Sunday, January 13, 2013

eBook Review: Horses Don't Fly

Frederick Libby, Horses Don't Fly

Product Details

  • File Size: 3302 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (January 9, 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004P8IWJY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars (24 customer reviews) 
  • Price: $9.99
1. Short review:    (Amazon rating: 4 out of 5 stars -- I like it.)

2. Long review:
2.1. What I liked:  The first-hand account by the first American ace in the Great War.
Roller-coaster or walk-in-the-park? Both.

2.2. What I did not like: The use of present tense vice past tense.

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, but there are none.

2.6. The plot in a nutshell:
     There is no plot. Horses Don't Fly is a memoir. Frederick Libby wrote it many years after the war. His memoir covers his life from boyhood to the end of the Great War.
     Libby begins with his boyhood experiences growing up on the plains of eastern Colorado. His mother died when he was young. He was raised by his father and the black woman his father hired to run the house.
     Libby spent some time back east with his father's sister -- a woman who disapproved of the way her brother raised his two sons. Libby spent the time with his aunt trying to persuade his father to bring him back to Colorado. He succeeded.
     As a man, Libby's first jobs were wrangling horses and training them to saddle in Colorado and Arizona. In Arizona, he and a friend together took a notion to hire out as roughnecks in the Alberta oil boom.
     Libby joined the Canadian Army as a transport driver even though he had no experience as a driver. He persuaded a comrade to teach him to drive and was soon driving in France. 
     Libby volunteered to become an RFC observer in 1915. The training at that time was minimal. In fact, the gaining squadron trained him. Flying in the front of an FE2b, his got his first kill on his first sortie over the lines. According to Libby, he was responsible for putting gunstocks on the observer's Lewis gun.
     Libby scored 10 kills as an observer. He then took pilot training and returned to the front to fly Sopwith 1 1/2 strutters and DH4s and scored four more kills from the pilot's seat. He liked the DH4. Libby said it could outrun the German fighters.
     Billy Mitchell persuaded Libby to transfer to the USAS. It was a bad experience for Libby. Because he had sworn allegiance to the king, his American citizenship was forfeit. He had to swear allegiance to the US constitution to regain his citizenship. The US Army was, by presidential order, a teetotaling organization in those days. This did not sit well with Libby who had grown accustomed to toasting the King's health in the mess.     
     Libby spent almost all his time in American service in bad hospitals or good spas recovering his health. He did not enjoy the experience. He had nothing good to say about the USAS.
 2.7. Other:
     The book ends with a summary of Libby's accomplishments after the war.

2.8. Links: 

2.9. Buy the book:  Horses Don't Fly

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