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Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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*Starred Review* Once upon a time, aviator Eddie Rickenbacker was the most famous man in America, the kind of hero that songs were written about and schoolchildren dreamed of emulating. In this entertaining biography, historian Ross (War on the Run, 2009) returns to the dawn of the twentieth century, when cars and aircraft burst onto the scene. Aviation aficionados and war buffs will expect Ross to focus on Rickenbacker’s WWI flying-ace achievements; instead, he takes a long look at the aviator’s early success in the automotive field as both a brilliant mechanic (“Put simply, engines have always talked to me,” Rickenbacker explained) and a daring race-car driver. Drawing heavily on his subject’s interviews and writings, while also noting areas of his personal life that Rickenbacker publicly fabricated (most notably his father’s life and death), Ross peppers the text with quotes that place readers right alongside the ace through nearly every moment of his life. Obviously this is exciting material to work with—after all, Rickenbacker was a man who drove in the first Indy 500 and dueled with the Red Baron’s flying circus—but Ross is never fawning in this thoroughly enjoyable and downright rollicking read. --Colleen Mondor
“Fast-paced...With just the right amount of technical detail, Mr. Ross evocatively captures the excitement of the racetrack, where the driver had to contend with 'gumbo'-thick clouds of dust and gravel thrown up by the wheels... Mr. Ross's book does an excellent job portraying how the reality of air combat differed from the romantic notions, advanced at the time, of a noble contest between modern knights in the sky.” ―Wall Street Journal
“Ross is at his best when he writes about Rickenbacker grappling with risk and adversity...the book is a riveting account of the dawn of the age of speed.” ―Dallas Morning News
“A brisk and informing read... [Ross'] engaging new book, surveying the risky realms of racing and air wars, reminds the reader how fast the world changes -- and how much remains the same... Rickenbacker's life provides ample grist for thrilling narrative (and gruesome detail). Yet serving the good purposes of history, Mr. Ross artfully strikes resonances between eras...Portraying the ultimate daredevil in an age of daredevilry, Mr. Ross wrings out as much excitement as the material holds in describing Rickenbacker's violent worlds.” ―Washington Times
“[A] lively and engaging portrait of Rickenbacker...Ross has a real gift for sitting the reader beside "Fast Eddie" as he thunders down the straightaway of a 1913 racetrack or leans forward in the cockpit of a Nieuport 28 climbing toward a flight of Fokkers...an admiring biography...Enduing Courage offers a compelling portrait of an American hero” ―Tom Crouch, Washington Independent Review Of Books
“The dawn of the 20th century saw the advent of two world-changing technologies: automobiles and airplanes. With these came new breeds of risk takers and heroes―the racecar driver and the fighter pilot. Eddie Rickenbacker was both… Rickenbacker clearly had the "right stuff" for this brave new world. But what was the right stuff circa 1918? Biographer John F. Ross grapples with this and other questions in his new book… Many books have been written about Rickenbacker… Ross writes about many of the exploits described in those works, but he also mines primary sources, including thousands of pages of transcribed interviews with Rickenbacker, to get beneath what he calls "the veneer of untouchable hero.” ―NationalGeographic.com
“In 1941, he suffered serious injuries and narrowly escaped death in a devastating aircraft crash near Atlanta. … Following his recovery, Rickenbacker was selected by Secretary of War Henry Stimson to transport and personally deliver a reprimand to General Douglas MacArthur, then supreme commander of the Southwest Pacific Area, headquartered in New Guinea…. The B-17D Flying Fortress ferrying Rickenbacker got lost in the Pacific and was forced to ditch at sea. Together with the rest of the crew, Rickenbacker spent 24 harrowing days adrift on a life raft without food or water. The story of his survival and rescue is the most gripping part of Enduring Courage. Nowadays, of course, … we don't have national heroes remotely like Eddie Rickenbacker.” ―The Weekly Standard
“Energetic... Exciting... Ross sweeps readers along in Rickenbacker's thrilling tale.” ―Kirkus
“Entertaining… Ross peppers the text with quotes that place readers right alongside the ace through nearly every moment of his life. Obviously this is exciting material to work with―after all, Rickenbacker was a man who drove in the first Indy 500 and dueled with the Red Baron’s flying circus―but Ross is never fawning in this thoroughly enjoyable and downright rollicking read.” ―Booklist, starred review
“Ross has a knack for exciting, visual narrative, and the life-defining moments of race and dogfight... A highly entertaining portrait, which reveres its subject as a hero defined by his high-speed feats.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A lively and engaging portrait of Rickenbacker....a compelling portrait of an American hero.” ―Washington Independent Review of Books
“[Eddie Rickenbacker's] life has been recounted in his own autobiographies and by many other authors, yet arguably none get the telling more right than John F. Ross in his exhaustively researched and exquisitely written biography, Enduring Courage.” ―Air & Space Magazine
“John Ross is that rare soul who writes narrative history with the verve and timing of an accomplished novelist. Enduring Courage―a heroic portrait of the aviator ace Eddie Rickenbacker of Ohio―is a bona fide page turner. The Indianapolis race car scenes and World War I dogfights ripple with excitement. I couldn't put it down.” ―Douglas Brinkley, bestselling author, Professor of History at Rice University, and historian for CBS News
“Daring, beautiful, and masterfully told, Enduring Courage puts you shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the great American spirits of all-time, Eddie Rickenbacker, who does in each chapter what the rest of us dream to do with our lives.” ―Robert Kurson, New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Divers
“Whether it’s the Indianapolis 500, a World War I dogfight, or a struggle for survival on a life raft in the Pacific, John Ross puts you there in the midst of the turbulent, often unbelievable life of Eddie Rickenbacker―the irascible, death-defying hero who helped set the dizzying pace of our modern, machine-driven age. As Ross says in the Introduction to Enduring Courage, ‘Hold onto your seats.’” ―Nathaniel Philbrick, New York Times bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and Bunker Hill
“To say Enduring Courage is inspiring is totally inadequate praise. It is also gripping, electrifying, insightful―and full of new information about a legendary American hero. I have seldom been so glad to read a book.” ―Thomas Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of Conquerors of the Sky
“Before Charles Lindbergh, before Chuck Yeager, before Neil Armstrong, there was Eddie Rickenbacker, American aviation's first mega-celebrity. In Enduring Courage, John F. Ross gives readers a brilliant and compelling biography of a man who led a remarkable life, illuminating as well a more innocent and hopeful period in American history, when the common man could make for himself a very uncommon future. This is an unforgettable treasure of a book.” ―Dr. Richard P. Hallion, former U.S. Air Force Historian and author
“Richly detailed and dramatically told, Enduring Courage helps us perfectly understand how Eddie Rickenbacker became one of our greatest--if not THE greatest--aviation heroes of all time. Ross's meticulous research skillfully guides this real-life tale to a magnificent, completely satisfying landing.” ―Christina Olds, bestselling author of Fighter Pilot
Top customer reviews
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I purchased this book because I wanted to learn about America's first Ace of Aces and what made him so good. Just about every biography starts off with the mandatory beginning of explaining the persons childhood which I always find a little boring and this book is no exception. But once you get through that and into how he started his race car days there is not a dull moment in the book or in his amazing life. I especially ordered this book so that I could learn more about his crash in the pacific during WWII and how he set the survival at sea record for a little while until another now famous Louis Zamperini surpassed it just a little while later in the war.
The number one thing that I learned from this book was that Rickenbacker was not just a wild crazy former race car driver but also a natural born leader. My favorite high-light from the book was:
Throughout history the best-prepared fighters in all of combat’s endlessly changing forms have faltered, stumbled, and failed without strong leadership
I highly recommend this book.
"Whether hero or not, it was [Eddie's]courage in extremity that served as a model for successive generations of explorers, adventurers, and warriors, from Charles Lindbergh and Jimmy Doolittle to Chuck Yeager and John Glenn, and an ever vaster host of risk takers, entrepreneurs and executives." Enduring numerous near-death experiences from his unhappy childhood to his cutting-edge flamboyance as a pioneer on the originally earthen, often-mud-sated automobile racetracks,and in those flimsy biplanes during WWI, Eddie (p. 320) "was many things -- daredevil,tinkerer [he was a self-taught master mechanic at a time when few knew anything about these revolutionary new machines], cool risk manager, improviser, showman,tactician, and [above all] a leader -- but always it was his enduring courage that shone like a beacon for the better part of a century, showing America what it could be and challenging it to get there."
Victor L Mote
Professor emeritus of geography,Russian studies, and political science at
The University of Houston (1971-2011)
Author of 150 scholarly publications, including:
SIBERIA WORLDS APART (Boulder, CO: Westview/Perseus, 1998), 256 pp.;
AN INDUSTRIAL ATLAS OF THE SOVIET SUCCESSOR STATES (Houston, TX: Industrial Information Resources, Inc., 1994), 300 pp.; and
coauthored with Theodore Shabad, GATEWAY TO SIBERIAN RESOURCES(New York: Wiley, 1977), 198 pp.
Most recent customer reviews
I don't believe I have read a biography that truly describes a man who defines the word "courage" like Eddie...Read more
If you are an aviation buff , a must read espec if you favor War aviation.