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Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds [Kindle Edition]

Robin Olds , Christina Olds , Ed Rasimus
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $8.89
You Save: $8.10 (48%)
Sold by: Macmillan

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Book Description

Please note:  This ebook edition does not include the photo insert from the print edition.
 
The widely anticipated memoir of legendary ace American fighter pilot, Robin Olds

Robin Olds was a larger-than-life hero with a towering personality. A graduate of West Point and an inductee in the National College Football Hall of Fame for his All-American performance for Army, Olds was one of the toughest college football players at the time. In WWII, Olds quickly became a top fighter pilot and squadron commander by the age of 22—and an ace with 12 aerial victories.
But it was in Vietnam where the man became a legend. He arrived in 1966 to find a dejected group of pilots and motivated them by placing himself on the flight schedule under officers junior to himself, then challenging them to train him properly because he would soon be leading them. Proving he wasn’t a WWII retread, he led the wing with aggressiveness, scoring another four confirmed kills, becoming a rare triple ace.
 
Olds (who retired a brigadier general and died in 2007) was a unique individual whose personal story is one of the most eagerly anticipated military books of the year.




Editorial Reviews

Review

“This volume could not be more appropriately titled, because triple-ace Olds wanted to be a fighter pilot from when he was an air-corps brat just five years old. His daughter and an air-force colleague have assembled a mass of material he left behind at his death in 2007 into a gripping narrative that covers childhood, West Point, WWII, peacetime, and Vietnam as well as his long retirement. Not all the turbulence he encountered was in the air. His marriage to actress Ella Raines had its ups and downs, and he was by his own admission a reluctant staff officer and often a difficult, even wild, subordinate. At the same time, he gives us the portrait of a dedicated air warrior, the men who served with him, and U.S. fighters, both the sworn-by and the sworn-at, throughout a span of 30 years. Compelling reading, likely to become a classic.” --Roland Green, Booklist

"Robin Olds is probably the greatest aerial warrior America ever produced.  He is the real deal, a fighter pilot's fighter pilot, a consummate military professional, a natural, charismatic leader, and a true, heroic servant of our republic.  His autobiography tells it like it was... and provides written proof why the people who served with him made him a legend.  That men like Olds chose to wear our nation's uniform does high honor to the profession.  I confidently predict that this book will be an instant classic." --Stephen Coonts, New York Times bestselling author of The Disciple

"Robin Olds was bold, audacious and courageous; truly one of America premier fighter pilots. His captivating story, told in riveting fashion, provides great insights into his life and the attributes that make a great fighter pilot. Warning! If you start to read, you will have trouble putting it down!" --Henry H. Shelton, General, US Army (R), former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

"Triple-ace Robin Ol...

About the Author

Robin Olds (1922-2007) was a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. A triple ace, he achieved a combined total of 16 victories in the Second World War and the Vietnam War. Born into an army family in Honolulu and raised in Virginia, he was educated at West Point, where he was an All American football player. He fought in Europe during World War II, and was regarded as the best wing commander in the Vietnam War. He was promoted to brigadier general after Vietnam, and also served as Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
 
Christina Olds is the daughter of Robin Olds. She holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Vassar.
 
Ed Rasimus is a retired USAF fighter pilot whose books on the Vietnam air war include When Thunder Rolled and Palace Cobra.

Product Details

  • File Size: 698 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 13, 2010)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003FQM306
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,960 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
170 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rockin' Robin April 13, 2010
Format:Hardcover
This is a substantial book (about 400 pages) about the life of one of the most famous fighter pilots of all time, Robin Olds. It is largely a compilation of Olds' diaries, documents, letters, articles, etc, put together by his daughter, Christina Olds, after Robin's death in 2007. Indeed, before he died, Robin and Christina were able to share a fair amount of time together in preparation for the completion of his unfinished memoirs. Appropriately, the book is written in the first person. It's a well written book, not because it contains highly polished writing (it doesn't), but rather because it reads as you'd expect it to read coming from a maverick fighter-pilot. (I was fortunate to hear Robin Olds speak a number of times, and this book is true to his rather abrupt style of speaking.)

The book begins right where you'd expect a fighter pilot to begin--in the air, in combat ("We had been taking the war to Hitler...")--but then settles back to develop Olds' life story, starting from the beginning. His mother died when he was four, and he grew up the son of an Army officer. (There was no Air Force at that time.) The reader learns about his interest in football (6' 2", captain of his high school team, later played for West Point--including once in front of 100,000 fans at an Army - Navy game, back when that game was a big event to all sports fans).

The heart of this book, like the main theme in his life, is flying, especially in conflict. Olds flew P-38s and later transitioned to the marvelous P-51 (with the Merlin engine) during World War II. On his second P-51 training flight he almost crashed the aircraft trying to land (they didn't call it the Mustang for nothing).
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely AWESOME!!! April 23, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In a word-AWESOME!!! This is the incredible story of one of, if not "the" greatest combat flying wing commanders that has ever graced our presence. Robin Olds was a larger-than-life character who flew hard, fought hard and played hard. Imagine a story where a young boy grows up with many of American aviation's greats (Billy Mitchell, Tooey Spaatz, Hap Arnold, and Jimmy Doolittle) hanging around his father's house. With all that influence and exposure, it's no wonder Robin Olds developed into a great fighter pilot and a great combat leader. Then imagine that young boy being accepted into West Point. Robin played football at West Point (offense and defense), becoming an All-American. He then went off to pilot training, and made it into World War II, becoming an ace in both the P-38 Lightning and the P-51 Mustang (13 aerial victories, and 107 combat missions). But the story does not stop there. Robin Olds went on to marry a beautiful movie star, and take command of one of the RAF's first jet squadrons. Somewhere in between here and Vietnam, he found time to father two beautiful daughters; the loves of his life. Robin Old's combat leadership in the 8th Tac Fighter Wing in Vietnam is legendary. He went on to shoot down four MiGs, bringing his total count to 17 aerial victories. After fighting his way through 152 missions, Robin Olds would become Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Sound too good to be true? Well not for Robin Olds. 'Fighter Pilot' is action packed from the beginning. Readers will experience the thrill of flying into battle in some of the greatest American fighter planes. And they will learn the finer points of great combat leadership. What a great movie this book would make.

The efforts of Robin's daughter Christina also cannot be overstated.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all members of the US Air Force. April 21, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I arrived at the 8th TAC Fighter Wing at Ubon, Thailand a year after Robin had left the base. People on base would tell me you should have been here when Robin was the Wing Commander. I enjoyed the fact that the writers didn't try to make the book a PC product, they illustrated the real Robin Olds, crusty words and all. If you love flying and want a good account of what we do in the US Air Force then please buy this book, you will have a hard time putting it down. Chris Cline, MSgt, Ret. USAF, Overland Park, KS
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Where have all the Cowboys gone"..... May 15, 2010
By Keith
Format:Hardcover
Like the Paula Cole song asks: "Where have all the cowboys gone?" "...where is (our) John Wayne?" "...where is (our) Lone Ranger?" Gen. Robin Olds was not only a hero because of his valor in a cockpit, but his willingness to buck the conventional wisdom of USAF and political leadership...even to the detriment of his own career. The words LEGEND and HERO are often misused in describing actors, sports participants, and musicians, but those words are apropos when describing Gen. Olds.

What a life! Gen Olds' life could fill 10 other fighter pilots' .....from growing up the son of a pioneer in US military aviation and being surrounded by the likes of Spaatz, Rickenbacker, Arnold, Turner, Mitchell ect. What role models to mold a young fighter pilot.....it couldn't have been better than that! Over his life, he excelled by his own makings, not by riding coat tails. Whether it was being an All American at West Point or becoming a leader and ace at an age most would consider still wet behind the ears.

Tales of both his aerial battles and the battles with those on the ground are riveting. It lets us see the steel willed determination of a man who truly believed in "lead by example" and "never ask those you lead to do anything you weren't willing to do." It's obvious the men he led, loved him and were willing to go to the Gates of Hell for him.....that is something that can't be demanded or ordered......it is earned.

Throughout this book we got glimpses of his home life and his marriage to the beautiful movie star, Ella Raines. Though he (or Christina) didn't go into depth about it, we got enough to know things weren't always blue skies and sunny days on the Olds' home front which made an extraordinary life seem realistic...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
after a trip to the air force museum i had to read about him.im really glad i did.great book.great man.
Published 59 minutes ago by mr john
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story of the best fighter pilot in the last 50 years!
When I was going through F4 RTU in 1974 I first heard the stories of Robin Olds. He was a legend then, and in my eyes, even more of a legend today. Read more
Published 22 hours ago by Lynne
5.0 out of 5 stars I flew F4's in Vietnam. There are pilots, fighter pilots and some who...
Robin Olds was one of those born to it. There was an element of being in the right place at the right time, but the attitude had to be there and in Gen. Olds, it was. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Joe MacKay
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything an american flyer should be
The heroic actions of Robin Olds boosted the morale of flyers everywhere. In the end, I think he did much to convince the higher ups that there was a better way of doing things.
Published 13 days ago by June T Shaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Fighter Pilot
This isn't a bad book in and of itself. The content is exciting and interesting and Robin Olds lived one hell of a life what with dogfights by day and Hollywood style parties by... Read more
Published 16 days ago by adidab14
5.0 out of 5 stars Life of a War Fighter in a plain easy to understand memoir format
Easily the most emotional perspective I've read on the subject of a man driven by his desire to accomplish a goal; that of winning the war. Read more
Published 18 days ago by w. Kennedy's.
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books I have ever read
The title says it all, could not put it down. You will feel like you are their next to him
Published 27 days ago by Eric Caddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Sierra Hotel
If you ever flew fighters or wanted to, you will appreciate this book. I flew with Olds in the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing and it is not only accurate, but a vivid account of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Larry Rider
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and Harrowing, But Lacking
This biography of Robin Olds was really interesting to me. Instead of adding to the overwhelming acclaim that other reviewers have given, most of which I agree with, I want to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sierra Zulu
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book!
I love this book, everyone should read it. A great history of the air force and has a lot of great leadership stories and advice.
Published 2 months ago by Lori
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