MissedApproach
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Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:25 am

I thought I'd ask about military aviation books. Specifically, there are some books that, while being good books, are not good aviation books. Case in point: Micheal Durant's In the Company of Heroes. A good book, but the aviation stuff is too vague. Into the Mouth of the Cat is another book that isn't really aviation specific.


Then there are books that are aviation specific, but fall a little flat because they're mainly military history. Over the Beach, On Yankee Station & Alpha Strike Vietnam fit into this category. They're also good books, but a bit dry since it's kind of a dry citing of facts.


I want a book with the kind of aviation minutiae that someone who would post (or lurk) here would like to read. So, here's my "A" list:

  • Phantom Over Vietnam, John Trotti- USMC F-4 pilot, Vietnam
  • Chickenhawk, Robert Mason- US Army UH-1 pilot, Vietnam
  • When Thunder Rolled, Ed Rasimus- USAF F-105 pilot, Vietnam
  • A Trepid Aviatior: Bombay to Bankok, WW Frazer- RCAF B-24 pilot, India (WW2)
  • War in the Air, Stephen Coonts- collection of stories from various pilots, various wars
  • Starfighter, David Bashow- collection of RCAF F-104 stories

Now, is one of your favourites missing from this list? Let us in on the secret! I can't spend all of my time staring at a computer screen.
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NightHawk117
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:28 am

As for non-fiction; I would have to recommend Tom Clancy's Fighter Wing and Every Man A Tiger

Also, Stephen Budiansky's Air Power, The Men, Machines, and Ideas that revolutionized war, from Kitty Hawk to Iraq

[Edited 2005-11-14 01:30:56]
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kbfispotter
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:10 am

If you want technical books, try reading the Aerofax Series, published by Midland Publishers. They have a wonderful collection of books on the B-58, KC-135, F-22. A-12/YF-12/SR-71, Saab Grippen, V-22, F-15, IL-76, ect. Also published by the same company is the RedStar series, about Soviet era military aircraft. There is also the Military Tech series, published by Specialty Press, the US distrubutor for Midland. There is over forty books int he Military tech series on every thing from the ME-262 to the C-17.

Kris
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:26 am

I recommend: Mig Pilot, The final escape of Lt. Belenko by John Barron
Read about life in the Soviet Air Force, and about the Mig 25 he flew.
 
aeroweanie
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:32 am

From the bookshelves in my house:

Thud Ridge by Jack Broughton - opinionated USAF F-105 pilot
Going Downtown by Jack Broughton - opinionated USAF F-105 pilot
Fox Two: The Story of America's First Ace in Vietnam by Randy Cunningham and Jeff Ethell - USN F-4 Ace
Air America by Christopher Robbins - Vietnam War stories
MiG Alley by Larry Davis - Korean War air combat
...And Kill MiGs by Lou Drendel - Vietnam War air combat
Reach For the Sky by Paul Brickhill - Douglas Bader's bio (WWII UK pilot)
The One That Got Away by Kendal Burt and James Leasor - German pilot and PoW escapee
Nine Lives by Alan C. Deere - WWII UK pilot
Wing Leader by J.E. Johnson - WWII UK pilot
Fulcrum by Alexander Zuyev adn Malcolm McConnell - MiG-29 defector
MiG Pilot by John Barron - MiG-25 defector
Operation Overflight by Francis Gary Powers and Curt Gentry - U-2 pilot
Lost Black Cats by H. Mike Hua - Taiwanese U-2 pilots
Dragon Lady by Chris Pocock - U-2 stories
The U-2 Spyplane by Chris Pocock - U-2 stories
Sled Driver by Brian Shul - SR-71 pilot
The Untouchables by Brian Shul - SR-71 pilot
SR-71 Revealed; The Inside Story by Richard Graham - SR-71 pilot
SR-71; The Secret Missions Exposed by Paul Crickmore - SR-71 stories
Fire in the Sky by Amos Amir - Israeli ace
No Margin For Error by Ehud Yonay - Israel Air Force stories
Israel's Best Defense by Eliezer Cheetah Cohen - Israel Air Force stories
On Eagle's Wings by Ezer Weizman - Israel Air Force stories
Air War South Atlantic by Jeffrey Ethell and Alfred Price
Spitfire; A Test Pilot's Story by Jeffrey Quill - WWII UK pilot
Sigh For a Merlin by Alex Henshaw - WWII UK pilot
Design for Flight; The Kurt Tank Story by Heinz Conradis - Fw 190 designer
Eagles of Mitsubishi; The Story of the Zero Fighter by Jiro Horikoshi - Zero designer
Forever Flying by R.B. Bob Hoover and Mark Shaw - WWII and more..
Doolittle; A Biography by Lowell Thomas and Edward Jabolonski - WWII and more
Yeager; An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager - WWII and more

and there are more...
 
kbfispotter
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Mon Nov 14, 2005 2:58 pm

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):
Fulcrum by Alexander Zuyev adn Malcolm McConnell - MiG-29 defector
MiG Pilot by John Barron - MiG-25 defector, Dragon Lady by Chris Pocock - U-2 stories
The U-2 Spyplane by Chris Pocock - U-2 stories
Sled Driver by Brian Shul - SR-71 pilot
The Untouchables by Brian Shul - SR-71 pilot
SR-71 Revealed; The Inside Story by Richard Graham - SR-71 pilot
SR-71; The Secret Missions Exposed by Paul Crickmore - SR-71 stories, Spitfire; A Test Pilot's Story by Jeffrey Quill - WWII UK pilot, Forever Flying by R.B. Bob Hoover and Mark Shaw - WWII and more..
Doolittle; A Biography by Lowell Thomas and Edward Jabolonski - WWII and more
Yeager; An Autobiography by Chuck Yeager - WWII and more

Wow, I guess that great minds think alike (I own all of those)! While technically not on aviation, but related, I am currently reading "Titan II, a History of a Cold War Missile program" by David Stump.

I have also read and will highly recommend:
"Magnesium Overcast" by Dennis Jenkins - the story of the B-36 Peacemaker
"Hypersonic" by Dennis Jenkins and Tony Landis - the story of the X-15
"Valkyrie" by Dennis Jenkins and Tony Landis - the story of the XB-70
"The Wild Blue" by Stephen Ambrose - about the men who flew the B-24
"Skunk Works" by Ben Rich - an inside acount of the Skunk Works from Kelly Johnson's replacement
"Fighter Pilot's Heaven" by Donald Lopez - a pilot's account of flight testing the early jets
"To Fly and Fight" by Bud Anderson - the autobiography of Bud Anderson, a WWII triple Ace and squadron mate of Yeager
"At the Edge of Space" by Milton Thompson - a pilot's account of the X-15 program
"Flying without wings" by Milton Thompson - a pilot's account of the lifting body program
"Wingless Flight" by Dale Reed - an account of the lifting body program from the lead engineer and designer of the M2F1-3
"First Blue" by Robert Wilcox - the Biography of Butch Voris, founder of the Blue Angels.

I also have an extensive collection of books on spaceflight that I would love to recommend if that topic interests you.

Kris
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MissedApproach
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:20 am

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):

Ooh, quite a few of those are out of print now & a little pricey to get ahold of. Payday tomorrow though, I may order a couple from Amazon. I read Six Days of War by Michel Oren & The Yom Kippur War by Abraham Rabinovich, so the Isreali books would be interesting counterparts to those.

Quoting KBFIspotter (Reply 5):
I also have an extensive collection of books on spaceflight that I would love to recommend if that topic interests you.

Hey, if there's anything you think is good enough to be worth mentioning, feel free!
I've got Rockwell: The Heritage of North American by Bill Yenne. It provides a pretty good overview of everything from the Yale & O-47 to the B-1 & Space Shuttle. That stuff on lifting bodies sounds interesting, which one did Steve Austin fly?
 Wink
Oh, I got Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag on DVD a week ago. I would be disappointed if I rented it. It's got a bunch of crappy Hollywood gasoline explosion, planes in tight airshow formations, & fake computer cockpits superimposed on the low-level footage.
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Cadet985
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Tue Nov 15, 2005 11:37 am

If you're into Vietnam, check out "Dustoff" by Mike Novosel...he flew B-29's in WW2, then rejoined the Army after the JFK assassination to fly helicopters. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam. REALLY good book.

Marc
 
AGM114L
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Tue Nov 15, 2005 1:19 pm

Quoting Cadet985 (Reply 7):
If you're into Vietnam, check out "Dustoff" by Mike Novosel...he flew B-29's in WW2, then rejoined the Army after the JFK assassination to fly helicopters. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam. REALLY good book.

Great book! This guy spoke at my Army flight school graduation at Fort Rucker. Couldn't understand a word he said, but it was cool to meet the guy.

May I also recommend Low Level Hell by Hugh Mills, an OH-6 pilot in Vietnam. By far my favorite Military book.
My Boeing can blow up your Boeing
 
kbfispotter
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:46 am

Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 6):
Hey, if there's anything you think is good enough to be worth mentioning, feel free!

Okay, so now for a selection of books from my space shelf:
"The Race" by James Schefter - "The complete story of how America beat Russia to the moon."
"Moon Lander" by Thomas Kelley - the development of the LEM
"Chariots for Apollo" by Charles Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff - The untold story behind the race to the moon
"Moon Shot" by Alan Shepard, Deke Slayton, Jay Barbree, and Howard Benedict - the space race as told by Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton
"Lost Moon" by Jim Lovell - the Apollo 13 story as told by the mission commander, Jim Lovell
"Space Shuttle" by the Astronauts - The astronauts experiences in their own words.
"Space Shuttle" by Dennis Jenkins - the complete story of the Space shuttle from initial design concepts to the 100th mission (a must read!!!)
"At Home in Space" by Howard Benedict - an interesting look at the space program from Explorer 1 to the latest space shuttle missions
"Saturn" by Alan Lawrie - a complete history of the Saturn V rocket, includes the history of each booster segment made
"Rocket and Space Corporation Energia" by the RCS Engergia Company - a history of the Russian space company Energia, founded by Korolev
"US Space Gear" by Lillian Kozloski - a history of US space suit design
"Shuttle 1,2,3" by Nigel Macknight - a British look at the Space program. Shuttle 1 was the first edition, 2 was the second, and 3 was the third and final
"Atlas" by Chuck Warner - a History of the Atlas missile and space launcher

Kris
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Cadet985
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:41 pm

Quoting AGM114L (Reply 8):
May I also recommend Low Level Hell by Hugh Mills, an OH-6 pilot in Vietnam. By far my favorite Military book.

I'll have to look for that book...trying to learn more about the OH-6 and its use in Vietnam.

Marc
 
Contact_tower
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Nov 17, 2005 3:54 am

"100 missions north" by Ken Bell
"Tornado Down" by Nichols and PEters

Are both good.

"Sea Harrier over the Falklands" by 'Sharkey' Ward is the best by far.
 
ulfinator
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:44 am

Here are some others I didn't see above:

"My Secret War" by Richard S Drury - A1 Skyraider pilot in Vietnam (Pretty Good)
"Apache Sunrise" by Jerome M Boyle - Cobra pilot in Vietnam (Pretty Good)
"Firebirds" by Chuck Carlock - Huey gunship and slick pilot in Vietnam (Okay. Not as good as "Chickenhawk")
 
Cadet985
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Nov 17, 2005 5:51 am

Quoting Ulfinator (Reply 12):
"Firebirds" by Chuck Carlock - Huey gunship and slick pilot in Vietnam (Okay. Not as good as "Chickenhawk")

That was okay...nothing to really write home about.
 
MissedApproach
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Nov 17, 2005 7:17 am

Quoting Ulfinator (Reply 12):
"Firebirds" by Chuck Carlock

I've got that actually. I had an earlier paperback printing of Chickenhawk that I lent to one of my brothers in the '80's & never got back. When I ordered a new one from Amazon a couple of years ago they recommended Firebirds too, so I added it to get the free shipping. It's okay though, I don't feel like I got ripped off.

Great feedback- I'll probably only be able to buy a few of these each month, but I ought to have lots of reading material for the next year.
 Big grin
Keep 'em coming if you know any more.
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F14D4ever
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:09 am

Quoting KBFIspotter (Reply 9):
Okay, so now for a selection of books from my space shelf:

No space book list is complete without Carrying The Fire by Mike Collins. Many reviewers rate it the best of them all.

There's also the newly published authorized bio of Neil Armstrong, entitled First Man, by Jim Hansen.

Quoting KBFIspotter (Reply 9):
"Chariots for Apollo" by Charles Pellegrino and Joshua Stoff - The untold story behind the race to the moon

This is one of my favorites. Very well written.
"He is risen, as He said."
 
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fxramper
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Fri Dec 30, 2005 5:22 pm

Thousand Mile War, by Garfield was a good read!

Picked it up at the Admiral Chester Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg.

Any recommendations for more recent reads...Ie. Desert Storm or Iraqi Freedom?

I read Jarhead and Shooter. Looking for a new one to pick up!  Smile
 
f4wso
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Fri Dec 30, 2005 10:41 pm

Quoting MissedApproach (Thread starter):
Into the Mouth of the Cat is another book that isn't really aviation specific.

I liked this book because I later flew with one of the pilots briefly mentioned in the book.

Walt Boyne and Mark Berent have fiction novels worth reading. I have enjoyed reading Walt Boyne's Wild Blue and Eagles series. Mark Berent's five novels on Southeast Asia cover the gamut of USAF airpower.

Gary
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CX747
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Sat Dec 31, 2005 5:07 am

"Vipers in the Storm" Desert Storm F-16 pilot.


#1 all time aviation book..

"Fate is the Hunter" Ernest Gann.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
 
NightHawk117
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Sun Jan 01, 2006 3:53 pm

My favorites...

    Every Man a Tiger Tom Clancy non-fic
    Raid On the Sun Israeli raid on Osirak nuclear reactor
    Vipers in the Storm Account of Viper pilot during Desert Storm
    Fighter Wing Tom Clancy non-fic(about the FW at Mountain Home AFB[my base])
    Eye of the Viper F-16 training course at Luke AFB
    Bandits over Baghdad F-117s during Desert Storm
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N328KF
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:39 am



Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):
Sled Driver by Brian Shul - SR-71 pilot

Has anyone managed to find a copy of this anywhere for less than $250?
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
MissedApproach
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:27 pm



Quoting N328KF (Reply 20):
Has anyone managed to find a copy of this anywhere for less than $250?

Nope, & I don't think we ever will, unless a.net buys 300 copies to sell us at a discount. In the meantime, maybe you could read this?

http://www.sr-71.org/blackbird/manual/

I've picked up quite a few of these books over the last...has it been 4 years? Sea Harrier Over the Falklands, Vulcan 607, 100 Missions North, Fire in the Sky, & best of all, Dustoff. I've also gotten some others-
Low Level Hell by Hugh Mills- scout pilot in Vietnam.
None Braver by Micheal Hirsh, about USAF Pararescuemen in Afghanistan.
Black Aces High by Robert Wilcox, F-14D's of VF-41 over Kosovo.

Can you hear me now?
 
Jackonicko
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:55 pm

3: You Are not Sparrows by SJ Carr
2: F4 Phantom: A pilot's story by Robert Prest
1: Wild Blue by RJ 'Chick' Childerhose

If you read only one aviation book it should be 'Wild Blue' - if you can't find it, some of the stories are in the same author's The F-86 Sabre (Famous Aircraft Series)
 
sprout5199
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Wed Jul 02, 2008 11:02 pm

One that I would recommend is Flying Fortress by Edward Jablonski. A lot of in depth stories about the crews and the raids. Plus some very good technicial stuff, and drawings.

Dan in Jupiter
 
GPHOTO
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:40 am

How about 'Feet Wet - Reflections of a Carrier Prilot' by Rear Admiral Paul Gillcrist?

From N-3N and SNJ-5's through Corsairs and Phantoms to a final trap in an F-14 Tomcat, a fascinating career!

Regards,

Jim
Erm, is this thing on?
 
oly720man
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:40 am

Vulcan 607 about getting the plane of the title to the Falklands during the 1982 war. Amazing how close they came to not making it and the logistical nightmare of the fleet of tankers to get it and each other down there.
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
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N328KF
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:00 pm



Quoting MissedApproach (Reply 21):
Nope, & I don't think we ever will, unless a.net buys 300 copies to sell us at a discount.

This is completely bizarre. It's a widely-quoted book and yet is impossible to obtain.
When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' -Theodore Roosevelt
 
oly720man
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:26 pm



Quoting N328KF (Reply 20):
Has anyone managed to find a copy of this anywhere for less than $250?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0929823087/ref=dp_olp_2

Some at $175 here
wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
 
kaitak
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:49 pm

I've just finished reading Vulcan 607; great read. It's a fitting testament to what must have been a very stressful mission for the crews; that's a great old airplane and great to see it flying again!
 
bilgerat
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:33 pm



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 28):
Vulcan 607; great read.

Agreed! It's a very good read from start to finish.

I would also recommend "Wings On My Sleeve" - the memoirs of Captain Eric Brown RN. He joined the Fleet Air Arm at the start of the Second World War, flew as a combat pilot from escort carriers in the Atlantic, went on to become an instructor pilot and finally became the most prolific test pilot in history, flying more types than any other pilot. He is also the only pilot to have flown all the major combat aircraft from all the major combatants of the Second World War. He was also the first person to land a jet aircraft on a carrier, and was also slated to be the pilot for the British attempt to break the sound barrier.
 
Jabs
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RE: Best Non-fiction Mil Aviation Books?

Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:41 pm



Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 4):
Sled Driver by Brian Shul - SR-71 pilot



Quoting N328KF (Reply 20):
Has anyone managed to find a copy of this anywhere for less than $250?

It's even more expensive: http://www.sleddriver.com/

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