Sunday, September 2, 2012

eBook Review: Fighting the Flying Circus

Eddie Rickenbacker, Fighting the Flying Circus

Product Details

  • File Size: 2858 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Publisher: LeClue22 (February 8, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0013NXB6S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $2.99
1. Short review:    (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  The pictures. The first-hand account.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Should be a roller coaster but it reads more like a walk in the park.

2.2. What I did not like: Lack of detail for September and October 1918.

2.3. Who I think is the audience: Air combat buffs. History buffs.

2.4. Is the book appropriate for children to read?  Yes. No worries.

2.5. On the basis of reading this book, will I buy the author's next book?  Yes.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell:
     There is no plot. Fighting the Flying Circus is an edited memoir. It was pieced together from Rickenbacker's (EVR) war diary and his letters.
     EVR's story mirrors the story of the United States Air Service in WW1. He wrote of flying Nieuport 28s on patrol without guns; then with one gun to a plane because they had not enough to equip every plane with two; of many pilots shredding their top planes in dives.
     EVR spent June, July, and August in the hospital recovering from an ear operation. He returned in September to find that his group had not downed many Boche during his absence and that the Nieuports had been replaced with Spad XIIIs.
     EVR wrote of Frank Luke's comet-like fighting career. He ended with Luke's disappearance. When Fighting the Flying Circus was first printed in 1919, the USAS had not received the story of Luke's last fight nor the location of his grave.
     Fighting the Flying Circus contains details about guns jamming and using incendiary ammunition to ignite German balloons.
     I was pleased with the photos in Fighting the Flying Circus. These included photos of EVR, his squadron mates, observation balloons, and the Hannover CLII that EVR brought down.
     About a quarter way through the book, I said to myself, "I think this was ghostwritten." It was. The ghostwriter of Fighting the Flying Circus was  Laurence La Tourette Driggs. The Aerodrome has a short piece about him. Search for the write-up by Ira Silverman.
     In the appendices at the end of the book, there is a table of Rickenbacker's confirmed kills. The list in Wikipedia echoes this list. I found it better than EVR's list at the Aerodrome. Together, the two lists seem comprehensive.    
 2.7. Other:
     This is a later edition. It includes appendices that detail EVR's accomplishments after the war, such as the fact that he was presented the CMoH by President Herbert Hoover in 1931.

2.8. Links: 

2.9. Buy the book:  Fighting the Flying Circus