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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2007 02:27 
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S! pilots.

Thanks first to Dak, Clingy and Levey, for their generous loans of books which, in all honestly I'd now like to own. This thread's all about paperbacks and biogs/auto biogs/remembrances/compliations of memories and memoirs. It's not abot the technical data books, not the hardcore facts books.

I began really, in recent memory with FIGHTER BOYS,
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It's a great read, heart rending in places, but quite distant. It felt close up while I read it, but that's becasue I had no "base point" to grade it from.
It's worthy of anyone's time, anyone into WW2 aircraft, but it gave me no real technical insight.

But then Johhny Johnson's Wingleader took me.
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And christ, how it took me! What a change, what a frank, vivid, and in places, technically intriguing book. Here I found the writing of one man that made me understand better, grasp deeper, the feelings of a fighter jock. It's here that I realised that personal biogs were good, but better when it went on for a whole book about one man. His thoughts, fears and it was amazing. It is, frankly, twice as worthy as Fighter Boys. Any IL-2 flier/player must read this.

Next up was Swastika in the Gunsights, the memoirs of a VVS pilot piloting I-16's and Lagg 3's and Yak 1's. It was as incredible and frankly bloody amazing as I could dream of. But it has no one iota of real piloting in it. Does it matter? Hell no...in fact, it simply strengthens, and reinforces the belief that I had in the way that Russian fighter pilots we created/made: To KNOW you're the best, makes you the best. To be told and to konw that you will win, seems to have pervaded every square millimetre of Igor's skin. This is a man I'd have love to have met. Possibly even over Johhny Johnson. Possibly. A grand way to understand Russian pilots and their beliefs, but possibly not covering what yuo or I would consider to be the real hardships. Gotta say though, I'm not sure the author even SAW the hardships as hardships. It was his honour. Read it, you'll understand. Not quite up with Johhny Johnsons' Wingleader, but bloody close.

But just when you think you've read the finest, Clingy tuns up to your house for a LAN with a tattered old 5/- book called Fly For Your Life.
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Larry Forester writes Bob Tuck's flying history in such a way, that, without expounding the virtues of an author too much, frankly took me to the edge of my reading chair/bed, and created waaay too many sleepless nights.
This book is good. Really bloody superb. Nothing else I have read since touches it in it's ability, for me, to convey pilots excitement with real life and a touch of author's expressed drama. It's like a really good film, but one filled with real life. Clingy, for this I owe you, eternally. It's one of my favourite books of all time. But it IS a story. It's true, but it's a story. It's written by someone else.

Which is in stark contrast to the beauty and terror of First Light
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by Geoffrey Wellum. Because here is a book that totally ripped out my ability to think of fighter pilots as brave, daring, hardcore men, and sank a bore hole into my beliefs that I'd ever make it as one. Nope....no hope, I'd have died. Here's a book openly displaying the contents of a man's heart, and his feelings, of both flying joy, achievement and rank discontent with the way things turn out, but a real terror of himself losing it and becoming normal again. This book, much as I love it, is not one for me to read again. I got too close to feeling for Geoff, and while that's good writing, it's not good for this reader. But WHAT a rollercoaster! What a life changer. It's as good as Birdsong, but without the blowjob by the fireplace. And it's better for it, weirdly ;)

I'm stuck now. 35 years old, and some of the best book's I've ever read, in the last year. What next?

Dak has been a super hero and provided Duals in the Sky and Typhoon Attack

Sadest thing is.....I feel like Geoff Wellum being told to leave for a rest. I know I'm over the hill :(

Some....tell me I've got more to read yet :)

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2007 02:28 
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oh hell it's 1:30 am.....

hey.....surrounded by WW2 books......guess it's ok really ;)

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2007 10:26 
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Ohhhhhhhhhh Zakky tis a nightmare...Most of the books I own I got to sell on and cant bring myself to part with...And there are many more classics out there. For example

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is an amazing read

Also

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and

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as well as

Bomber Pilot Leonard Cheshire VC

and this is a great read

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Sorry bloke your still a beginner ;) :bob:

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2007 16:35 
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I'm reading Big Show by Pierre Clostermann. Another very different book, probably more akin to First Light but with the arrogance of a French "nobleman".


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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2007 18:25 
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MA_Dak wrote:
Bomber Pilot Leonard Cheshire VC


ahh....my Dad told me to find that....he was a Mossie pilot wasn't he?

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PostPosted: 02 Feb 2007 21:35 
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MA_Zak33 wrote:
ahh....my Dad told me to find that....he was a Mossie pilot wasn't he?


More than, much more than, that.

Plenty to read about this remarkable man.

No clues... (apart from Nagasaki, Dambusters, Sue Ryder, Pathfinders....)

Get reading :)

(ps My next recommendation, (after Wing Leader) as I feel you have a taste for (auto)biographical work is "Saggitarius Rising" by Cecil Lewis. It will open your eyes to another approach to writing ones memoirs of wartime flying... this time IN SE5As over the Somme

He died "relatively" recently, (late 1990s ? ) I still have the cut out of his Times obituary somewhere.

From joining the royal flying corp as a youngster, to flying over the front line when the great mines of the first day of the Somme were blown (The ones they were supposed to be diggin in Birdsong), felt his aircraft lift with the force of the blast , flew alongside Albert Ball on his final flight, survived both wars to become a co-founder of the BBC.

Having stood on the edge of one of the mine craters at dawn myself, I can tell you that in a quiet moment.. where all you can hear is the real birdsong... you can close your eyes and "nearly" imagine the hell and turmoil of that day.. with Cecil Lewis in his SE5 a couple of hundered feet above you.

I love this book. Poetic and awe inspiring) Just dont expect it to be the same approach as you have read already

Enjoy

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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2007 19:29 
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Hat...that sounds perfect.

I'm shocked by the variation in writing styles...and drawn to them :)

Cheers guys.

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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2007 00:53 
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You have to bear in mind that this book was written in 1936, it may not be your "thing"...

Quote:
Sagittarius Rising first appeared in 1936, recounting Cecil Lewis's days as a fighter pilot in the First World War and as a flying instructor in China in the 1920s. He died in 1997 at age 98.


Some idea of its content may be found here...

http://reader.homestead.com/Sagittarius.html

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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2007 18:11 
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If you fancy some fiction then Derek Robinson's 'A Piece of Cake' is well worth a look. I didn't think it'd be my thing, but I was hooked from beginning to end. He thinks of some pretty horrific, but I fear realistic, ways to kill off the pilots. It starts before the war, follows Hornet squadron throughout the battle of France, and ends in the Battle of Britain. Good companion reading for when the BoB game comes out!


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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2007 18:41 
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Was that the same "peice of cake" that was a tv series during the last 80's?


edit:

found it..

http://www.nathanielparker.com/cms/inde ... Itemid=134

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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2007 23:50 
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Zak have you read The First and The Last Adolf Galland?

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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2007 15:10 
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Trig wrote:
Was that the same "peice of cake" that was a tv series during the last 80's?


edit:

found it..

http://www.nathanielparker.com/cms/inde ... Itemid=134


It is - though the book came first and is much, much better.


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PostPosted: 05 Feb 2007 20:55 
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I'll grab a copy of that Moby.. I could do with a new fiction.. and that sounds ideal

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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2007 13:45 
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Seems iv a fair few good books still to get :D

Im about half way through reading Reach for the Sky the story of Douglas Bader. Its amazed me what he went through.

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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2007 14:49 
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MA_Geist wrote:
Seems iv a fair few good books still to get :D

Im about half way through reading Reach for the Sky the story of Douglas Bader. Its amazed me what he went through.


...if you believe it ;)


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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2007 17:08 
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/\ dont get CLingy started on Doug Bader.....he'll never stop ;)

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PostPosted: 06 Feb 2007 17:18 
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MA_Zak33 wrote:
/\ dont get CLingy started on Doug Bader.....he'll never stop ;)


What's wrong with old dougie?

/me rattles cage :)

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