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Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16 Hardcover – June 24, 2014
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“Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this must-read chronological history of fighter pilots reads like a great literary novel. Dan Hampton has crafted an important work that is sure to become a classic within the historic lore of military aviation.” (CHRISTINA OLDS, co-author of Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds)
Praise for Viper Pilot: “Hampton’s one of the most decorated pilots in Air Force history.... We may never see his like again.” (New York Post)
“Dramatic, fast-paced, and definitive -- a pleasure for everyone who loves reading about aviation, and the life-and-death drama of air combat.” (MICHAEL KORDA, author of With Wings Like Eagles and Ike)
“An epic history of the fighter pilot world by a gifted author and historian with the trained eye of a combat pilot. This will be an enduring work of aviation literature. Experience the thrill, hear the wind, encounter the danger: Read this book!” (Major General DON SHEPPERD (USAF Ret.), co-author of Bury Us Upside Down; former Director of the Air National Guard.)
“Superbly written. Paints a vivid picture of the skills, scares, scars, and science of air combat brilliantly, weaving them into a fascinating historical fabric that embraces technology, history, and politics. Buffs and the general public will agree that this is a first in the field!” (Colonel WALTER BOYNE (USAF, Ret.), Former Director of the National Air & Space Museum and author of Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the United States Air Force)
From the Back Cover
By the USAF F-16 legend behind the bestselling memoir Viper Pilot, this is the first comprehensive history of fighter pilots and air combat—a unique, riveting look at the aces of the sky, their machines, their most daring missions, and the epic conflicts they shaped, from the trailblazing aviators of World War I to today's supersonic jets
Lords of the Sky is a thrilling history of the fighter pilot, masterfully written by one of the most decorated aviators in American history. A twenty-year USAF veteran who flew more than 150 combat missions and received four Distinguished Flying Crosses, Lt. Colonel Dan Hampton draws on his singular firsthand knowledge, as well as groundbreaking research in aviation archives and rare personal interviews with little-known heroes, including veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. In a seamless, sweeping narrative, Lords of the Sky tells the extraordinary stories behind the most famous fighter planes and the brave and daring heroes who made them legend.
In the Great War, aces such as Manfred von Richthofen ("The Red Baron"), Eddie Rickenbacker, and Roland Garros faced horrific survival rates and became romantic heroes. The Second World War saw the RAF locked in a struggle for the fate of civilization during the Battle of Britain; on the Eastern Front, the German Luftwaffe and Soviet Air Force grappled in some of the fiercest and bloodiest air battles in history. In the Pacific, Japanese pilots terrorized Asia, culminating in their attack on Pearl Harbor. American flyboys quickly became instrumental to the Allies' ultimate victory, ravaging the enemy's navy, providing life-saving air support for ground troops, escorting bombers, and dogfighting with Japanese Zeros and Nazi Messerschmitts. During the Cold War, conflicts in Korea and Vietnam featured the dawn of the jet age, in which American pilots battled Soviet-made MiGs and increasingly sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry. Hampton then draws on his own experience as an F-16 pilot who fought in the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq to bring to life the dangers and demands of today's modern fighter pilot.
Here are the stories behind history's most iconic aircraft and the aviators who piloted them: from the Sopwith Camel and Fokker Triplane to the Mitsubishi Zero, Supermarine Spitfire, Nazi Bf 109, P-51 Mustang, Grumman Hellcat, F-4 Phantom, F-105 Thunderchief, F-16 Falcon, F/A-18 SuperHornet, and beyond. Here, too, are the Lafayette Escadrille, Flying Tigers, RAF Eagles, Wild Weasels, and other legendary units. Throughout this definitive history, Hampton clarifies the astonishing debt we owe to these daring Lords of the Sky who have ruled the air for more than a century.
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Top Customer Reviews
1-Interesting discussion on the inter-war years between WW1 and WW2. How the Luftwaffe and Soviet Union worked together to develop aircraft and used the Spanish Civil War as a testing ground for equipment and pilots. I had heard this before, but never really knew any of the details.
2-Profiles of some little known fighter pilots. I especially enjoyed the profile of the woman ace who flew for the USSR.
3-Excellent discussion on the death of The Red Baron. I had seen a History Channel show that called into question that he was shot down by Roy Brown, but they themselves missed a few important details. Suffice to say, the author convinced me as to how The Red Baron died.
4-Great sections on Wild Weasel mission. That was expected since that is what the authors profession.
1-While discussion of the overall strategic and tactical situation on the ground or sea is vital to understanding the air war, he could go on far longer than was necessary. Even if some readers were unfamiliar with these histories, they still seemed long. This left less room to discuss other things, such as...
2-No discussion about how the various maneuvers used in air to air combat developed. While it may be obvious that Max Immelmann developed The Immelmann, what about all the other maneuvers? Indeed, what are the other maneuvers? Do we know who developed them? When they came about? I'm sure (I guess) that not all the maneuvers were possible right from the start. I'm guessing that as airplanes grew more powerful and designs progressed, more and more maneuvers became possible. Who developed the Chandelle, Yo-Yo, Wing-Over etc, and when were they developed? Perhaps some illustrations of the more common maneuvers and when they are employed.Read more ›
Indeed, that number might be only one. Dan Hampton has ambitiously produced the most comprehensive, authoritative account of the first century of military aviation and specifically the role of the principal military aviation combatant: the fighter pilot. His latest book, Lords of the Sky, is an unusually well researched account of the major conflicts of the entire one hundred years of fighter pilots and air combat, and it immediately becomes the definitive such book now in existence. It should promptly find its place in the libraries of every operational fighter and LIFT squadron, every fledging or wannabe fighter pilot, even the Army, Navy and Air war colleges. FNG and old-timer Ace-of-the-Base alike will want to be conversant with virtually everything in this book. There really is no other such book.Read more ›
There is a disappointing number of misspelled and misused words and a number of serious technical errors regarding aircraft and aerodynamics, but this book was fascinating and educational, particularly the views from other countries' fighter pilots. An excellent commentary.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A detailed history of the fighter pilot, from each country and major stage of development. A must read for any aspiring military aviator.Published 9 days ago by Tristan Silverstorf
Very interesting review of combat aircraft, starting with WW I. Obviously written with much research and personal knowledge. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Tom Hansen
Anyone who appreciates valor, skill and unselfish sacrifice will enjoy the lives of aviators along this past century..and there's more..Published 16 days ago
This was a gift, and it got a very good review from the recipient.Published 18 days ago by Janet Donavan
Anecdotal examples led to some boring historical reviews of a long period of multiple conflictsPublished 19 days ago by Dr Bill 59
Fairly technical but not too technical. This is a fascinating history of air warfare from WW I to Iraq. Very readable and extremely interesting.Published 20 days ago by Amazon Customer