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Fighting the Flying Circus (Dodo Press) Paperback – March 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Dodo Press (March 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409949044
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409949046
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,691,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"John Pruden . . . happens to have one of those golden voices. . . . This was a fascinating book. . . . I always thought Eddie Rickenbacker was larger than life. This combat diary added an unexpected touch of humility to him. I highly recommend this book to any reader interested in the history of the United States Air Force." ---Major Joel Rudy, USAF --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

About the Author

Eddie V. Rickenbacker (1890-1973) was an American fighter ace in World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient.

John Pruden is a professional voice actor who records audiobooks, corporate and online training narrations, animation and video game characters, and radio and TV commercials. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner, his audiobooks include The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt, which was chosen by the Washington Post as the best audiobook of 2011. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

Customer Reviews

Easy to read and full of detail.
JAMES HANSEN
Eddie Rickenbacker is one of the most under appreciated and forgotten heroes of the American experience.
gryphonskymaster
The book is well written and in very easy to read grammar.
Bud

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Eddie Rickenbacker was, of course, the top-scoring American ace of the First World War, shooting down 26 enemy aircraft. This hard-to-find book is _the_ classic account of aerial combat in World War One. It fairly breathes the cocky, pugnacious spirit of the successful combat aviator, and is, in itself, a remarkable survival story.
Rickenbacker was a squadron leader of note as well as a formidable single-combat warrior, and his observations on command are applicable today. Like other great aviators who racked up impressive victories but survived, Rickenbacker was aggressive and confident but not rash. He took pains to plan his missions and to assure their success, attending to the smallest details himself (even to inspecting the individual rounds loaded for his SPAD's machine guns).
Rickenbacker is a skillful narrator, and his precise description of the lethal ballet of aerial combat is readable and comprehensible for the flyer and non-flyer alike. Rickenbacker had the reputation of being overbearing at times, but this is not communicated in his writing. Indeed, one of the most memorable passages in this book describes his repeated but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to bring down a particular German observation plane.
This is a wonderful book that deserves to be read. Any reader with an interest in flying, but especially combat flying, can do no better than to pick up this excellent work.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By reader from maryland on February 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Rickenbacker's adventures, told in Rickenbacker's own words. This story is the definitive acount of WWI air combat. The only books that come close are by British pilot Arch Whitehouse, but those lack the descriptions and heart of Eddie Rickenbacker's "Fighting the Flying Circus". One can almost smell the dirt and grass from the runways and see the tracer fire from the machine guns. Throughout we see the character of a simple midwestern man who became the Ace of Aces in American flying history. The individual flying episodes are memorable such as the time he refused to let an (allied) French Nieuport get behind him after he became lost on patrol. He later found out that a German pilot in a captured Neiuport was slipping across the lines to wreck havoc on the Allies. Or the time an anti-aircraft shell lodged in his engine yet failed to detonate. The story is vivid and thrilling until the end, even though we all know the larger outcome.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By W. G. Todd on September 1, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this years ago while Rickenbacker still lived. This race car driver turned fighter pilot wrote this he was still a young man just back from the first air war in 1919. In reading it again as an adult I was surprised to find that he was quite honest and self efacing. When he made a mistake he was forthcoming about it. In many incidents contained in this book it is obvious that luck played an enormous part in survival of pilots in those days, as the training and equipment by today's standards was to put it bluntly, inadequate. I imagine that this book is still a good one for fighter jocks of today because there are still lessons here that apply to today's combat environment. It is always easier to learn from someone else's experiences than to repeat them yourself. If you want to learn what it was like to fight in the air in the First World War this is your book. It is on a par with James McCudden's book "Flying Fury," and that is high praise indeed.

Since reading this book I have read Rickenbacker's autobiography and was not nearly as impressed as I was with this book. By the 1960's Rickenbacker had mellowed and his words were carefully chosen and not nearly as spontaneous as in this book. After all, by then he had been a CEO of Eastern Airlines, and seemed more guarded about his reputation.

The Kindle price of this fine book works for me!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joel R. VINE VOICE on March 29, 2012
Format: MP3 CD
To an American Airman, the name Eddie Rickenbacker evokes images of the earliest chivalrous days of dogfighting. One immediately thinks of daring American Airmen in open cockpit Spads flying against the German Fokkers of the Richthofen Jagdstaffel. It was incredible to learn that the American Ace-of-Aces from World War I was not the larger than life hero that I had always thought he was - instead I learned that he was a humble man that survived his combat tour because of his squadron leaders. His hard learned lessons from almost one hundred years ago are still applicable for today's generation of Airmen.

Eddie Rickenbacker was one of the first 150 American Army Air Service pilots to fight in France. The famed Lafayette Escadrille was a group of American volunteers that had previously fought alongside the French, so the Army Air Service formed the initial cadre of officers around those experienced officers. Major Raoul Lufbery, Rickenbacker's first commanding officer was one of those men. It was men like Major Lufbery, whose experience would keep Rickenbacker alive through his first few missions. More importantly, Major Lufbery's leadership style rubbed off on Rickenbacker and taught him how to teach the next generation of pilots when Rickenbacker himself would lead the squadron later on.

The book follows Rickenbacker through his combat tour in France. Readers are also introduced to the Air Force's first Medal of Honor winner, 1st Lieutenant Frank Luke, who is credited with 18 aerial victories (second only to Rickenbacker).

I was struck by the humble tone of the writing in the initial part of the book. As a lieutenant, I remember being confident enough to solve every problem thrown at me, and I immediately identified with Rickenbacker's first flight with Lufbury.
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Fighting the Flying Circus (Dodo Press)
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