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Yeager: An Autobiography Paperback – August 1, 1986

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA Bona fide heroes are a rare breed, and while Chuck Yeager would be the first to deny he was one, his life story tells a different tale. Here he describes his early life in the hills of West Virginia; his years as fighter pilot in World War II, where he was shot down in occupied France and escaped with the help of the French Resistance; his love of flying. His coolness under pressure; his knowledge of how everything on his plane worked; and his extraordinary luck saved his life in many instances. Brash, opinionated, stubborn and given to wild antics, Yeager also comes across as a man of integrity and courage. Yeager both lived and made aviation history. He tells his story vividly and pulls no punches in describing the events and the people who made history with him. Diana Hirsch, PGCMLS, Md.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

People who know nothing else about aviation know that it was Chuck Yeager who broke the sound barrier. Those who have read Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff also know he did it with broken ribs from a nocturnal horse race. Readers of this engrossing work will find these circumstances typical of the way Yeager has always done things. In matter-of-fact language that covers both suspenseful flying descriptions and high times with drunken flying buddies, Yeager holds one's attention with the same ease that he brought to research and test flying. There is understatement in his descriptions of combat flying over Europe, of family life and his displeasure over having to be gone so long, of the years in the California desert; and his confident tone enhances these and other reminiscences in what has to be the aviation literature event of the year, and a bonus for general readers, too. BOMC main selection. Mel D. Lane, Sacramento, Cal.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 1, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553256742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553256741
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Brennan VINE VOICE on May 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
If I could jump inside one person's head Being-John-Malkovich style and experience their entire life, beginning-to-end, without regard to anything but the sheer roller coaster thrill of it, I'd probably pick Chuck Yeager. (Granted, the guy's not dead yet. But unless he meets a truly horrendous end--eaten alive, say, by Bengal Tigers, while slow-roasting over a barbecue pit--I'd consider myself a truly lucky man to see everything he's seen and do everything he's done.)

Ripping through the sound barrier in a bullet-shaped orange rocket plane, battling Messerschmitts in the cold European skies, testing exotic aircraft of all shapes and sizes in the bleak Mojave desert, hunting and fishing and hiking the high Sierras, hooting and hollering with friends on crazy drunken misadventures--it all sounds too fun to be legal, and except for the hooting and hollering part, I haven't done any of it.

What's more, he lived the kind of life that people don't seem to believe in anymore, the life of the self-made man who rises from nothing, who picks himself up by his own bootstraps and succeeds through good ol' Yankee Doodle initiative, ability and gumption. One of the nice things about this book, though, is that he doesn't rub it in. He's the first one to acknowledge how lucky he's been to live the life he's lived and live to tell about it. An upside-down-bolt on an airplane aileron, parachute shroud lines that almost burnt through after an ejection gone awry--any of these things could have ended this remarkable life long before old age, and he knows it.

Beyond the good luck, though, he knew enough not to press his luck.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard Ross-Adams on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Legendary flying ace Chuck Yeager has put on paper not only his life, but his amazing character as well.
Since I was a child I was told the stories of Chuck Yeager by my brothers.One of whom was an aviator himself, and was in awe of this man.
When I read his autobiography, which is definitely one of the best books I've ever read, I felt a new kind of respect for the man. A man who was never given a college education, yet managed to be one of the greatest aviators and men in history. He overcame the odds more than a few times.
What touched me most about this book was it's honesty.He never embellishes the truth, and tells it like it is, always. The book may not be the best articulated book in history, but that is because that is not Chuck's way.
He recounts all the major events in aviation history with a style that reveals his passion, and his determination that if you are going to do something, do it right.Eloquently put by Chuck, do it balls out.
I most enjoyed his manner in the book, fun loving without losing sight of himself, his demeanour is that of a mischievous brother who'll stand up for what he believes in, no matter what.
This man is a role model and one of the world's finest heroes. Read the book and meet the man.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Yeager personafied the WWII generation, the finest ever produced by America. His humble description of his amazing life is inspiring to all and incredible to those with a love of aviation. Besides his own history, he chronicles the life of several other people, such as lady pilots Pancho Barnes and Jackie Cochran, who also lived lives that read like movie scripts. A book that has to be read several times to be fully appreciated. Also check out "The First and the Last", by Adolf Galland, for an equally unusual true account by a great aviator and leader. Farron Dacus, Irving, Texas.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Rottenberg's rotten book review on December 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Supposedly, Chuck Yeager has amassed a bad rap, but from his autobiography, it's hard to see why. The retired USAF General, who went from shooting down German jets in WWII to flying faster than sound before anybody else thought it possible, tells it like it is. While that won't engender warm feelings, Yeager was obviously a man even his rivals could trust.
The General writes of his humble Virginian origins. Enlisting in the Army as a mechanic, Yeager moved to the pilot's seat through a program intended to put more non-com's into flight-duty. Yeager displays a true pilot's nostalgia of the days when he writes lovingly of the obsolete P-39's he flew from Oroville (half the P-39's built went to the Red AF under lend/lease). Getting to England by 1943, Yeager upgraded to the legendary P-51...only to get shot down by a German FW-190. Smuggled into neutral Spain and then repatriated, Yeager returned to his unit and then began shooting down German planes, including the Me-262, the first operational jet fighter. Describing the crude though effective jet, Yeager shows how his mechanic's training and senses made the crucial difference: the early jets, built for high-speed, were vulnerable when approaching their runays for landing. Because existing jet engines responded slowly and unpredictably - with one engine spooling up much faster than the other - Luftwaffe pilots who tried to speed away from threats a low speeds often got sucked into mysterious and uncontrollable rolls. It was thus in that vulnerable state that Yeager hunted the vaunted jets.
After the war, and on the strength of his having been shot down, Yeager became a test pilot at the famed high-desert testing ground of Edwards AFB.
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