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The Bad Boy: Bert Hall, Aviator and Mercenary of the Skies [Kindle Edition]

Blaine Lee Pardoe
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $29.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

Weston Birch (Bert) Hall carved out his place in history with an almost devilish delight. Much of what has been written about him, including his own two autobiographies, has proven over the years to be more fiction than reality. He was labelled numerous times in his career: rogue, scoundrel, card cheat, forger, human cannonball, World War 1 pilot, criminal, bigamist, deserter, filmmaker, author, soldier of fortune, hero, Chinese General, arms smuggler, Foreign Legionnaire, salesman, aerial racer, aviation pioneer, father, and entrepreneur. Oddly enough, these titles were all true. Bert Hall's fantastic life and status as the bad boy of the Lafayette Escadrille have often eclipsed the truth. Turning to primary sources in archives around the world, many that have been overlooked for decades, this book makes the first attempt to reconstruct the life of Bert Hall. For the first time aficionados of World War 1 aviation and aviation history will get a glimpse into the life of a man who lived in extraordinary times and took advantage of them. While Bert's autobiographies were penned mostly to create a myth around his life, they often were based on kernels of truth. This book finds those kernels and paints the real-life picture of an amazing man who lived in incredible times. As the elder man of the Lafayette Escadrille, Bert was basically run out of the squadron by his colleagues. That should have been the end of his story. In reality, it was just the beginning. In an age where the world was fascinated by aviators, Bert became a real-life comic book character - a mercenary of the skies! Within two years, the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron or rogues, playboys and misfits has claimed an incredible 900 kills and produced 72 aces!

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BLAINE PARDOE is the author of numerous books in SF, military non-fiction, and business management genres. He has appeared on a number of national television and radio shows to speak about his books and has been a featured speaker at the US National Archives, the United States Navy Museum and the New York Military Affairs Symposium. He is also a member of the League of World War 1 Aviation Historians. His books have even been mentioned in the US Congress. His books have been printed in six languages and he is recognised worldwide for his historical and fiction works

Product Details

  • File Size: 2029 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fonthill Media (March 13, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BU61RGO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,793 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Blaine L. Pardoe thanks many people in his acknowledgments for helping him to pull off his book titled: The Bad Boy, Bert Hall: Aviator and Mercenary of the Skies. It is obvious by the extensive amount of endnotes and the bibliography, that this author has done his research. According to the book jacket, "Blaine Pardoe calls on previously untapped archival material to uncover the fascinating truth behind the myth of one of America's greatest daredevil adventurers." Readers will be impressed with all they will learn about Bert Hall. I found it interesting that Pardoe decided to research Hall's life because while working on the book Lost Eagles, he learned about Frederick Zinn's lifelong friendship with Bert Hall. And because the men seemed so opposite, the quest to learn more began and has resulted in this book.

Bert Hall desired to seek adventure and new challenges. He was born in 1885, named Weston Birch Hall. It is not clear when/where he picked up the nickname of "Bert." At the age of 21, he joined the Sells-Floto Circus, but apparently only for a short time. He told people that he was a human cannonball, a stunt rider, and/or a wild animal trainer, but records show that he most likely was more of a "greeter" or helped to put up posters around towns. The importance of was the beginning of the difficulty in sorting fact from fiction when it comes to Bert Hall's life. Blaine Pardoe had a huge task in sorting out all of those details with the sources he was able to locate.

One could find Bert Hall driving a taxi in the city of Paris and the Bert Hall of the French Foreign Legion. It appears that during this time, he "honed his skills at reinventing himself, weaving tales about his life and experiences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE "BAD BOY" OF THE ESCADRILLE LAFAYETTE: BERT HALL January 2, 2014
Bert Hall (1885-1948) was the "black sheep" of the Escadrille Lafayette, the legendary group of American fighter pilots who flew for France during the First World War. This book explores in great detail his life, one that was often shrouded in mystery. Like a rolling stone that gathers no moss, Hall was a loveable rogue, a charmer, a businessman, a liar, and an adventure seeker. He came to France in 1912 in the employ of a wealthy American family as a chauffeur. Subsequently, Hall went to Paris, where he was working as a cab driver when war was declared in August 1914. Thereupon, he enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and saw action at the Front later that year. Two years later, after a campaign engineered by a number of wealthy and influential Americans in France to form an air unit in the French Aviation Militaire composed of Americans, Hall was flying Nieuport fighters in combat with N-124, better known as the Escadrille Lafayette.

Hall later left N-124 and served with a French unit in Russia. Eventually, he made his way back to the U.S., wrote a best selling book about his war experiences, and appeared in a movie (in 1918) as the dashing air hero. Whatever one may think of Bert Hall, what is certain is that he lived life to the full.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner from Blaine Pardoe! March 1, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great, yet factual story....research and detail is amazing!!!
The effort coninues to pay off for this award wining author!
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More About the Author

Blaine Pardoe is an award winning New York Times bestselling author who lives in Amissville Virginia. He is the author of numerous science fiction, military history, true crime, horror, and business leadership books. He is considered one of America's best writers about the Great War. His books have been published in six languages and he has been a featured speaker at the U.S. National Archives, the United States Navy Museum, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.


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