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Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed Audio CD – Audiobook, 13 May 2014


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 11 pages
  • Publisher: MacMillan Audio; Unabridged edition (13 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427239231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427239235
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,424,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well written, exciting "read" about a classic American hero. It is difficult to believe one man crammed so much adventure into one life. It is also incredible that Eddie Rickenbacker lives a full life. He really did have the proverbial nine lives. There are two other Rickenbacker life stories, but this is the best yet. I heartedly recommend this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 86 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary! The Very Definition of a Hero 13 Mar. 2014
By Benjamin Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eddie Rickenbacker, for me, has always been one of those names from 20th century history that I had heard of and even knew a tiny bit about…but not much more. I knew he was an American flying Ace from World War I and generally well regarded but have long wished to know more about him, his life and the times he lived in.

General George S. Patton famously said, “Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of the men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.” He was talking about leaders like Rickenbacker, America’s leading ace of WWI with 26 kills. The story of how he got there is simply incredible. From an adventurous youth demonstrating a genius for machines and mechanics to becoming a renowned race car driver (racing in the very first Indy 500), to becoming America’s ‘Ace of Aces’ pilot in WWI, his story reads like one of those thriller novels where the hero constantly encounters incredible danger but always survives. It’s so refreshing to read of a person who actually lives up to the hype of history and who learns from his plentiful mistakes throughout his life. This quote from him sums it up: “I've cheated the Grim Reaper more times than anyone I know, and I'll fight like a wildcat until they nail the lid of my pine box down on me.”

Most of the book is devoted to the two main “eras” of Rickenbacker’s life: his car racing career and his WWI successes. Less is devoted to his post war career even though that is pretty phenomenal as well: starting up “Rickenbacker Motor Company”, buying and managing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, clashes with FDR over policy, and a lengthy stint as the leader and eventual owner of Eastern Airlines. There are a couple of nicely done chapters on his near-fatal airplane crash in 1941 as well as his most famous near-death experience, 24 days adrift at sea after a plane that he was a passenger in got lost over the Pacific and had to set down in the middle of the ocean.

I would add that this book is about more than just the life of Eddie Rickenbacker. The title is entirely appropriate in that it is about the times and events and the people that surrounded Rickenbacker during his extraordinary life. These men had what it takes or what later generations would refer to as “the right stuff”. It’s an amazing story and is definitely an example of how true life can be more incredible than fiction.

Biographies tend to fall into one of two categories. They are either lengthy and filled with every conceivable detail and really meant for a serious scholar of that individual, or they are more succinct and serve to introduce a reader to the individual. This book lies in between. There is quite a bit of detail but not so much as to bog it down. I commend the author for finding that balance between too much detail and too much surfing over the events and issues of the time.

Highly recommended!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A Real American Hero 25 Jun. 2014
By Mike Grant - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
If you're looking for a work of non-fiction that reads like a gripping novel then "Enduring Courage" is just the ticket. Eddie Rickenbacker, the American Ace of Aces, lived a life worthy of a feature film. He literally defied death from the time he was a young adventurer in Ohio and continued to show his courage and tenacity throughout his careers in the automotive and aviation fields.

Author John F. Ross introduces readers to a young Eddie, bright-eyed and curious, who has a fascination with, and an aptitude for, machinery. As a young man in the early 1900s he was witness to major technological advancements. He would go on to combine his fearless nature with a methodical approach as an ace pilot and race car driver. He was daredevil, but also an innovator.

As the title suggests, "Enduring Courage" isn't just about the infamous Eddie Rickenbacker, it is also about the era in which he lived. He wasn't the only one who had a need for speed (whether in a place or a car) and all across the country people were becoming enamored with modern machinery. Brave young men and women were jumping into this new world with both eyes open, Richkenbacker included.

Using a style that is incredibly engaging, Ross takes readers through this fascinating period of exciting change, using Rickenbacker as the catalyst. If you are looking for more compelling aviation stories, I highly recommend looking back to World War II warplanes - the Flying Fortress in particular.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Riveting, Fast-Paced, Hard to Put Down 12 April 2014
By R. Dixon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For this reader, Eddie Rickenbacker was a name from the turn of the 20th Century and the First World War---first a race-car driver, and then a WW I flying ace. Author John Ross has done a masterful job in crafting this biography of one of the best-known heroes of the First World War. Enduring Courage captures Eddie Rickenbacker, the man, painting a complex picture that begins with his childhood, and ends up showcasing his talents in leadership and problem solving. Enduring Courage is an apt title for this lively and inspiring tale. This is one of those books that you can't wait to pick up again. The narrative never loses its pacing. While Rickenbacker's WWI exploits are the centerpiece, his pre-war and post-war life were equally inspiring, and Ross captures this. If you previously read and liked author John F. Ross' first biography "War On the Run" (the story of Robert Rogers), you will see that Ross has really hit his stride in penning "Enduring Courage." Then and now, Rickenbacker was an inspiration. Enduring Courage is a worthy portrait of a truly inspiring American hero.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A true American hero 25 April 2014
By Barry Sparks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eddie Rickenbacker was America's most recognizable and famous hero of World War I. He was America's ace of aces, registering 26 kills. He logged more time over enemy territory and engaged in more combats than any other U.S. flier.

Author John F. Ross writes that as a race car driver and fighter pilot, Rickenbacker helped forge a new personification of the American hero. Americans hungered for a new breed of hero, and when "Eddie's brand of courage intersected with new frontiers of speed brought on by cars and airplanes, extraordinary things started to happen."

Eddie was a popular pioneer in racing cars, competing in the Indy 500 four times and multiple long-distance races. The book's first 90 pages cover Eddie's racing career. Although Eddie earned a reputation of a "carefree derring do," Ross stresses that it wasn't true. Eddie took an analytical, methodical and logical approach to managing risk and extreme danger. According to Ross, "Eddie discovered not only could he stare down death and risk, but he was good at it."

It's of little surprise that Eddie, a superb mechanic and engineer, was attracted to airplanes. Pilots were largely on their own, writing the rules of safety and performance as they went along. The United States desperately needed pilots as it was ramping up its air power in quest of air superiority. Mechanically, the planes were often unreliable. Ross describes the planes as "flying pyres, highly combustible." In training, 1 of 9 pilots died. The life expectancy of a fighter pilot was two months. To add to the danger, pilots were not permitted parachutes. Washington officials decided that if pilots had parachutes, they might prematurely decide to eject and abandon the plane.

At first, Eddie was snubbed by pilots, who were college-educated and came from well-to-do families. But, Eddie was stubborn, competitive and determined to succeed. Another pilot described him as "an uneducated tough bastard who threw his weight around in the wrong way." To Eddie's credit, however, he developed into a leader and mentor, who was respected by his men.

After World War I, Eddie purchased the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and became an executive at Eastern Air Lines. The World War I flying ace was involved in two commercial airline crashes, nearly losing his life on both occasions.

Despite his extraordinary feats which influenced three generations, Eddie insisted he was not a hero. In summing up Eddie's life, Ross writes, "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."

Although there are two Eddie Rickenbacker autobiographies, Ross's book is much welcomed, since he provides new material from neglected primary sources, dispels numerous myths and is much more concerned about accuracy than Eddie's previous ghostwriters. This book is thoroughly researched, very informative, extremely well written and vastly entertaining.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tells The Exciting Parts 7 April 2014
By John Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love history, and have always been fascinated with Eddie Rickenbacker, so I ordered this book to see how it read. I find it it be extremely well written and documented, with good use of details that still don't bog down the story.

Eddie Rickenbacker was one of the most famous people in the first part of the 20th century. He learned automotive engineering at the time it was basically being invented, and once the war started he fudged his way into a flying school, and then managed to get transferred to flight duty instead of being a maintenance supervisor. Once he was in the air, a combination of good luck, engineering knowledge, and a basic feel for piloting eventually gelled into the greatest American Ace of WWI. The book covers a small amount of his early life (basically enough to show the reader the influences on the man), has lots of details about his war flying, and then tells the tale of his amazing survival at sea after a plane crash. There is a lot that isn't told here; Rickenbacker came to run Eastern Airlines, for example. But what is covered is the really exciting stuff. The description of the stress put on the WWI pilots is especially riveting; the popular notion of the dashing and carefree pilot jumping into the nearby biplane is nothing like how it really happened.

The writing style is really good, using lots of quotes to tell the story, and providing interpretation of the events in between. Any time this style is used, one has to depend on the author getting the right mix of interpretation to go with the facts; I believe that this author does it exactly right. All this content is matched with an easy to read style that invites the reader to turn "just one more page".

The book has a good amount of documentation in the back, and I especially liked the extra section put in by the author detailing the behind-the-scenes way he had to go and get information, some of which has never been printed. This section is written specifically for those who wish to investigate further, and is very well done.

Summary: Informative and never boring; a great story about a time when the possibilities of technology seemed endless. Maybe they were wrong, in the light of modern day, but this book does a great job of remembering the time. Highly recommended.
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