- Audio CD
- Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0752897748
- ISBN-13: 978-0752897745
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 5.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
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Like the trench war, fighting World War I in the air was a miserable experience. But there were differences. First, returning to your base behind the trenches, the airman had a good meal and drink, and he didn't have to deal with the mud and the decomposing bodies around him.
However, the survival rate for a pilot or an observer in World War I was very low, even if you were a talented one like Manfred von Richtofen and others who are shared in this book. And, the way that these men died was horrible. More than once, the author shared the option of dying in plane by burning to death or jumping out at 15,000 feet - there were no parachutes or when there were, they didn't fit in the tight cockpit.
The stress that this caused in these courageous airmen was almost unbearable, and in many instances, they just couldn't take it anymore.
World War I was a miserable war, all are but this one was one of the worst, and "being a knight of air" didn't help getting through it. That, to me, is the main thing that I learned from this book which I recommend to anyone interested in World War I and/or the war in the air.
Mr. Hart outlines the strategic position of the protagonists and how the opposing generals used their air forces to support the "boots on the ground". He moves neatly from the big picture to the letters written home by the individual pilots. The air forces desperately needed experienced leadership, and so the aces were recalled again and again until statistics caught up with them and killed them.
The reader will perch on the pilot's shoulder and see how death is done. An excellent book.