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Books > History > History of specific subjects > Military history

Blood on the Border - A Memoir of the Contra War (Paperback, Revised ed.): Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz Blood on the Border - A Memoir of the Contra War (Paperback, Revised ed.)
Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz; Foreword by Margaret Randall
R585 R468 Discovery Miles 4 680 Save R117 (20%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Human rights activist and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has been described as ""a force of nature on the page and off."" That force is fully present in Blood on the Border, the third in her acclaimed series of memoirs. Seamlessly blending the personal and the political, Blood on the Border is Dunbar-Ortiz's firsthand account of the decade-long dirty war pursued by the Contras and the United States against the people of Nicaragua. With the 1981 bombing of a Nicaraguan plane in Mexico City - a plane Dunbar-Ortiz herself would have been on if not for a delay - the US-backed Contras (short for los contrarrevolucionarios) launched a major offensive against Nicaragua's Sandinista regime, which the Reagan administration labeled as communist. While her rich political analysis of the US-Nicaraguan relationship bears the mark of a trained historian, Dunbar-Ortiz also writes from her perspective as an intrepid activist who spent months at a time throughout the 1980s in the war-torn country, especially in the remote northeastern region, where the Indigenous Miskitu people were relentlessly assailed and nearly wiped out by CIA-trained Contra mercenaries. She makes painfully clear the connections between what many US Americans today remember only vaguely as the Iran-Contra ""affair"" and ongoing US aggression in the Americas, the Middle East, and around the world - connections made even more explicit in a new afterword written for this edition. A compelling, important, and sobering story on its own, Blood on the Border offers a deeply informed, closely observed, and heartfelt view of history in the making.

Men Is Cheap - Exposing the Frauds of Free Labor in Civil War America (Hardcover): Brian P. Luskey Men Is Cheap - Exposing the Frauds of Free Labor in Civil War America (Hardcover)
Brian P. Luskey
R904 Discovery Miles 9 040 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

When a Civil War substitute broker told business associates that "Men is cheep here to Day," he exposed an unsettling contradiction at the heart of the Union's war effort. Despite Northerners' devotion to the principles of free labor, the war produced rampant speculation and coercive labor arrangements that many Americans labeled fraudulent. Debates about this contradiction focused on employment agencies called "intelligence offices," institutions of dubious character that nevertheless served the military and domestic necessities of the Union army and Northern households. Northerners condemned labor agents for pocketing fees above and beyond contracts for wages between employers and employees. Yet the transactions these middlemen brokered with vulnerable Irish immigrants, Union soldiers and veterans, former slaves, and Confederate deserters defined the limits of independence in the wage labor economy and clarified who could prosper in it. Men Is Cheap shows that in the process of winning the war, Northerners were forced to grapple with the frauds of free labor. Labor brokers, by helping to staff the Union military and Yankee households, did indispensable work that helped the Northern state and Northern employers emerge victorious. They also gave rise to an economic and political system that enriched the managerial class at the expense of laborers--a reality that resonates to this day.

140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon (Hardcover): 140 Days to Hiroshima: The Story of Japan's Last Chance to Avert Armageddon (Hardcover)
R570 R459 Discovery Miles 4 590 Save R111 (19%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

During the closing months of the Second World War, as America's strategic bombing campaign incinerated Japan's cities, two military giants were locked in a death embrace of cultural differences and diplomatic intransigence. The leaders of the United States called for the 'unconditional surrender' of the Japanese Empire while developing history's deadliest weapon and weighing an invasion that would have dwarfed DDay. Their enemy responded with a last-ditch call for the suicidal resistance of every able-bodied man and woman in 'The Decisive Battle' for the homeland. But had Emperor Hirohito's generals miscalculated how far the Americans had come in developing the atomic bomb? How close did President Harry Truman come to ordering the invasion of Japan? Acclaimed historian David Dean Barrett recounts the secret strategy sessions, fierce debates, looming assassinations and planned invasions that resulted in history's first use of nuclear weapons in combat, and the ensuing chaos as the Japanese government struggled to respond to the reality of nuclear war. AUTHOR: David Dean Barrett has published work in WWII QUARTERLY MAGAZINE and GLOBAL WAR STUDIES and is the history content consulting producer for Lou Reda Productions' forthcoming documentary on the U.S. Eighth Air Force in the Second World War. He lives in Littleton, Colorado.

MiG-31 Foxhound - Aircraft in Detail (Paperback): Robert Pied, Nicolas Deboeck MiG-31 Foxhound - Aircraft in Detail (Paperback)
Robert Pied, Nicolas Deboeck; Photographs by Kirill Mushak
R707 R552 Discovery Miles 5 520 Save R155 (22%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Traitor and the Spy - Benedict Arnold and John Andre James (Paperback, Syracuse University Press ed): James Thomas Flexner Traitor and the Spy - Benedict Arnold and John Andre James (Paperback, Syracuse University Press ed)
James Thomas Flexner
R499 R412 Discovery Miles 4 120 Save R87 (17%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

An account of the traitorous trio who almost toppled the American nation at its birth. Benedict Arnold offered to sell his soldiers, with the key fortress of West Point, and to deliver to the enemy, dead or alive, George Washington. The plot promised to destroy the American battle of freedom.

Titan - The Art of British Power in the Age of Revolution and Napoleon (Hardcover): William R. Nester Titan - The Art of British Power in the Age of Revolution and Napoleon (Hardcover)
William R. Nester
R1,029 Discovery Miles 10 290 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

When the leaders of the French Revolution executed Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793, they sent a chilling message to the hereditary ruling orders in Europe. Believing that monarchy anywhere presented a threat to democratic rule in France, the leaders of the revolution declared war on European aristocracies, including those of Great Britain. For more than twenty years thereafter, France and England waged a protracted war that ended in British victory. In Titan, William R. Nester offers a deeply informed and thoroughly fascinating narrative of how England accomplished this remarkable feat. Between 1789 and 1815, British leaders devised, funded, and led seven coalitions against the revolutionary and Napoleonic governments of France. In each enterprise, statesmen and generals searched for order amid a complex welter of bureaucratic, political, economic, psychological, technological, and international forces. Nester combines biographies of great men - the likes of William Pitt, Horatio Nelson, and Arthur Wellesley - with an explanation of the critical decisions they made in Britain's struggle for power and his own keen analysis of the forces that operated beyond their control. Their efforts would eventually crush France and Napoleon and establish a system of European power relations that prevented a world war for nearly a century. The interplay of individuals and events, the importance of conjunctures and contingency, the significance of Britain's island character and resources: all come into play in Nester's exploration of the art of British military diplomacy. The result is a comprehensive and insightful account of the endeavors of statesmen and generals to master the art of power in a complex battle for empire.

Crucible of Hell - The Heroism and Tragedy of Okinawa, 1945 (Hardcover): Saul David Crucible of Hell - The Heroism and Tragedy of Okinawa, 1945 (Hardcover)
Saul David
R718 R570 Discovery Miles 5 700 Save R148 (21%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Confederate Political Economy - Creating and Managing a Southern Corporatist Nation (Hardcover): Michael Brem Bonner Confederate Political Economy - Creating and Managing a Southern Corporatist Nation (Hardcover)
Michael Brem Bonner
R1,213 Discovery Miles 12 130 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

In Confederate Political Economy, Michael Bonner suggests that the Confederate nation was an expedient corporatist state -- a society that required all sectors of the economy to work for the national interest, as defined by a partnership of industrial leaders and a dominant government. As Bonner shows, the characteristics of the Confederate States' political economy included modern organisational methods that mirrored the economic landscape of other late nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century corporatist governments. Southern leaders, Bonner argues, were slave-owning agricultural capitalists who sought a counterrevolution against northern liberal capitalism. During secession and as the war progressed, they built and reinforced Confederate nationalism through specific centralized government policies. Bolstered by the Confederate constitution, these policies evolved into a political culture that allowed for immense executive powers, facilitated an anti-party ideology, and subordinated individual rights. In addition, the South's lack of industrial capacity forced the Confederacy to pursue a curious manufacturing policy that used both private companies and national ownership to produce munitions. This symbiotic relationship was just one component of the Confederacy's expedient corporatist state: other wartime policies like conscription, the domestic passport system, and management of southern railroads also exhibited unmistakable corporatist characteristics. Bonner's probing research and new comparative analysis expand our understanding of the complex organisation and relationships in Confederate political and economic culture during the Civil War.

Extreme Civil War - Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier (Hardcover): Matthew M Stith Extreme Civil War - Guerrilla Warfare, Environment, and Race on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier (Hardcover)
Matthew M Stith
R1,076 Discovery Miles 10 760 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

During the American Civil War the western Trans-Mississippi frontier was host to harsh environmental conditions, irregular warfare, and intense racial tensions that created extraordinarily difficult conditions for both combatants and civilians. Matthew M. Stith's Extreme Civil War focuses on Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory to examine the physical and cultural frontiers that challenged Confederate and Union forces alike. A disturbing narrative emerges where conflict indiscriminately beset troops and families in a region that continually verged on social and political anarchy. With hundreds of small fights disbursed over the expansive borderland, fought by civilians -- even some women and children -- as much as by soldiers and guerrillas, this theater of war was especially savage. Despite connections to the political issues and military campaigns that drove the larger war, the irregular conflict in this border region represented a truly disparate war within a war. The blend of violence, racial unrest, and frontier culture presented distinct challenges to combatants, far from the aid of governmental services. Stith shows how white Confederate and Union civilians faced forces of warfare and the bleak environmental realities east of the Great Plains while barely coexisting with a number of other ethnicities and races, including Native Americans and African Americans. In addition to the brutal fighting and lack of basic infrastructure, the inherent mistrust among these communities intensified the suffering of all citizens on America's frontier. Extreme Civil War reveals the complex racial, environmental, and military dimensions that fueled the brutal guerrilla warfare and made the Trans-Mississippi frontier one of the most difficult and diverse pockets of violence during the Civil War.

Ioway Life - Reservation and Reform, 1837-1860 (Hardcover): Greg Olson Ioway Life - Reservation and Reform, 1837-1860 (Hardcover)
Greg Olson
R860 Discovery Miles 8 600 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

In 1837 the Ioways, an Indigenous people who had called most of present-day Iowa and Missouri home, were suddenly bound by the Treaty of 1836 with the U.S. federal government to restrict themselves to a two-hundred-square-mile parcel of land west of the Missouri River. Forcibly removed to the newly created Great Nemaha Agency, the Ioway men, women, and children, numbering nearly a thousand, were promised that through hard work and discipline they could enter mainstream American society. All that was required was that they give up everything that made them Ioway. In Ioway Life, Greg Olson provides the first detailed account of how the tribe met this challenge during the first two decades of the agency's existence. Within the Great Nemaha Agency's boundaries, the Ioways lived alongside the U.S. Indian agent, other government employees, and Presbyterian missionaries. These outside forces sought to manipulate every aspect of the Ioways' daily life, from their manner of dress and housing to the way they planted crops and expressed themselves spiritually. In the face of the white reformers' contradictory assumptions - that Indians could assimilate into the American mainstream, and that they lacked the mental and moral wherewithal to transform - the Ioways became adept at accepting necessary changes while refusing religious and cultural conversion. Nonetheless, as Olson's work reveals, agents and missionaries managed to plant seeds of colonialism that would make the Ioways susceptible to greater government influence later on - in particular, by reducing their self-sufficiency and undermining their traditional structure of leadership. Ioway Life offers a complex and nuanced picture of the Ioways' efforts to retain their tribal identity within the constrictive boundaries of the Great Nemaha Agency. Drawing on diaries, newspapers, and correspondence from the agency's files and Presbyterian archives, Olson offers a compelling case study in U.S. colonialism and Indigenous resistance.

The Saddest Words - William Faulkner's Civil War (Hardcover): Michael Gorra The Saddest Words - William Faulkner's Civil War (Hardcover)
Michael Gorra
R726 R578 Discovery Miles 5 780 Save R148 (20%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Michael Gorra asks provocative questions in this historic portrait of William Faulkner and his world. He explores whether William Faulkner should still be read in this new century and asks what his works tell us about the legacy of slavery and the American Civil War, the central quarrel in America's history. Born in 1897 in Mississippi, Faulkner wrote such iconic novels as Absalom, Absalom! and The Sound and the Fury, creating in Yoknapatawpha County the richest gallery of characters in American fiction, his achievements culminating in the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. But given his works' echo of "Lost Cause" romanticism, his depiction of black characters and black speech, and his rendering of race relations in a largely unreconstructed South, Faulkner demands a sobering reevaluation. Interweaving biography, absorbing literary criticism and rich travelogue, The Saddest Words recontextualises Faulkner, revealing a civil war within him, while examining the most plangent cultural issues facing American literature today.

Action Likely in Pacific - Secret Agent Kilsoo Haan, Pearl Harbor and the Creation of North Korea (Hardcover): John Koster Action Likely in Pacific - Secret Agent Kilsoo Haan, Pearl Harbor and the Creation of North Korea (Hardcover)
John Koster
R570 R459 Discovery Miles 4 590 Save R111 (19%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

A story of espionage that could have changed the course of history and saved thousands of American and British lives - and millions of Asian lives. 'On the night of 3 December 1941, I could not fall asleep,' Kilsoo Haan remembered. 'I went to the Chop Suey House, the Chinese Lantern, and ordered a bowl of Chinese soup. Next to my table, a Japanese was trying to sell a Chinese a second-hand automobile. After the Japanese left, the Chinese said to me, "You like to buy cheap automobile?" After a pause he said, "This Japanese is selling four automobiles owned by the Japanese Embassy workers because they are going to Japan pretty soon... Oh so cheap."' Four days later the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Before the Second World War, Korean-American Kilsoo Haan repeatedly warned the United States about the Japanese attack and accurately supplied every conceivable detail as relayed to him by Korean agents: midget submarines as well as aircraft at Pearl Harbor, then giant submarine aircraft carriers on the high seas that almost bombed San Diego with plague germs until Tojo cancelled the air strike, and a joint Chinese-Japanese attack - Operation Ichi-Go - against the American and Chinese Nationalist forces, which drove through Chiang Kai-shek's much larger army. When US political bungling helped to create a Communist North Korea, Haan continued to supply information about Soviet nuclear tests in Siberia, the development of Soviet guided missiles, and the North Korean invasion of the Republic of Korea, which led to thousands of American and British casualties. He was ignored. The story of American influence in Korea and dealings with Japan provides a little-known new perspective on the Pacific War and remains a factor today in international politics. Author John Koster explains the tragic and bloody entangled histories of Japan, China and Korea that form the backdrop to this extraordinary story.

Bunker Hill and Grissom Air Force Base (Paperback): Tom Kelley Bunker Hill and Grissom Air Force Base (Paperback)
Tom Kelley; Introduction by Col Alan Dugard (Usaf Ret )
R510 R411 Discovery Miles 4 110 Save R99 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Two Civil Wars - The Curious Shared Journal of a Baton Rouge Schoolgirl and a Union Sailor on the USS Essex (Hardcover):... Two Civil Wars - The Curious Shared Journal of a Baton Rouge Schoolgirl and a Union Sailor on the USS Essex (Hardcover)
Katherine Bentley Jeffrey
R984 Discovery Miles 9 840 Ships in 7 - 11 working days

Two Civil Wars is both an edition of an unusual Civil War--era double journal and a narrative about the two writers who composed its contents. The initial journal entries were written by thirteen-year-old Celeste Repp while a student at St. Mary's Academy, a prominent but short-lived girls school in midcentury Baton Rouge. Celeste's French compositions, dating from 1859 to 1861, offer brief but poignant meditations, describe seasonal celebrations, and mention by name both her headmistress, Matilda Victor, and French instructor and priest, Father Darius Hubert. Immediately following Celeste's prettily decorated pages a new title page intervenes, introducing ""An Abstract Journal Kept by William L. Park, of the U.S. gunboat Essex during the American Rebellion."" Park's diary is a fulsome three-year account of military engagements along the Mississippi and its tributaries, the bombardment of southern towns, the looting of plantations, skirmishes with Confederate guerillas, the uneasy experiment with ""contrabands"" (freed slaves) serving aboard ship, and the mundane circumstances of shipboard life. Very few diaries from the inland navy have survived, and this is the first journal from the ironclad Essex to be published. Jeffrey has read it alongside several unpublished accounts by Park's crewmates as well as a later memoir composed by Park in his declining years. It provides rare insight into the culture of the ironclad fleet and equally rare firsthand commentary by an ordinary sailor on events such as the sinking of CSS Arkansas and the prolonged siege of Port Hudson. Jeffrey provides detailed annotation and context for the Repp and Park journals, filling out the biographies of both writers before and after the Civil War. In Celeste's case, Jeffrey uncovers surprising connections to such prominent Baton Rouge residents as the diarist Sarah Morgan, and explores the complexity of wartime allegiances in the South through the experiences of Matilda Victor and Darius Hubert. She also unravels the mystery of how a southern youngster's school scribbler found its way into the hands of a Union sailor. In so doing, she provides a richly detailed picture of occupied Baton Rouge and especially of events surrounding the Battle of Baton Rouge in August 1862. These two unusual personal journals, linked by curious happenstance in a single notebook, open up intriguing, provocative, and surprisingly complementary new vistas on antebellum Baton Rouge and the Civil War on the Mississippi.

Commandos (Paperback): John Parker Commandos (Paperback)
John Parker 1
R366 R298 Discovery Miles 2 980 Save R68 (19%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

'From now on, all men operating against German troops in so-called Commando raids are to be annihilated.' Adolf Hitler This infamous edict was Hitler's response to the actions of the Commandos, a daring new guerrilla force led by eccentrics and idealists. The Commandos were Britain's first ever special forces, a group of volunteers from across the Army, Navy and Air Force that would confront the Germans on some of the most dangerous missions of the Second World War. After the war, the Commando units of the Royal Marines carried on those traditions, engaging in virtually every military scenario involving British troops. They became the elite of the British 'ready-to-go' forces, capable of deploying at a moment's notice to any trouble spot in the world. Their training is uniquely challenging and those who pass through it are awarded the coveted Green Beret, the distinctive hallmark of the Commando ethos. In John Parker's now signature style, Commandos details the formation of one of Britain's most controversial fighting units, told with unique accounts from the men at the frontlines of the biggest battles of the twentieth century.

The Patriot Parson of Lexington, Massachusetts: Reverend Jonas Clarke and the American Revolution (Paperback): Richard P Kollen The Patriot Parson of Lexington, Massachusetts: Reverend Jonas Clarke and the American Revolution (Paperback)
Richard P Kollen
R518 R419 Discovery Miles 4 190 Save R99 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Firsts, Lasts and Only's: Military (Hardcover): Ian Harrison Firsts, Lasts and Only's: Military (Hardcover)
Ian Harrison 2
R207 R158 Discovery Miles 1 580 Save R49 (24%) Ships in 10 - 15 working days

Jeremy Beadle and Ian Harrison have combined forces to display their extensive knowledge on a series of "Firsts, Lasts and Onlys" trivia books. Chronologically categorised, these books examine the key moments in history when human endeavour has created a breakthrough, a triumphant conclusion or a unique one-time only event. "Military's First, Lasts & Onlys" reveals a compendium of facts, trivia, events and information on key moments in Military history. Further "Firsts, Lasts & Onlys" titles include trivia on Crime, Football and Rugby.

North Carolina and the Coming of the Civil War (Paperback, illustrated edition): William C. Harris North Carolina and the Coming of the Civil War (Paperback, illustrated edition)
William C. Harris
R218 R179 Discovery Miles 1 790 Save R39 (18%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Kill Jeff Davis - The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864 (Hardcover): Bruce M Venter Kill Jeff Davis - The Union Raid on Richmond, 1864 (Hardcover)
Bruce M Venter
R713 R565 Discovery Miles 5 650 Save R148 (21%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

The ostensible goal of the controversial Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid on Richmond (February 28-March 3, 1864) was to free some 13,000 Union prisoners of war held in the Confederate capital. But orders found on the dead body of the raid's subordinate commander, Colonel Ulric Dahlgren, point instead to a plot to capture or kill Confederate president Jefferson Davis and set Richmond ablaze. What really happened, and how and why, are debated to this day. Kill Jeff Davis offers a fresh look at the failed raid and mines newly discovered documents and little-known sources to provide definitive answers. In this detailed and deeply researched account of the most famous cavalry raid of the Civil War, author Bruce M. Venter describes an expedition that was carefully planned but poorly executed. A host of factors foiled the raid: bad weather, poor logistics, inadequate command and control, ignorance of the terrain, the failures of supporting forces, and the leaders' personal and professional shortcomings. Venter delves into the background and consequences of the debacle, beginning with the political maneuvering orchestrated by commanding brigadier general Judson Kilpatrick to persuade President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to approve the raid. Venter's examination of the relationship between Kilpatrick and Brigadier General George A. Custer illuminates the reasons why the flamboyant Custer was excluded from the Richmond raid. In a lively narrative describing the multiple problems that beset the raiders, Kill Jeff Davis uncovers new details about the African American guide whom Dahlgren ordered hanged; the defenders of the Confederate capital, who were not just the ""old men and young boys"" of popular lore; and General Benjamin F. Butler's expedition to capture Davis, as well as Custer's diversionary raid on Charlottesville. Venter's thoughtful reinterpretations and well-reasoned observations put to rest many myths and misperceptions. He tells, at last, the full story of this hotly contested moment in Civil War history.

Revolver - Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America (Hardcover): Jim Rasenberger Revolver - Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter That Changed America (Hardcover)
Jim Rasenberger
R712 R564 Discovery Miles 5 640 Save R148 (21%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
The Airship Roma Disaster in Hampton Roads (Paperback): Nancy E Sheppard The Airship Roma Disaster in Hampton Roads (Paperback)
Nancy E Sheppard
R518 R419 Discovery Miles 4 190 Save R99 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
From Boston to Berlin - A Journey Through World War II in Images and Words (Paperback): Christopher E. Mauriello, Roland J.... From Boston to Berlin - A Journey Through World War II in Images and Words (Paperback)
Christopher E. Mauriello, Roland J. Regan Jr.
R463 R375 Discovery Miles 3 750 Save R88 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

When Roland Regan and Frederick Mauriello went off to fight the Germans in World War II, they packed cameras and notepaper and documented their experiences, Roland with photos, Frederick with letters to his family. Roland's photos, developed after the war, never went through Army censorship and show an honest firsthand view of the war from the eyes of an enlisted man. Frederick's letters show a young man's devotion to his family, his good-will, and his growing distrust of military authority. As a whole, this collection is a testimony to the courage, faith, and loyalty of all the men who served during World War II. These priceless documents, presented by their sons in this book, offer readers an intimate glimpse at a unique aspect of the American experience.

James Garfield and the Civil War - For Ohio and the Union (Paperback): Daniel J Vermilya James Garfield and the Civil War - For Ohio and the Union (Paperback)
Daniel J Vermilya
R538 R438 Discovery Miles 4 380 Save R100 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
Detroit in World War II (Paperback): Gregory D. Sumner Detroit in World War II (Paperback)
Gregory D. Sumner
R513 R413 Discovery Miles 4 130 Save R100 (19%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days
The Unsubstantial Air (Paperback): Samuel Hynes The Unsubstantial Air (Paperback)
Samuel Hynes
R377 R352 Discovery Miles 3 520 Save R25 (7%) Ships in 7 - 11 working days

The Unsubstantial Air is a chronicle of war that is more than a military history; it traces the lives and deaths of the young Americans who fought in the skies over Europe in World War I. Using letters, journals, and memoirs, it speaks in their voices and answers primal questions: What was it like to be there? What was it like to fly those planes, to fight, to kill? The volunteer fliers were often privileged young men. The sort of college athletes and Ivy League students who might appear in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and sometimes did. For them, a war in the air would be like a college reunion. Others were roughnecks from farms and ranches, for whom it would all be strange. Together they would make one Air Service and fight one bitter, costly war. A wartime pilot himself, the memoirist and critic Samuel Hynes tells these young men's saga as the story of a generation. He shows how they dreamed of adventure and glory, and how they learned the realities of a pilot's life, the hardships and the danger, and how they came to know both the beauty of flight and the constant presence of death. They gasp in wonder at the world seen from a plane, struggle to keep their hands from freezing in open-air cockpits, party with actresses and aristocrats, and search for their friends' bodies on the battlefield. Their romantic war becomes more than that, it becomes a harsh but often thrilling new reality.

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