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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.
Well written, in the form of vignettes rather than a comprehensive history, which suited me fine because I would have no patience to slog through a year by year encyclopedia. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Douglas Schwartz
Very detailed description of warplanes, battles, pilots, and air armor from the beginning of flight on. Very impressive amount of research was done for this book.Published 9 days ago by Dane Russo
After reading the hard cover version I also have this volume from Audible. Some have complained that it needed more American aces named and stories told and more air combat from... Read morePublished 9 days ago by John Santucci
Got this for my jet jockey son..no comments yet..he's busy, but knows the characters in bookPublished 11 days ago by Ann Gurley
An excellent read. As a former F-16 pilot, I thoroughly enjoyed Col. Hampton's descriptions of aerial combat. Read morePublished 12 days ago by M. DeVane
I bought this on impulse at a bricks and mortar store.
Why? It had a passage on Lilya Litviak, the Russian female ace of WWII. Fighter jock. Read more
This book is very readable and I have no problem recommending it with the caveat that it's a bit of a mess. In particular it's poorly edited. Read morePublished 25 days ago by GatoRat