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Frank Luke: The September Rampage
by William Paul Haiber
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Info Devels Press; (May 14, 1999)

"Beside detailing Frank Luke's 18-day aerial rampage in September 1918, this well researched work covers the Arizona Balloon Buster's 21-year life span.  The biography presents Luke's life in context of time and place: his childhood, family influences, and even his school record, complete with report cards.

The author sets Luke and the 27th Aero Squadron within not only the Great War, but European history dating to the Holy Roman Empire.  Once Luke is airborne, we trace his flying career through diary entries, letters, and combat reports.  Comments of contemporaries and squadron-mates round out the picture of the young man who took fierce joy in burning Drachen but contributed to charities for French children.

Among the revelations is an explanation of Luke's forced landing that led to his death: eager for his final (unauthorized) flight, he left before his fuel was topped off.  Otherwise he may have returned to recover from the wound sustained in flight on 29 September 1918.

Illustrations include fair to good quality black and white photos plus maps and organizational charts.  Equipment lists and costs provide interesting browsing: motorcycle and sidecar, $350; Bessoneau hangar, $5,975.

For the growing legion of Luke fans, this book is a sure hit.  Our score: four out of five stars!"

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

Buy it now!

 
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