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Old 01-14-2019, 12:03 PM
Figaro Figaro is offline
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Aviation hounds: recent good reads?

I've been down the military aviation rabbit hole for most of my life (cold war era especially), and I'm having trouble finding new material to enjoy.

In the hopes of earning some good recommendations from other plane-heads on the board, here are a couple of recent items I've liked to get the ball rolling:

https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Fighter-.../dp/1523680725

War For the Hell of It: A Fighter Pilot's View of Vietnam, by Ed Cobleigh. A short but unusually literate memoir of one pilot's tour flying USAF F-4 Phantoms out of Thailand. For every disposable anecdote about a cocktail waitress "poured into a dress," there are two insightful or revealing tidbits about the daily routine, tech, and psychology of war from the viewpoint of an obedient cynic.

https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Harrier-F...r_1_fkmrnull_1

Sea Harrier FRS 1 vs Mirage III/Dagger: South Atlantic 1982, by Doug Dildy and Pablo Calcaterra. One of Osprey's "Duel" series, this one gets into the nitty-gritty of the Falklands air war between RN Sea Harriers and Argentine Mirage fighter-bombers. It offers more nuance than the usual victory literature that lionizes the Harrier in that confict, and it manages to illustrate that, had it not been for some tactical quirks (like flying so low that bombs didn't have time to arm after release) on the part of the Argentines, many if not most of the British task force would have ended up at the bottom of the South Atlantic. The Harriers were too slow, and their radar too primitive, to stop low-flying bombers targeting ships.
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:23 PM
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(Allowing myself a one-time bump on this before it slides into the oblivion of page two)
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:57 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is offline
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It's not a book and spills beyond the Cold War but I found this essay about stealth transport for Special Operations quite interesting and with lots of links to get lost in.

Part one

Part two
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:28 PM
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WWII: 50 Mission Crush

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/..._Mission_Crush

B-24 crew stories. I enjoyed it.
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:55 AM
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Great stuff! Thanks!

Gatopescado, have you also read the Ambrose B-24 history, The Wild Blue?

Last edited by Figaro; 01-16-2019 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:06 AM
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I have not. I'll have to consider that.

Pure coincidence that I am up this early and saw that post so soon. Not sleeping is a bitch.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:52 AM
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Have you read "Masters of the Air" by Donald L. Miller?

It's the story of the American WWII strategic bombing offensive. It's about the crews themselves as well as the higher strategy and decision making, as well as the effectiveness of the offensive.

Very good book- it puts it all into perspective, unlike a lot of books that focus on the industrial targeting, or the crew experiences.
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jnglmassiv View Post
It's not a book and spills beyond the Cold War but I found this essay about stealth transport for Special Operations quite interesting and with lots of links to get lost in.

Part one

Part two
This was a new angle for me - thanks! I was especially glad that the authors kept the speculative nature of their info front and center, making what few conclusions they drew more credible.
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:17 AM
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(Missed the edit window on the above)

jnglmassiv, if you're into stealth as a topic and haven't read Ben Rich's memoire on the Lockheed Skunkworks, I'd highly recommend it.
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:23 AM
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Have you read "Masters of the Air" by Donald L. Miller?

It's the story of the American WWII strategic bombing offensive. It's about the crews themselves as well as the higher strategy and decision making, as well as the effectiveness of the offensive.

Very good book- it puts it all into perspective, unlike a lot of books that focus on the industrial targeting, or the crew experiences.
It's actually on my shelf at home, but not read yet. I'll bump it to the top of the heap, thanks!

If you're into the micro view vs. the macro, I'd highly recommend Combat Crew by John Comer. One gunner's memoir of 25 missions in a B-17 over Europe. Harrowing stuff.
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:01 PM
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It's actually on my shelf at home, but not read yet. I'll bump it to the top of the heap, thanks!

If you're into the micro view vs. the macro, I'd highly recommend Combat Crew by John Comer. One gunner's memoir of 25 missions in a B-17 over Europe. Harrowing stuff.
Definitely. I remember some of my grandfather's stories about the same thing (why I got interested in the bomber offensive in the first place).
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:06 PM
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Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

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Originally Posted by Amazon
A true, bestselling story from the battlefield that faithfully portrays the horror, the madness, and the trauma of the Vietnam War
It's about Huey pilots in Vietnam. From training to deployment. Crazy stuff.

In fact, I need to read it again.
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Old 01-16-2019, 12:48 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Have you read "Masters of the Air" by Donald L. Miller?
I'll endorse that one. Despite the juvenile title, it isn't the usual hero-worship mixed with hypertechnical mission details that are the unfortunate norm for war books. It tells what seems to be the real stories of real people, in all aspects of the bombing campaign, with all of the terror and relief that the veterans would only sometimes tell about. Even the chapters about life in POW camps seemed to me to be the real stuff, not the Hollywood versions. Read this book and you'll be happy to discard quite a few others afterward.

Only Len Deighton's Bomber comes close, in my reading experience, and that was a novel, not a history.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:14 PM
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Chickenhawk by Robert Mason

It's about Huey pilots in Vietnam. From training to deployment. Crazy stuff.

In fact, I need to read it again.
I am really stoked to read this. Already on my Kindle. (for after work....for after work...for after work....)

Thanks!
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:41 PM
enipla enipla is offline
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I am really stoked to read this. Already on my Kindle. (for after work....for after work...for after work....)

Thanks!
Most welcome. And I just bought your recommended War for the Hell of it.

Lots of good suggestions in this thread.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:44 PM
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...it isn't the usual hero-worship mixed with hypertechnical mission details that are the unfortunate norm for war books....
You reminded me of this unfortunate purchase, which I picked up from the author during a signing at the Udvar-Hazy museum in VA:

Hell Hawks, by Robert Dorr

Even loving the P-47 as I do, and wanting to like the book as much as I did, I couldn't get past the first few chapters. It's a gobbledygook of "then ol' chappy turned to final"- style anecdotes without any framework or decipherable through-narrative, or even introductions to the myriad people mentioned. Definitely not a recommendation, although I'd understand anyone who wanted to give it a try.
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:29 PM
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I came to recommend Chickenhawk but was ninja'd. Lords of the Sky by Dan Hampton was a good read. More of a history book than an exciting collection of combat flying. But still, quite good.
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Old 01-16-2019, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figaro View Post
In the hopes of earning some good recommendations from other plane-heads on the board, here are a couple of recent items I've liked to get the ball rolling:

https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Fighter-.../dp/1523680725

War For the Hell of It: A Fighter Pilot's View of Vietnam, by Ed Cobleigh. A short but unusually literate memoir of one pilot's tour flying USAF F-4 Phantoms out of Thailand. For every disposable anecdote about a cocktail waitress "poured into a dress," there are two insightful or revealing tidbits about the daily routine, tech, and psychology of war from the viewpoint of an obedient cynic.
I'll definitely check that out.

I have a fictionalized account of the Vietnam War by USAF veteran Mark Beret on my bookshelf. The original novels are from the Nineties but I see the entire series was released for Kindle relatively recently.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:41 PM
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The Long Way Home is about a Pan Am flying boat that was on it's journey across the Pacific when the Pearl Harbor attack took place. The story follows the trip back to the US avoiding war-torn areas.

It was tough to put down.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:51 PM
Figaro Figaro is offline
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The Long Way Home is about a Pan Am flying boat that was on it's journey across the Pacific when the Pearl Harbor attack took place. The story follows the trip back to the US avoiding war-torn areas.

It was tough to put down.
Wow! I will definitely be looking into this.

Off topic, but the "not where we expected to be" plot angle reminds me (tangentially) of this:

Lost in Shangri-La. It's about a flight of US Army nurses that goes down in an inaccessible valley while sightseeing over New Guinnea. I'd highly recommend it as an adventure story and slice of history that is otherwise completely untold.
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