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Winged Victory Paperback – 30 Apr 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Grub Street; a edition (30 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904010652
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904010654
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 87,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Beautifully written with a poet's eye as well as a pilot's eye.' --Southern Evening Echo

'The only book about flying that isn't flannel.' --Anonymous Fighter Pilot, 1941

'Not only one of the best war books...but as a transcription of reality, faithful and sustained in its author's purpose of re-creating the past life he knew, it is unique.' --Henry Williamson, author of Tarka the Otter, written in 1935

'The greatest novel of war in the air.' --The Daily Mail

'Not only one of the best war books...but as a transcription of reality, faithful and sustained in its author's purpose of re-creating the past life he knew, it is unique.' --Henry Williamson, author of Tarka the Otter, written in 1935

A novel - though you would hardly know it - based on the author's experiences over the Western Front in the last year of WWI. Yeates takes you into the mind of a pilot facing fear and fatigue, but also the thrill of combat. --The Week

'Not only one of the best war books...but as a transcription of reality, faithful and sustained in its author's purpose of re-creating the past life he knew, it is unique.' --Henry Williamson, author of Tarka the Otter, written in 1935

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By KOMET on 2 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
By chance, I came across this book a few years ago, read it, and now treasure it among my favorites.
The author gives an unvarnished account of a young RFC/RAF fighter pilot's experiences on the Western Front during the spring and summer of 1918.
Despite the glamor often associated with the public image of the "dashing airman" of the First World War, he faced a variety of hazards, from anti-aircraft fire, collision in a dogfight, to the prospect of a fiery death from "the Hun in the sun".
In "WINGED VICTORY", the reader is given access to the all the perils, fears, and frustrations faced by the young pilot Tom Cundall, who, each day he went off on patrol, gambled with his life and fought to keep his sanity, never knowing which friends wouldn't return to the aerodrome. Or whether he would survive or be maimed or crippled.
Unlike their German counterparts (who had the "Hennecke" harness in the later stages of the war), the Allied airman was issued no parachute.
"WINGED VICTORY" brings back the immediacy of what it was like to be a British fighter pilot on the Western Front in the last year of the First World War. Highly recommended.
P.S. One minor note: Cundall flew a Sopwith Camel, not an S.E.5A as featured on the cover.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read this book several times and I always find something different in it. It is a book about the abject terror inside the author and his total fear of displaying it,which is conveyed very forcefully. Although fictional in content,it graphically portrays the feelings and fears that the author must have had during his time as a pilot in the Great War. It makes me feel as if I was there,and taking part in it. It was so obviously a very strange way of life with long periods without danger punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Its only flaw is that the more times I read it the more the cynicism seems to break through.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Moss on 16 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
Anyone reading Winged Victory will be quickly aware of the stark difference between this and any war fiction written by one who was not there. Yeates served in 46 Squadron - his flight leader, "Mac" in the book, was the Canadian Donald MacLaren who was credited with 48 aircraft and 6 balloons shot down. The book has completely authentic slang, and many topical references to music hall shows, songs and comedians of the era, some of which would require a glossary for those not familiar with the period (how many will know why an RE8 was known as a 'Harry Tate' or what 'flaming onions' were?) It captures the misery of life in the RFC during the Big Push of April 1918, while still allowing its protagonists to be grateful that they had escaped the trenches. The book stands successfully also as a novel, even outside the genre of historical and military fiction, because of Yeates' great ability to observe and his clear, and at times, beautiful prose. Read this book!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Secret Spi on 5 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
"Winged Victory" is an extraordinary book. It takes a bit of getting into (the style of writing, the slang and the very detailed descriptions of the flying) but once you are there, you are really there, with RFC pilot Tom Cundall and his comrades. The book reads far more like a diary or documentary than a work of fiction and feels authentic through and through. The destruction of one man's personality through the unending pressure of war is incredibly documented. But this is not an ultimately depressing book: the dark humour and beautiful descriptions along the way stay with one as well as the message. It's a book that I'm sure I'll pick up and re-read within a year.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. F. Gerrard on 15 April 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most moving and tragic accounts of an RFC pilot's life during the First World War that has ever been written. The book portrays with a vividness and savagery the horror and fear that swallowed Tom Cundall (the main character) during aerial combat.
It stands today as a testimony to the bravery and humanity of the pilots who fought eighty years ago and a stark warning of the horrors of war. That it is out of print is a great tragedy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. J. Stallard on 3 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this copy to replace a rather tired paperback copy which I've had since I bought it new over 40 years ago. It is an excellent novel, written by someone who was himself a Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilot in the First World War. It has a strong storyline and some very exciting passages. It has a moving climax and gives an excellent picture of the first example of aerial warfare on a large scale. Anyone with an interest in flying will thoroughly enjoy this book which ranks with Sagittarius Rising by Cecil Lewis as a "must-have" for understanding what it was like to be an RFC pilot.
As someone else has commented, it is a pity the jacket illustration is of an SE5a when the heroes of the novel fly Sopwith Camels. The same picture was used for the 1961 edition, by the way. I think it is a pity, too, that the new edition doesn't include the very interesting Introduction by Henry Williamson (who knew Yeates) from the earlier edition.
I can thoroughly recommend this novel. David Stallard
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
Winged Victory, by Victor Maslin Yeates, remains the seminal novel about war. It is a book that is steeped in humanity whilst accurately conveying the horror, hardship and cameraderie of being a front-line fighter in a major conflict.
The book is written in third person but is believed to be based upon the author's own experience as a pilot in the old RFC. Whilst the general reader may be initially less enthusiastic about the vivid depictions of flying and fighting than would a student of the period, there is no doubting the superb poetic quality of description throughout. In between the awfulness of combat, Yeates' narrative injects frequent moments of humour and pathos.
I commend this book to anyone who loves great writing. This book deserves classic status. The fact that it is no longer in print is nothing short of a crime.
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