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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
38


TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 July 2015
By a curious coincidence, the author left 46 Sqn in Jan 1918, just before V.M.Yeates joined it, in Feb '18. Yeates was the author of the semi-autobiographical novel Winged Victory. Yeates was a civilian volunteer who went back to civvie street; Lee, seemingly, was a professional soldier. He remained in the RAF after the war, and eventually retired in 1946 with the rank of Air Vice-Marshal (the equivalent of a Major-General).

The contrast between the two books could hardly be more marked. Yeates' book was written in the 30's, the year before he died of TB. It is very much of the Disenchantment years; disillusioned, embittered, including a lot of cynical philosophising that may not have been present at the time. This book, written in the late 60's, is very matter of fact, a memoir of the author's time from learning to fly to his time, just post-war, teaching others to fly.

Of the two, this is the better. There is some very pointed comment about the decisions made further up the chain of command, but mostly it is a commentary free of bitterness. It is also very self-effacing. Both men were accredited "aces"; neither boast of their own exploits. If you want an emotionally coloured impression of how WWI's fliers may have felt, then Winged Victory is well worth reading. But if you want a dispassionate account of what it was like to be a WWI fighter pilot, you will struggle to find a better book than this.
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on 3 February 2017
A very good book, which tells you of the life pilots lead in their fragile planes, very cold and in some cases out flown in slower aircraft as this book tells you, it also tells you at times about the life the men lead in the trenches, the pilots out at times at 18000 feet in all weathers flying in the enemies lines, many times 10 miles inside, it also tells you how they would have to strafe the enemies trenches at low level careful not to be court at that lower level in slower aircraft, a truly remarkable book for those interested the RFC first world war and the suffering the plots had to put up with, a truly good book for any collection about these brave men, I was told many times while doing my national service that I was mad and so strong in the head for the things I did, but when I read about these men, I often think, how would I have felt doing what these men did during this period. it you needed some bottle. Regards Don
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on 7 July 2016
This man writes beautifully. He is a great pilot and historian and is able to put you in the seat with the air in your face and bullets cracking nearby.
His description of having to urinate whilst on a high-altitude,2 hour flight is accurate I can assure you having had similar experiences during the latter stage of a five-hour flight in a glider !!
The book compliments beautifully (without repetition) his other work "No Parachute" which I read first.
The author continued his career in aviation and when you read of the near-misses he experienced you can see how luck and skill go hand in hand in air warfare.
This book should appeal to pilots and historians.
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on 23 August 2017
This is a great book for recreating life in the air in WWI. The author speaks with well earned authority about the trials and tribulations of warfare with simple directness.
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on 10 August 2015
Wonderful memoir of the life of a fighter pilot on the Western Front. I only wish I had read this some 40 years ago - but better late than never. It really is a superb read.
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on 18 September 2015
I usually struggle to get to grips with books in general. But this is so well written and interesting finished in a few days!
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on 19 April 2015
Brilliant evocative book, describing the experience of surviving WW1 with the RFC
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on 14 June 2015
Unbelievable exploites
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on 13 June 2016
Wonderful book, I recommend it to all aviation buffs
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on 4 August 2016
Excellent Memoir - felt like you were in the cockpit sometimes
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