The Sensational True Story Of Eddie Rickenbacker, America S Greatest Flying AceAt The Turn Of The Twentieth Century Two New Technologies The Car And Airplane Took The Nation S Imagination By Storm As They Burst, Like Comets, Into American Life The Brave Souls That Leaped Into These Dangerous Contraptions And Pushed Them To Unexplored Extremes Became New American Heroes The Race Car Driver And The Flying AceNo Individual Did To Create And Intensify These Raw New Roles Than The Tall, Gangly Eddie Rickenbacker, Who Defied Death Over And Over With Such Courage And Pluck That A Generation Of Americans Came To Know His Face Better Than The President S The Son Of Poor, German Speaking Swiss Immigrants In Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker Overcame The Specter Of His Father S Violent Death, A Debilitating Handicap, And, Later, Accusations Of Being A German Spy, To Become The American Military Ace Of Aces In World War I And A Medal Of Honor Recipient He And His High Spirited, All Too Short Lived Pilot Comrades, Created A New Kind Of Aviation Warfare, As They Pushed Their Machines To The Edge Of Destruction And Often Over It Without Parachutes, Radios, Or Radar Enduring Courage Is The Electrifying Story Of The Beginning Of America S Love Affair With Speed And How One Man Above All The Rest Showed A Nation The Way Forward No Simple Daredevil, He Was An Innovator On The Racetrack, A Skilled Aerial Dualist And Squadron Commander, And Founder Of Eastern Air Lines Decades After His Heroics Against The Red Baron S Flying Circus, He Again Showed A War Weary Nation What It Took To Survive Against Nearly Insurmountable Odds When He And Seven Others Endured A Harrowing Three Week Ordeal Adrift Without Food Or Water In The Pacific During World War II For The First Time, Enduring Courage Peels Back The Layers Of Hero To Reveal The Man Himself With Impeccable Research And A Gripping Narrative, John F Ross Tells The Unforgettable Story Of A Man Who Pushed The Limits Of Speed, Endurance And Courage And Emerged As An American Legend ENDURING COURAGE brings vividly to the reader the essence of the man who was Eddie Rickenbacker 1890 1973 Pioneer race car driver, mechanic, World War I fighter ace and squadron leader, national hero, airline executive, and controversial figure Rickenbacker looked death in the eye many times, both in war and peace, and miraculously survived each time No one who knew Rickenbacker ever forgot the experience, for he endeared himself to as many people as well as those he alienated through his brusque, hard nosed manner.My only fault with the book was the author s tendency to sometimes resort to hyperbolic, overblown prose Otherwise, ENDURING COURAGE Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed made for engrossing reading. Enduring Courage by John F RossEddie took off on a lone sortie on his first full day of command Near Billy sous les Cotes, he found five Fokkers escorting a pair of reconnaissance two seaters Pulling out his signature elan, he climbed high between between them and the sun, then pitched headlong into an attack dive Most of the pilots he killed, said Chambers, never knew what hit them Out of the sun, a quick burst and gone That was Rickenbacker This is an excellent biography about three distinct periods of Eddie Rickenbacker s life as a young race car driver, WW1 ace, and WW2 aviation advisor There is little information on his early childhood, or the years between WW1 and WW2 or the twenty five years he lived beyond WW2 so this is not technically a cradle to grave biography The rest may be a spoiler to those who don t know the story Eddie Rickenbacker was born in Columbus Ohio in 1890 to Swiss immigrants Columbus was emerging as a center for automotive innovation, only behind Detroit and Flint As a young teen Eddie was fascinated with the mechanics of automobiles and he soon went to work for the Columbus Buggy Company which by the early 1900 s was building automobiles A few years later at the age of eighteen Eddie helped design a race car for the company and the following year he raced in the Indianapolis 500 becoming one of the top drivers in the emerging sport His car was sponsored by Firestone Tire and Rubber company, also based out of Columbus The young Eddie even served as a chauffeur for the multi millionaire Harvey Firestone on cross country promotional trips The rest of the first one hundred pages follow Eddie s story through the racing ranks The number of drivers, mechanicians driver assistants , and fans who died in these early races of the automobile era was astonishingly high There is a story that follows Eddie at a racing track where the owners decided to put gravel down instead of mud and how dangerous and painful it was for the drivers since they didn t have windshields racing along at speeds in excess of seventy miles an hour Finding a solution at the Indy 500 the owners put down bricks for the driving surface and there were rapid advancements to the cars such as rearview mirrors that did away with the need for an board mechanician or spotter The race car period of Eddie s life, as told in the book, highlighted a lot of genuine drama and was quite interesting by itself As often happens with adventurous souls, Eddie became fascinated with airplanes At the Iowa State Fair in 1914, he watched awestruck as Lincoln Beachey the most famous pilot of the day conducted aerobatics past the grandstands In 1916 while the war raged in Europe, Eddie was still a top driver traveled across the Atlantic to England to meet with his new employer, SunBeam, about race cars He was deported back to the United States as British customs officials were concerned he was a German spy largely based on his name and the fact that he many drawings of automobile parts This tweaked Eddie and by the time America declared war against Germany in March 1917, he developed a plan to recruit top race car drivers to become America s pilots in the war since there was a shortage His plan was accepted and he joined the Air Corps He began his journey in France that summer as George Patton s driver until the Aerodrome was completed in November and the drivers could train to be pilots The next one hundred pages of the book are the meat of the book and the best written We follow Eddie s rise to hero figure soaring above the front lines becoming America s ace The author does an excellent job of weaving the story beginning with Eddie s lack of training and near death experiences, his initial insecurities, the deaths of fellow pilots, his first kill and on to becoming one of the most decorated figures of WW1 Deadly as the experience was for most of the American pilots, we learn that Eddie s entire nascent 94th Aero Squadron were also fortunate in one respect They were often pitted against other inexperienced German fighter pilots In contrast during one intense period of 1917 while fighting the Red Baron, British pilots were only living, on average, two weeks On a side note, I was puzzled by how much money was invested during WW1 in aviation There were hundreds of thousands of troops in the various Air Corps France, U.S., Britain, and Germany From the best I can gather, while aviation did not play a major role in determining the outcome of the war, if one side had a major advantage the outcome would have almost certainly turned out differently.The last few chapters of the book follow Eddie in the WW2 effort Now in his forties and from the pictures looking much holder, he was still a well known national hero and owner of the Indy 500 racetrack and an aviation executive In 1941 in a flight to Atlanta, he was only one of four to survive an Eastern airlines crash outside Atlanta Eddie was just a passenger and later felt significant remorse after questioning the pilot s judgment but ultimately allowing him to continue the flight in the fog Eddie came away with significant damage to his legs The following year in late 1942 he is recruited by the War department to hand deliver a personal message to Douglas MacArthur The message was from George Marshall to tell MacArthur to cease his criticism of the Roosevelt administration MacArthur had recently escaped from Corregidor leaving his soldiers behind to endure the Bataan death march and had a personal interest to return that was causing problems for Marshall and Roosevelt Eddie was to hand deliver the message so that the Japanese could not intercept communications and find out there was trouble with the top brass Eddie was to travel by military plane, as a passenger, from Hawaii with other military officials hopscotching their way across Pacific islands As fate would have it, the B 17 that they flew had a problem with the directional equipment and the pilot overshot the refueling station, a small atoll in the middle of the Pacific and in trying to find the atoll they ran out of fuel The pilot somehow landed the plane in the ocean swells without killing the eight occupants and they quickly launched the three small life rafts with few provisions Incredibly this was Eddie s second plane crash in a year as a passenger, something he had avoided as a WW1 pilot While in the rafts in order to keep the men alive, Rickenbacker took on a mean persona Lord, how they learned to hate that man There were times when they would gladly have thrown him into the sea, granted the strength Somehow Eddie s stinging rebukes did not further deflate morale but instead stirred up such anger as to keep them focused on him, not on the unrelenting agony and proximity of a foul death I raged at them until they found reason, in the midst of their suffering, to live Unbeknownst to the crew, already two weeks lost at sea, the U.S Air Force gave up the search and declared the eight men dead Upon hearing the news, Eddie s wife traveled to Washington to meet with General Hap Arnold to convince him to continue the search After being browbeaten, Arnold agreed to continue the search for one week Meanwhile the men split the rafts up to increase their chance of being spotted despite Rickenbacker s protests In retrospect the others made the right decision, they probably would have died had they listened to Eddie Because nearly a week later the remaining seven men, one man Kaczmarczyk had succumbed to the elements, were rescued and towed 14 miles to a remote island They spent 24 days at sea The story ends here despite Rickenbacker living on for another forty years.4.5 stars This is the best book I have read about WW1 aviation and a consistent read Lindbergh by A Scott Berg and The Wright Brothers by David McCullough are two other biographies on famous aviators While they are probably better overall reads, Enduring Courage is the most exciting. In the early part of the 20th century, Eddie Rickenbacker s name was on everyone s lips..initially he was an American sports hero in the new game of auto racing Mechanically talented and self taught, he studied the workings of automobiles and racing tactics which paid off as he won race after race Auto racing was extremely dangerous in those early days with no seat belts, helmets or other safety equipment and the death rate kept climbing but Rickenbacker knew no fear Then came a turning point in his life for which he will always be remembered..WWI The use of airplanes was limited, mostly only for observation duties But Rickenbacker and several other farsighted men realized that air power was the future of warfare He immediately signed on at the infancy of a recognized segment of the military and went to Europe to change the role of a strong air based fighting force He became the Ace of Aces with 26 kills in only five months of active services.This book gives the reader a look at Rickenbacker as a not very likeable individual.coarse, profane, and argumentative But he also was not seeking fame or adulation he was only doing his job and his attitude, although sometimes unpleasant, drove him and his squadron to excellence The pilots of WWI were an elite group and were often from the upper classes of society while Eddie was an uneducated boy from Columbus, Ohio He was basically shunned by his squadron members until they realized that he had talents that they lacked.an understanding of the machine and ideas of how to survive a dogfight using methods previously not employed He might not always be liked but he was admired for his tenacity and apparent lack of fear He later admitted that there were times he was scared to death and often threw up upon landing The author addressed the life of Rickenbacker in a straightforward and honest manner and the book is a page turner, even though some of the prose gets a little purple at times Recommended. Enduring Courage Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed gets 4 Stars from me but that is really my flying background influencing my view of the book Non pilots might find it lacking in some details and not telling a full story The book covers Eddie s difficult and challenging early life through the end of WWI Then it jumps to 1941 and Eddie s survival of a commercial plane crash, then quickly jumps to his secret mission from Hap Arnold to carry a message from Roosevelt and Marshall to Gen Douglas MacArthur not a kudo message His plane crashes at sea after missing a small island refueling station and he leads the crew to survive 3 weeks at sea in small rafts.Rickenbacker s life spanned the start of the age of speed His early fame came from racing cars and this is a great part of the story What rapid progress is made in auto technology is told through Eddie s adventures in auto racing But the best part of the story is how Eddie becomes a pilot and what he had to do to get into the air Eddie is the uncouth mechanic who can fix anything among a bunch of upper class Yale, Harvard, Princeton snobs who comprise the early group of WWI pilots This is another amazing story of perseverance How Eddie teaches himself to fly is truly incredible.Wanted to read about air combat in WWI but will have to look elsewhere Plenty of fighting going on and you will learn about many of the famous pilots Lufbery, Udet, Richthofen, Mitchell, etc A decent look at one of the most famous aces.
War on the Run, Ross walked and kayaked many parts of Roger s tracks, giving him valuable on the ground experience with which to bring Roger s experiences vividly to life He is the author of
- 400 pages
- Enduring Courage
- John F. Ross
- 14 August 2018 John F. Ross