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Books and Magazines Topics related to WWI aviation authors, books and magazines

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Old 23 May 2008, 10:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"Hostile Skies" by James J. Hudson

I just got "Hostile Skies" by James J. Hudson in the mail today. I'll let you know how it is. I just have to finish the last 25% of Two Years Before the Mast. "Hostile Skies" is non-fiction about the US Air Service in WWI. Looking forward to it. I got it for three dollars and change on Ebay in new condition (still in the plastic wrap). You probably can too. Hudson, the author, was a WWII pilot who flew 192 missions in P-47's, P-39's, and P-40's. He later attained a PhD in History and taught at Berkeley. As I said, I'll let you all know about it when I'm done.
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Old 23 May 2008, 10:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You won't be disappointed Yank. It is, IMO, the best book of the subject of the USAS. A very readable, detailed book.
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Old 4 July 2008, 05:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I forgot I wrote this. I had some reading to do on arbitration in reference to labor disputes, and have been very busy with work. In fact, I haven't even logged on here in a long time.

That said, the book was was excellent and I highly recommend it! This was a great introductory book on the subject. Very comprehensive. I think it would even be worth reading if you are an expert. There may be things in there you didn't know.

When I have more time, I'll get more detailed.

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Old 6 July 2008, 11:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One of the stories I read was quite sobering, having had the same effect on me as All Quiet on the Western Front did the first time I read it as a student; rather negative in fact.

It was about an American pilot who had landed behind enemy lines after being shot in numerous places. Apparently, his jaw was missing, his hands were shot, and there was a pool of his blood on the cockpit floor. As the Germans were approaching him, he tried to light a match next to the fuel that was pouring out of his plane in an attempt at suicide. He had no means to grasp the match, however, due the the numerous bullet wounds, and was subsequently captured and hospitalized. After the war, he became a college professor and admitted later on that he was glad he couldn't light the match. He was enjoying life despite his horrific wounds.

I had a few questions after reading this. First off, why didn't he just crash the plane? Maybe he didn't realize how bad he was until he landed? Maybe he was in shock during the flying process? He did mention how he was barely conscious while flying.
Secondly, I can't imagine the primitive facial reconstruction techniques and/or prosthetic device that had to be utilized at the time. I have an active imagination and the images aren't pretty.

It is stories like this that make me want to forget this field altogether. I don't know what keeps bringing me back. I just feel compelled. Sometimes I just want to forget about it all though. I feel the reality of WWI aviation and the feelings I have for it are unrealistically compartmentalized.

There was a song the aviators used to sing in the book that was depressing as well. It was about a pilot who had crashed and was giving orders to the mechanics before he died on the field. Basically, it lists the various parts of the engine in different parts of his body and says to take them all out and reassemble the engine. Apparently, this was sung by pilots in some kind of morbid defiance of the grim reaper; in effect, admitting the futility of life in war while taking away the power/hold/fear death held over them on a daily basis.

The Rickenbacker story I am reading now in "Fighting the Flying Circus" is having the same effect. The simple fact that he had to keep an emotional distance from his friends to prevent their potential loss during war from affecting his performance as a pilot is an indelible reminder of the dark side of war. He mentions in a number of places about how he had to be ready to die every moment while flying. Sometimes I wonder if my interest in this field has been cultured by the division of time, patriotism, colorful personalities, aircraft, nostalgia for the past, etc. It really comes down to this...men killing each other with long range projectiles in the air. It really makes me fill ill to think about it like this, but it is the truth no matter how I color it with my imagination. Words like bravery, honor, etc. all seem like manipulation to me sometimes. Wasn't it Napoleon that said something about how all the money in the world couldn't motivate men to fight, but a two cent medal can do just that? Medals are the most successful manipulative tool of all time when you think about it like that; in essence, saving the state enormous stockpiles of money.

Anyway, I am tired and need to go to bed now. Hopefully, without nightmares.

Time will fade away my memories of these stories, and I will be compelled once again to be interested. You cannot believe how many times I have almost sold my entire collection. I still might if I think anyone is interested.
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Old 7 July 2008, 03:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yank44 View Post
There was a song the aviators used to sing in the book that was depressing as well. It was about a pilot who had crashed and was giving orders to the mechanics before he died on the field. Basically, it lists the various parts of the engine in different parts of his body and says to take them all out and reassemble the engine. Apparently, this was sung by pilots in some kind of morbid defiance of the grim reaper; in effect, admitting the futility of life in war while taking away the power/hold/fear death held over them on a daily basis.
Does this ring a bell...


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain,
From the small of my back take the camshaft
And assemble the engine again."


This originated as a RFC mess song, very popular it was too.
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Old 7 July 2008, 06:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by "Junior" View Post
Does this ring a bell...


"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain,
From the small of my back take the camshaft
And assemble the engine again."


This originated as a RFC mess song, very popular it was too.
That's the one! I looked it up for you. From page 208 from Hostile Skies:

"The young aviator lay dying,
And as under the wreckage he lay,
To the mechanics assembled around him,
Those parting words did he say:

Two valve-springs you'll find in my stomach,
Three spark plugs are safe in my lung,
The prop is in splinters inside me,
To my fingers the joy-stick has clung.

Take the cylinders out of my kidneys,
The connecting rods out of my brain,
From the small of my back take the crankshaft
And assemble the engine again."
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Last edited by Yank44; 7 July 2008 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 7 July 2008, 07:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's another. Page 207 and 208 from Hostile Skies:

"A Mademoiselle from Armentieres
Parlez-vous;

A Mademoiselle from Armentieres
Parlez-vous;

A Mademoiselle from Armentieres
Sold herself for souvenirs
Hinky Dinky, Par-lez-vous."



Another song on page 172:

"Stand to your glasses, steady!
The world is a world of lies;
A cup to the dead already
And here is to the next that dies."
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Old 7 July 2008, 07:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yank44,

If you haven't already, have a shufti at this thread...

http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/mu...ess-party.html

Best,

Junior
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Old 7 July 2008, 07:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Lt. Waldo Heinrichs

I think the reference you made to story of the US pilot being wounded in flight and being captured was the story of Lt. Waldo Heinrichs of the US 95th Aero Squadron. His jaw was not shot away, but he was shot in the mouth, among other places. His account is very dramatic and vivid. He did survive the POW experience and did become a college professor after the war.

This tale is told in the book:

The Aerial Adventures of 1st Lt. Waldo Heinrichs and the 95th Aero Squadron 1917-1918 . An excellent book.

It was also part of a presentation at the 2003 Over the Front conference in Dayton, Ohio, and this presentation, along with the text of Heinricks being shot down was printed in the Summer 2004 issues of Over the Front.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Yank44 View Post
One of the stories I read was quite sobering, having had the same effect on me as All Quiet on the Western Front did the first time I read it as a student; rather negative in fact.

It was about an American pilot who had landed behind enemy lines after being shot in numerous places. Apparently, his jaw was missing, his hands were shot, and there was a pool of his blood on the cockpit floor. As the Germans were approaching him, he tried to light a match next to the fuel that was pouring out of his plane in an attempt at suicide. He had no means to grasp the match, however, due the the numerous bullet wounds, and was subsequently captured and hospitalized. After the war, he became a college professor and admitted later on that he was glad he couldn't light the match. He was enjoying life despite his horrific wounds.

I had a few questions after reading this. First off, why didn't he just crash the plane? Maybe he didn't realize how bad he was until he landed? Maybe he was in shock during the flying process? He did mention how he was barely conscious while flying.
Secondly, I can't imagine the primitive facial reconstruction techniques and/or prosthetic device that had to be utilized at the time. I have an active imagination and the images aren't pretty.

It is stories like this that make me want to forget this field altogether. I don't know what keeps bringing me back. I just feel compelled. Sometimes I just want to forget about it all though. I feel the reality of WWI aviation and the feelings I have for it are unrealistically compartmentalized.

There was a song the aviators used to sing in the book that was depressing as well. It was about a pilot who had crashed and was giving orders to the mechanics before he died on the field. Basically, it lists the various parts of the engine in different parts of his body and says to take them all out and reassemble the engine. Apparently, this was sung by pilots in some kind of morbid defiance of the grim reaper; in effect, admitting the futility of life in war while taking away the power/hold/fear death held over them on a daily basis.

The Rickenbacker story I am reading now in "Fighting the Flying Circus" is having the same effect. The simple fact that he had to keep an emotional distance from his friends to prevent their potential loss during war from affecting his performance as a pilot is an indelible reminder of the dark side of war. He mentions in a number of places about how he had to be ready to die every moment while flying. Sometimes I wonder if my interest in this field has been cultured by the division of time, patriotism, colorful personalities, aircraft, nostalgia for the past, etc. It really comes down to this...men killing each other with long range projectiles in the air. It really makes me fill ill to think about it like this, but it is the truth no matter how I color it with my imagination. Words like bravery, honor, etc. all seem like manipulation to me sometimes. Wasn't it Napoleon that said something about how all the money in the world couldn't motivate men to fight, but a two cent medal can do just that? Medals are the most successful manipulative tool of all time when you think about it like that; in essence, saving the state enormous stockpiles of money.

Anyway, I am tired and need to go to bed now. Hopefully, without nightmares.

Time will fade away my memories of these stories, and I will be compelled once again to be interested. You cannot believe how many times I have almost sold my entire collection. I still might if I think anyone is interested.
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Old 7 July 2008, 08:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The poor pilot I mentioned above was Waldo H. Heinrichs of the 95th squadron. He later became a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont. He ended up being hit 10 times, 6 by explosive bullets. He was basically a walking hospital.

Additionally, the book has pictures of pilots and their aircraft, maps, statistical tables listing all of the U.S. aces, numbers by squadron/pursuit group, and all of the Chiefs of Staff of the Air Service. I also found the anecdotal information interesting. The politics of Hap Arnold and Billie Mitchell down to the combat stories of pilots like Field Kindley are my favorite. It also discusses the evolution of tactics, the use of an independent bombing force and the results of both. I particularly liked one story from an officer who walked into a meeting of the generals where he was awed by the monstrous model that that simulated the entire battle field.

Anyway, I think I've said enough. If you don't want to read it by now, you won't want to if I add anything else.
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