Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Recommendation

If you're looking for a good book to read, check out Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat by Dan Hampton. I soaked up the Kindle edition while travelling, and not only enjoyed it but felt more educated about the USAF by the end of it.

I'm not going to reprint the author's credentials, but he's highly decorated and a very well respected pilot, flying "wild weasel" missions in an F-16 over Iraq in both Gulf Wars. The action he recounts is thrilling, the danger is palpable, and the insights are informative. I found the book slowed down towards the latter third (if only because you're exhausted by the author's retelling of exhausting, hair-raising, seat-of-the-pants survival stories avoiding getting a SAM up the butt) but it's an easy read and rewarding to finish. He did a damn dangerous job that most of us know nothing about.

Also, I mentioned in a post that I was reading Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose, a great book about the Lewis and Clark expedition. If you've read that book, or will soon, a great follow-on is a book entitled Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson, which describes a world existent immediately after Lewis and Clark return, and is focused on the mountain men that went West in Lewis' wake. The book is unfortunately not available on Kindle, but it's worth reading if only to further enrich one's understanding of an American experience in the late 1800's. Well footnoted, it's a fascinating mid-century documentation of American oral history, pulled from primary sources still alive at the time.

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