Saturday, June 9, 2012

eBook Review: High Adventure

James Norman Hall, High Adventure: A Narrative of Air Fighting in France

Product Details

  • File Size: 175 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TPDZ4A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: no customer reviews
  • Price: $0.00 
1. Short review: 

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  Casual style.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Because it is a book about aerial combat, it should be a roller coaster, but it is more a walk in the park.

2.2. What I did not like: The lack of excitement.

2.3. Who I think is the audience:  WWI aerial warfare history buffs.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book? No, but I will on the basis of reading his other works.

2.6. Other:

     This is a fictional account of Hall's service with the Lafayette Escadrille.
     It read like a fictionalized diary. The organization lacked coherence. It moved slowly from getting lost on patrols to fighting le cafard in barracks. The little organization there is broke down completely once Hall was shot down and captured.
     Years ago, I read Falcons of France and enjoyed it. High Adventure read like the first draft outline of Falcons of France.
     I wanted to like this book, but I didn't. For free, it's worth a download.

     Even though Hall fictionalized his account, this bit shocked me. I believe it to be true.
     [Chapter] VI. A BALLOON ATTACK. (p 143; location 1192)
     Hall wrote that two flights of three were detailed to attack German balloons (Drachen). Numbers 1 and 2 of each flight were to attack the Drachen with rockets. Number 3 was to fly cover for Numbers 1 and 2.
     Number 1 was to fly over the first Drachen, throttle back to idle, and dive vertically on his target. When the Drachen filled his gunsight, he was to loose his rockets. Hall does not say, but I believe these were Le Prieur rockets.
     If Number 1 was not successful and did not flame the first Drachen, then Number 2 was to attack the same balloon. If Number 1 was successful and flamed the first Drachen,  then Number 2 was to attack another Drachen. But first, Number 2 was to "attack the observers [from the flamed Drachen] in their parachutes." (p 146; location 1214).
     In other words, the Aeronautique Militaire ordered its airmen to shoot defenseless men. Hall rationalized an excuse for this, but he admitted that neither he nor his wingman liked it.
     I have no words to express how revolted I felt about this order. Shooting a defenseless man is not an act of war. It is murder. The order was unjustifiable and illegal by the standards of war and the laws of any civilized nation. I am shocked that the French would order such a thing.
     I can justify collateral damage, but I don't like it. I find no justification for this order, nor do believe that there can be any.
     If a gov't has to resort to such as this in order to survive, it were better for humanity that such a gov't fall and be forgotten.

2.7. Links:  James Norman Hall 

2.8. Buy the book:  High Adventure

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