chapman (Sunrise Beach Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
Having read this book in 1966 and again some two years later, and now again in it's reprinted edition It still amazes me with it's stories, mostly based on Fact. It was my Instructors bible, and he did in fact use some of the examples when I was learning to fly. Once taught never forgotten.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for aviators!, September 29, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
I read this book with fasination as I was lead and exposed to the experiences of the pioneers of the airline industry in particular and aviation in general. As an aviator myself, the truth about fate and how it plays a role in our lives conducting what we love to do best, was very susinctly detailed by Mr. Gann. Although at times his writing style was hard to follow, the story telling and consistancy of the theme was entertaining, and at times, very exciting. Many times I sat, smiled and mused; "there are those that have, and there are those that will...." A great book to read on a boat, in front of the fire, on a beach, or on a long plane trip. Have fun!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic pilot stuff, December 25, 2003
By 
Michael Zinsley (Alameda, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
I'm amazed that so many of my friends who are military and/or commercial pilots don't know of this book. This book should be every pilot's bible. Epic stories about flying mail in pre-war NE U.S., and then overseas during WWII.
Thumb's up all the way.. a must for aviators.
Mike Zinsley
author of The Rapture of the Deep
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Aviation "MUST READ", May 25, 2006
By 
Allan Greene (Westminster, Maryland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FATE IS THE HUNTER (Paperback)
For anyone who has ever flown an airplane, or who has dreamed of doing so, this book is an absolute "must read" by America's Aviation Laureate Ernest K. Gann. Spanning three decades of the nascent airline industry from the mid 1930s until the late 1950s, Gann spins a tale of human psychology -- courage, terror, wry humor, joy, frustration, and career success and failure that any airline pilot will readily identify with.

Each chapter is a discrete jewel, a different story from the others, yet woven into the overall tapestry which decrees that one's fate will dictate the outcome of every situation. Using actual events in his career, Gann lays out his literary thesis of Fate as the hunter of human existence, the singular guiding force in our daily lives. There are enough technical details to satisfy the aviation buff, not so many as to overwhelm the layman reading this book.

If you only read one book about aviation in your life, read this one -- it will give you cause to think about life in a different light.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 220 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

FATE IS THE HUNTER
FATE IS THE HUNTER by David Maraniss (Paperback - July 2, 1986)
$16.00 $12.01
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.