Read Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16 by Dan Hampton Online


The New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot and retired USAF F-16 legend Dan Hampton offers the first comprehensive popular history of combat aviation—a unique, entertaining, and action-packed look at the aces of the air and their machines, from the Red Baron and his triplane in World War I to today’s technologically expert flying warriors in supersonic jets.One oThe New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot and retired USAF F-16 legend Dan Hampton offers the first comprehensive popular history of combat aviation—a unique, entertaining, and action-packed look at the aces of the air and their machines, from the Red Baron and his triplane in World War I to today’s technologically expert flying warriors in supersonic jets.One of the most decorated fighter pilots in history, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Dan Hampton goes back 100 years to tell the extraordinary story of the most famous fighter planes and the brave and daring heroes who made them legend.Drawing on his expertise, Hampton shines a spotlight on the pioneers who have ruled the air from World War I through the Cold War to today. He provides unique insight into gutsy pioneers such as Manfred von Richthofen and his red triplane, and the flyboys in the iconic P51 Mustang who faced the Nazi Lufwaffe. Here, too, is a thoughtful look at modern air warriors, including his own exploits in the high-tech f-16 Falcon.Interwoven throughout this sweeping narrative history is Hampton’s personal account of traveling the world to find these storied aircraft. Strapping himself into the cockpit of such planes, he shares the thrill and experience of flying each. Exhilarating, told in his acclaimed high-octane style, Lords of the Sky is a fresh look at the development of aviation for history and military buffs alike....

Title : Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062262011
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 623 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Lords of the Sky: Fighter Pilots and Air Combat, from the Red Baron to the F-16 Reviews

  • Marc
    2018-12-06 00:44

    The cover of this book initially drew me in because the F4U Corsair is my favorite plane of World War II. A book about the history of fighter pilots? Count me in! Hoping for stories of fabled (and maybe not so fabled) air aces through the years, I was greatly looking forward to reading this. Unfortunately, I didn't get what I hoped for.The author does a very good job of explaining the evolution of aerial combat and how both man and machine have changed from the early days of World War I to modern times. Along the way he gives very clear examples of various elements of aerial combat (aka dogfighting) and the hows and whys of flight. Being a former combat pilot, Dan Hampton clearly knows his stuff when it comes to flying.However, the book had way too much information which didn't relate to aerial combat or fighter pilots. It seemed to me as if there was just as much information on various aspects of the different wars, such as political negotiations and ground campaigns, as there was about actual aerial combat. Whole chunks of all the conflicts are missing, with World War II in the Pacific being completely absent after the Battle of Midway. As for the "Lords of the Sky" themselves, well only a few are covered in any detail, probably less than ten to any great degree. Some are only shown in photographs and not mentioned in the text at all. When the narrative switches to the Vietnam War, Hampton ratchets up his expertise quite a bit and really lays it on thick with the fighter pilot jargon. Having read many books on aerial combat over the years, I was familiar with many of the terms, but the average reader might have a hard time keeping track of the action (I was lost a few times myself). While there is a glossary of terms, who wants to thumb back and forth when reading about a strike on a SAM site near Hanoi?I found this book to be interesting, and I did learn a few things along the way. However, the narrative bounced around too much and got bogged down in all sorts of extraneous information. Overall, I'd say it was a good book that never really got off the ground.

  • Paul
    2018-12-09 03:23

    Hampton set out to write a comprehensive history of the fighter pilot, starting out strong with long, detailed sections on WWI and WWII. I didn't question anything he said in those sections, but when I got to the Korean and Vietnam War sections, eras about which I have some knowledge, I began picking up on errors, omissions, and some oddly sloppy writing, all of which have me questioning what I read in the WWI and WWII sections. By the time I got to the final chapters on the Gulf wars, I felt Hampton was doing a slapdash, rushed, incomplete job, and almost wish he'd stopped with WWII.Among the errors: calling the piston-engined B-29 a "big jet," mislabeling A-26s as B-26s, describing infrared heat-seeking missiles as homing in on hot carbon dioxide, saying the Navy initially called the F-4 Phantom II the F-110A Spectre (that was the early USAF designation, not the Navy's). He doesn't talk about the Russian MiG-15 pilots in Korea, a couple of whom scored more kills than our own top F-86 aces. He barely mentions the North Vietnamese MiG pilots. Describing the first shoot-down of a USAF fighter over North Vietnam, he switches between first-person and third-person viewpoints -- one moment you're in the cockpit with the pilot and GIB as they ingress the target area; then a god-like narrator, using passive voice, announces that one of the jets in the four-ship has been hit; then you're back in the cockpit as the front-seater pulls the ejection handles.Hampton skips the eight-year Iraq/Iran war, which produced at least one Iranian F-14 ace. He doesn't mention the air war in Kosovo or the years American and allied fighter pilots spent policing the no-fly zone imposed on Iraq after the first Gulf war. While he goes into detail on some methods used to control airborne fighters, he unaccountably ignores AWACS. I expected him to at least mention some of the more notorious blue-on-blue friendly fire shootdowns, but he didn't. He never brought up the battle between the strategic bombing and fighter factions for control of the USAF, or anything at all about the F-15 and A-10, two key aircraft from his own time in the USAF (he flew F-16s). I took some personal offense at that, since my own aircraft, the F-15 Eagle, is the top air superiority fighter ever produced. In history. And while he mentioned some of the Soviet women fighter pilots of WWII, there's not one word about today's women, who've been flying fighters in and out of combat since the mid-1990s.The errors and omissions in the second half are jarring. The book seemed well-researched until the Korean War, and then felt rushed and incomplete. I now think another book on fighter pilots -- The Unsubstantial Air: American Fliers in the First World War, by Samuel Hynes, which I recently read and reviewed here on Goodreads -- does a better job conveying the fighter pilot experience and mentality, and for two reasons. One, Hynes, unlike Hampton, spends more time explaining what fighter pilots believe in and how they behave in the air and on the ground. Two, Hynes confines himself to a single era, WWI -- now that may strike you as a limitation, but as an experienced fighter pilot myself I was struck by how little fighter pilots have changed from 1917 to the present day -- and by keeping to one era, Hynes wasn't forced to pick and choose what to include or exclude from his narrative.Again, I think Hampton should have stopped with the end of WWII. To keep up with his book's strong start, it should end there, and perhaps continue into the jet age in another volume entirely. Based on the strength of the first half of Hampton's history, I'm giving his book an overall 3-star rating.

  • Venky
    2018-11-22 03:31

    An acclaimed "Viper" Pilot himself, Dan Hampton in this racy read provides a ringside view of the origin and continuing evolution of the Fighter Jet and the aviators handling them. From an era of piston powered lumbering but able winged wonders to the current day sleek killer machines, the Fighter has captured the imagination of both soldiers and scientists in equal measure. The superiority of a tactical airspace advantage, although evident by the end of the First World War, was only accorded its rightful place of honour during World War II. The formidable German Airforce, the 'Luftwaffe' ran absolute riot against a hapless combat force strung forth by the Allies. Innovative technology, ingenious methods of manufacture and the inordinately fortunate participation of the United States of America in the bloody War, ultimately tilted the scale of balance as the Luftwaffe was routed, trumped and literally shot out of the English, France and Russian skies.Dan Hampton traces with wonderful eloquence the advent and origin of the fighter beginning with the exploits of the French Ace, Roland Garros flying a Morane Saulnier L. In a systematic manner, the author traces the development of the fighter aircraft in tandem with the emergence of aviation technology. Fokker Eindeckers, The Royal Aircraft Factory SE-5s; Sopwith Snipes; Polikarpov I-16s; Stukas; Messerschmidts; Spitfire MK 1s; MiGs; Mirages; and the F-16s all make resounding appearances. For the entranced reader, it is a virtual display of fly past by these powerful machines as they strafe the grounds of Berlin, Tokyo, Vietnam, Basra and Baghdad.The highlight of the book however, is the description of the unbelievable exploits of some of the grand aces flying their toys. The merit of honour of the German Ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel runs like a riotous imagination right out of an adventure epic. Digest this:Combat Missions: 2,350;Kills: 519 tanks; 4 trains; 1 battleship, 2 cruisers; 1 destroyer, 800 miscellaneous vehicles and >150 artillery pieces:Decorations: Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak LeavesHans-Joachim Marseiller arguably the greatest combat pilot ever since the Red Baron was an incorrigible playboy, who in addition to falling foul on a regular basis with his superiors shot down English planes for sheer fun. A stupendous record of 18 downed fighters in a mere 10 minutes stands unbroken and unparalleled! This Lord of the Sky was a mere 23 when a combat downed him and put him perennially to rest. He lies interred in the soil of Libya at Tobruk with a single philosophical and apt word adorning his tombstone, "Undefeated".This book by Hampton not only celebrates the lives of many an immortal soul that has sacrificed his/her (the case of the famous women squadron of the Russian fighters) life for the betterment of the world, but also demonstrates in precise detail the utter futility and purposelessness that is frequently resorted to by man to annihilate his fellow species."Lords Of The Sky" - Soars high on elegant wings!

  • Don
    2018-11-30 23:23

    Dan Hampton takes on a big subject by authoring a one volume history of air fighters from WWI to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He provides "you were there" descriptions of representative combat flying in all eras and the gives the history of aircraft development and how fighters played a role in the different wars. Hampton provides some interesting details about the characteristics of the various best known planes without getting too technical for general readers. He also explains the evolution of tactics as plane designs advanced. The flying careers of many of the famous aces from the wars are included. You can tell Hampton has a lot of passion for these planes and the men (and in a few cases USSR women) who flew them.Although, not a youth level book, the topic may attract many teens with an interest in this subject. Parents should be aware that the language can be rough in spots as the author realistically portrays the fighter pilot experience in combat.

  • Rob
    2018-12-13 06:34

    I wish I could give 3 1/2 stars. I really wanted to love this book. Certain parts of this book were great and others felt rushed and wanting. The first part on WW1 air combat was excellent. The chapters on WW2, the greatest air war of all time, were in many cases well written but there were many grammatical and technical errors. Ignoring the air war in the Pacific after the Battle of Midway was in my opinion a huge mistake. The Korean War chapters were a fun read and very interesting. The later part of the book felt rushed and the author (a former combat pilot) went real heavy on the technical and pilot jargon. Overall it was a good read, I wish the author would've broken the book into two, or expanded it but if you enjoy reading about air combat it's worth a read.

  • Derek
    2018-12-01 04:20

    A brilliant work, with exhaustive research, incredible insight representing a complete history of the greatest fighter pilots. Clearly, the author (a fighter pilot himself), had in mind a work to be studied in every flight school across the globe. While the technical details, airplane model specifications and/or technological descriptions may be a bit lengthy in this volume, I found the stories, personal histories and battle details quite engrossing.

  • Steve
    2018-11-23 04:24

    Excellent book on the history of fighter pilots and aerial combat from World War I to the modern day of the 1991 Gulf War and the war in Iraq in 2003. This book goes in detail of the fighter pilots who became aces to the type of aircraft used and weaponry. A great book for those who are interested in air combat.

  • James
    2018-11-30 02:44

    A great history of air combat, managing to be both encyclopedic and flowing. Col. Hampton's extensive research clearly shows. For anyone interested in the military or in aviation, this is a great read.

  • Alfredo
    2018-12-08 05:31

    Bien escrito, entretenido de leer, entra en historias menos conocidas y esquiva las más conocidas. Ni una palabra de Saburo Sakai pero habla de Boelcke, Marseille y Livia Litvak. Bien ahí.

  • Paul McLaughlin
    2018-11-18 06:27

    Let's discuss the three stars it did get and then the two it didn't. Dan Hampton's ability to bring air combat to life as though you were right there in the pilots seat is unmatched. No doubt from his own extensive experience as a pilot. I enjoyed the books technical evaluations of the earliest combat aircraft and the human aspect of combat in the air. We see these pilots as complex, contradictory, sensitive and brutal all at the same time. I also enjoyed that the book covered pilots from countries like Germany, Russia, Israel and Egypt. Now, for the negatives. I have read other books by the same author of much higher quality. This book couldn't seem to make up its mind what it was going to be. The book seemed to shift personalities about four times. Then there are the grammar and spelling mistakes. At least a dozen, from misspelled words to sentences that clearly mis-spoke because of a missing word, and periods obviously misplaced within the middle of a sentence. Whatever the editor got paid it was too much. There were also slight congruency / technical mistakes. Within several pages the P-40 could turn inside a BF109, then later BF109's actually dive inside allied defensive formations because they can out turn the P-40. During the chapters on Korea, B-29's are referred to as "big jets". I find it very difficult to believe that a guy like Dan Hampton who eats and breathes aviation would make that mistake. Overall I enjoyed the book, and if military aviation is your thing then you will as well. Just enjoy each chapter / story on its own because the next one may not have anything to do with it. This book had six star potential but somehow fell short.

  • Terry Cornell
    2018-12-06 03:50

    Dan Hampton does a great job of capturing the history of fighter pilots from the beginning of aerial combat through the present day. I loved how he incorporated particular pilot stories from history and with the broader context of what was happening in the corresponding ground and/or sea battles. Well researched, Lt. Colonel Hampton also has the advantage of having flown combat missions himself. Can't wait to read his book 'Viper Pilot'.

  • Donald Powell
    2018-11-16 01:36

    A good history book, not limited to fighter aircraft. It also records more than any average person would need to know about fighter, and other, aircraft. The author is very knowledgeable, writes clear and concise prose and has a great sense of history himself. You can sure hear the fighter pilot in him. My grandkids picked out this book for me, as a Christmas book. It was a good read!

  • Grace
    2018-12-12 06:28

    one of those books I barely remember but learnt so.e useless info from.

  • DennisRicci
    2018-11-28 23:45

    Wow....could not put this one downThose pilots were a wild bunch but in the early days they did not live very long so a good reason for the wild living.

  • Peter DeSilvey
    2018-11-23 03:40

    A great brief overview of the history of aerial combat... also inadvertently a nice overview of 20th century warfare

  • John Davis
    2018-12-01 23:43

    Each era of air combat is explored from the Great War to the second Gulf War by fighter pilot/author Dan Hampton. Common denominators with fighter pilots of the past as well as evolving technology through the century are reviewed thus demonstrating the fighter pilot's unique experience as a warrior. I especially liked that each chapter opens with a short novelization of a particular aerial battle relevant to the progressing wars that made for edge-of-your-seat reading!

  • Kathleen (Kat) Smith
    2018-11-24 06:36

    If you are a fan of fighter pilots, vintage aircraft or just an all around military/history buff from World War I and II, Vietnam, Korean, and even our most recent military campaigns that involve aircraft, then trust me, you'll definitely want to get your hands on the latest book from Dan Hampton. Lords of the Sky takes readers into the history of aviation from the very first planes designed and attempted to be flown by such legends as the Wright Bros and to Etienne Montgofier who piloted the first balloon air reconnaissance in 1783. The books really takes to heart every conceivable well known plane, engines, and pilots and showcases them in a great chronological order that even a woman can understand and truly enjoy. The book isn't just about aviation either, is illustrates the reason for needing air support and just what is required before you simply attach a machine gun on to the top of your barn storming bi-plane. The details of flight from thrust, lift, drag and weight are critical components we take for granted when we board our commercial airlines and head for our tropical vacation destination. We learn how weaponry was added to this planes, and what the limitations of getting them to work entailed. From learning how not to shoot your propeller off, the dealing with the elements inside an open cockpit and what to do when you are wits end in the midst of a dog fight. It is hard to realize that in the years leading up to World War I, no one really gave serious thought to armed aircraft. In fact, the U.S. War Department turned the Wright brothers down on three occasions for a military version of their contraption, and the British secretary of war stated in 1910, "We do not consider that aeroplanes will be of any possible use for war purposes." We have certainly come a long way since that day. From fighting air battles with low visibility, freezing cold temperatures and your only weapon being a carefully aimed brick were just the things that pilots had to contend with. In fact in WWI, most pilots average life span was only 2 weeks. From the Red Baron, to the Royal Air Force, to the Mitsubishi Zero to Supermarine Spitfire, to the P-51 Mustang to the Grumman Hellcat all the way to the F-16 and F-18 SuperHornets, the aviation lover is bound to find something in this 600+ page hardcover book. "The Lords of the Sky is about the fighter pilot. It begins with the Great War, as World War I was originally known because the sky over the trenches was the birthplace of the fighter pilot. The development of fighter aircraft and the combat pilot was more closely tied to ground actions during the Great War than was the case in subsequent conflict. Aviation services were a fledgling military branch and closely attached to their parent armies. So the ground situation is explained in some detail to give the reader an explanation of why fighter development occurred as it did." (author note).I received Lords of the Sky by Dan Hampton compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own, unless otherwise notated. Even though as a woman book reviewer, I love the way Dan wrote this book. It wasn't so over the top with airplane jargon and detailed descriptions that I would find myself completely lost. In fact, it was just the opposite. I felt myself drawn into the background of the military campaigns and didn't realize how difficult winning a war was and what some of the overwhelming odds faced our armed forces. It gave me a greater appreciation not only for our service men and women but for fighter pilots who are often faced with solo survival in the midst of high altitude flying over enemy lines. Well worth the money to invest in this book for fans of military, fighter pilots, and war heroes alike who are looking for something completely different. I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Not since the invention of the encyclopedia, do you have so much information packed into one book!

  • J.S.
    2018-12-04 04:38

    A hundred years ago wars were fought primarily on the battlefield, and "aeroplanes" were sort of a novelty and used mostly for intelligence purposes. Now, we see conflicts conducted almost entirely in the air with supersonic jets and heat-seeking or radar-guided missiles. This is an excellent and well-researched history of war in the air, focusing mainly on the fighter pilots and their role. Not every famous pilot or airplane is mentioned, but it is comprehensive enough. Hampton, who was a fighter pilot himself, is very familiar with the technical aspects of fighting in the air, and gives a surprising amount of detail on not only the 'why's' and the tactics but also on how it evolved over the years. In fact, I found his knowledge of history to be surprisingly good, and he speaks authoritatively and from personal experience about things such as the cockpit design of Russian MIGs. But there are plenty of stories of individuals who were prominent or important in one way or another as well, and the mix of stories with the technical detail provided a nice balance between the thrilling accounts and an understanding of the mechanics of fighting in the sky. He even provides short appendixes on "Anatomy of a Dogfight" and "Anatomy of a Surface Attack" (bombing) that briefly discuss some of the challenges. As someone who can barely keep the different planes separate in my mind but nonetheless enjoys seeing them at air shows, my only quibble might be with his characterization of Richthofen (the Red Baron). I thought he was a little too dismissive of his accomplishments and leaned too much on the view of him as simply a cold-blooded hunter/killer, but that's just my view. Also, there's a lot of "fighter pilot dialogue" in the latter chapters, and it would have been nice to have an explanation about what some of the jargon meant - but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. A fun and exciting read! (I received a free copy of the book from the GoodReads "FirstReads" program, and in return have provided an honest review.)

  • Teejay
    2018-12-11 02:37

    I'll give this book a solid 4 stars. It was quite an enjoyable read! If it had more pages -say, twice as many - I'd give it an additional star. Not that the book is short - it's 576 pages plus the bibliography. My Point here, is that in addition to covering his core content admirably, Mr. Hampton ALSO, without perhaps intending, provides a very illustrative chronology of the technical development of fighter aircraft design, and the evolution of aircraft ordnance. It is a FASCINATING read, and I hope someday he does a book on the technology itself, versus the human element. And - regarding the human element in this book, there is a lot... but there isn't very much, either. By this, I mean that Mr. Hampton is not a psychologist, and it shows - both in his treatment of the vignettes of what the pilots were feeling as they fought, and in the larger-scale of the "typecast" of a fighter pilot. This doesn't diminish the quality of his work at all - just be aware. If you want to reference this book in a psychological context, there's little "meat". --- and yet, this selfsame "failing" becomes very entertaining on his own - he holds himself in check with an iron hand: but understand that this Man served our country as a fighter pilot! By page 508 (paperback version), he is out of strength, and he Rants - the paragraph "In an age...". Here, is the human element. He is not only entertaining, but I couldn't agree with him more. So - if you enjoy military history, aircraft, tactics... Worth every penny. And thank you, Dan Hampton, not only for your service, but for your book!

  • Mark
    2018-11-28 23:23

    Being the kind of guy who can spend hours at places like The National Museum of The United States Air Force I loved this book. It is handy to do Internet searches on the planes mentioned in the book to get a better feel for them. I really enjoyed the descriptions of action in this book. Overall a really good read.

  • Claude Rains
    2018-11-22 01:50

    While this gripping, highly-readable history of fighter pilots includes some fascinating tales of obscure and little-known - but amazing - pilots, the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that the editing is sketchy, and as a grammar and fact pedant, seeing little mistakes that a professional editor at a major publishing house should have caught just irritates me.A few such errors:Referring to the WWII-era piston engine-driven B-29 bomber as one "of the big jets." I am certain that a decorated U.S. Air Force combat pilot such as the author would not have made such an elementary mistake, which tells me that a less than knowledgeable editor put that in, and the author didn't read the galley proofs to catch it.Quoting Mao Zedong as saying "Power comes from the barrel of a gun." The actual quote is: "Every Communist must grasp the truth: all political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." The reference to POLITICAL power and the reference to Communism are important to understand the context of the quote.Stating that a weapon systems officer (WSO) or electronic warfare officer (EWO) rode in the back seat of the Phantom "depending on the type of fuel." What?Non-fiction books on subjects that are highly technical must be scrupulously accurate, as there are plenty of readers who will spot the most minute errors. Make too many, and your gravitas as an expert on the subject may be called into question.

  • William Lehman
    2018-12-03 01:21

    The author takes as his subject the entirety of fighter history, from the first guy to strap a machinegun on his cloth and wood monoplane to Gulf 2. This is a huge endeavor and LtCol Hampton does a great job at it. He's one of those individuals that can cover history while allowing it to read like a novel. It is a little euro-centric, missing a few surprising names, (Rickenbacker, Bong, and some others) WW1 American exploits are just a couple pages, (yes I know that we weren't in it nearly as long as Europe but...) In the interregnum between wars, nothing is covered about the wars in Asia, which I found a little surprising, the Flying tigers don't even get a mention, nor does the Eagle squadrons. Nothing is given of the Japanese experience except for the actual attack on Pearl Harbor. It would have been useful to see some of their perspective. Nor was the P38 experience in the pacific covered, and the Navy's contribution was given a couple pages. The Red tails are left off, and you would get the feeling that the only figher plane the Americans used was the P51 oh and a couple pages on the P40.Still trying to cover everything that was pertinent to fighters is an enormous undertaking, and the col. does a fine job of giving you the big picture by giving you the perspective of the man in the cockpit.

  • Mike Cook
    2018-11-16 05:47

    I've read a lot of military history books, but this is one of the best! Written by a highly decorated F-16 pilot who flew 151 combat missions, it doesn't cover a war, or a battle, or even an era. It covers the evolution of fighter type aircraft from the first introduction of fairly primitive winged observers to modern, super technical jets. Along the way, it compares the pros and cons of the aircraft flown by opponents in each major conflict; and how increased understanding of aeronautics, new science, new manufacturing techniques, new materials, new technology, and new combat strategies made changes in the ebb and flow of air superiority. There is enough large-scale history to set the stage for conflicts, enough vignettes of individual pilots to add a small-scale perspective, and enough you-are-there, pilot-view narrative to make you part of the action. The stated purpose of the book seems ambitious, but Lt Col Dan Hampton pulls it off beautifully. Immanently readable, it draws you along like a well written novel. It isn't text-bookish at all, but it contains nuggets of information throughout. It is worth reading just to find out why the F-4U Corsair's wings are shaped the way they are and why, though designed to be carrier-based, it was relegated to land use only. Any fan of military aviation will enjoy this book.

  • Dustin
    2018-11-25 06:33

    The dust jacket and introduction are very misleading. I'm only saying this as a heads up. The book itself was fun to read, but it most definitely is not centered exclusively around fighter pilots. Also, the details fall off a great deal after the very exhaustive beginnings of WWI. Each chapter begins with a pilot's story, and how it fits into the historical context of the chapter. Then it segues into an overall history of the conflict, not really staying with the aviation theme. WWII is where the details being to fall. The European theater is covered in great detail, but the Pacific is all but a footnote. The details about how the Zero ruled the theater until the Hellcats and Corsairs came along are not present, as well as the details about any of the great aces from each side. That was a huge disappointment. Each chapter after that follows the same formula as before, not really staying on specific fighter pilots or stories as much as the first few chapters do. Also, if you're expecting to read about American aces, forget it. German aces from WWI and II are given a lot of ink, but no one else gets as much attention. It's basically a recap of every major war since 1914, with aviation feats thrown in. I swear it's not a bad book, it's just not what I was expecting.

  • Gary Brecht
    2018-12-13 05:43

    This well structured account of the evolution of fighter aircraft begins with WWI. As in most of the chapters in this book it begins with an exciting scene in the cockpit of a fighter plane. At the conclusion of the scene the author pulls up to take in the bigger picture; it may be the importance of a specific battle, it might be a pivotal moment in the development of fighter tactics or the first use of a significant breakthrough in military aircraft technology. In some cases it might be to narrate the fate of a famous pilot. Then once more the author ascends to provide us with the large-scale view; at what point in history these events occurred. This storytelling format not only gives the reader a feel for what piloting a fighter might be like, but it puts it in a historical and evolutionary perspective. While the book contains aeronautic details and military jargon, the glossary of terms provides ample assistance. For an easy to read, exciting exposition of the world of fighter pilots and their aircraft this book soars over many others.

  • Read Ng
    2018-11-23 00:43

    This was a Goodreads giveaway. I liked this book, but not as much as I enjoyed Hampton's Viper Pilot. My problem with history books occurs when the era covered is too broad to follow a single individual. We just get a brief name dropped here and there without much discussion of their personalities. Just stringing together a lot of facts. I did enjoy the technological details (I never knew Hedy Lamar was so smart). But some of the discussion about the early biplane era planes was lost to me, since I lack sufficient knowledge of planes in that era. It was a good history of the fighter pilot and the changing role as planes and wars evolve. This book reminds me that air warfare is going to see even greater strides. It will not be as exciting to have remotely flown fighters, but an on board human pilot can only pull so many G's. We may be at the apex of manned fighters. It's good to find a book explaining their craft.Have a Goodreads.

  • John Konneker
    2018-12-06 01:41

    As the son of a jet pilot, I really enjoyed it. It slowed down for me near the end, maybe because there was a bit too much jargon and mundane technical detail...but only towards the end. Overwhelmed with unexplained acronyms, I would skim through a few pages, on occasion. But... Overall it's an enlightening and entertaining read I would recommend. I found myself mentally saying "wow" a great deal. Plenty of heroic, tragic, and inspiring back stories. If you enjoy history, in particular the history of air war, you should find this interesting. It didn't have as much personal experience(actual war tales)as I had hoped, but enough. Again, I would qualify my opinion as being that of a kid who grew up near air bases, had 3 brothers who were war/airplane nuts, and who idolized his fighter pilot dad. It's probably not for everyone.

  • Benjamin
    2018-12-12 00:26

    Although he adds life to this written history with novel-esk segments of high-flying action, this history of fighter pilots and air combat is just that - a history. It wasn't the most engaging read I've ever had, but as far as the purpose of the book, it was very well written and gave wonderful insights and, as far as I can tell, an unbiased history of what it was like to fight in the sky from The Great War up until now. Unfortunately, Hampton used his liberties to add some colorful language in places. Although it wasn't a common theme throughout the book, it did seem to crop up towards to end of the book. I'm all for realism, but I don't think it's necessary, especially in a book such as this (this being more of a historical research piece than an action-packed work of fiction). All in all it was very informative. A good book for someone interested in the subject.

  • Phillip Elliott
    2018-12-14 03:44

    What a great history of flight from the point of view of a fighter pilot. I loved the entire book. There was a fantastic history of events included with the obvious subject matter. There is a very slight bias in the history that manifests itself in a couple of editorial comments, but I think that these added to the flavor of the book. Flight, the selection of dogfights, and the selection of pilots was superb. These are always arguable, but I think that these were nice in this book and added to the story line. The book is also a little heavy on early flight and World War One. On the flip side of this is the relative importance and speed of technological advance in these early years. This is a book I should have read before now.

  • richard g roach
    2018-11-29 05:24

    A world of danger, nerve,courage, thrill and risk, the world of the fighter pilot, revealed by a fighter pilot.This book in covering in depth the world of the fighter pilot com WW1 to the Iraq war. Reveals the tactics, attitudes, skills needed to develop a fighter pilot. The author gives an in depth look at the men who fly fighters throughout the history of flight.The author gives the reader a look into the mind if these men. He covers the great air battles of all the wars seen and felt thru the eyes of the combatants themselves. If you like aviation history, the stories of the greatest fighter pilots in history then this is the book for you.