FIRST TO FLY

FIRST TO FLY                                          CHARLES BRACELEN FLOOD

First to Fly: The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Heroes Who Flew For France in World War IIf the Wright brothers’ 1903 flights in Kitty Hawk marked the birth of aviation, World War I can be called its violent adolescence—a brief but bloody era that completely changed the way planes were designed, fabricated, and flown. The war forged an industry that would redefine transportation and warfare for future generations. In First to Fly, lauded historian Charles Bracelen Flood tells the story of the men who were at the forefront of that revolution: the daredevil Americans of the Lafayette Escadrille, who flew in French planes, wore French uniforms, and showed the world an American brand of heroism before the United States entered the Great War.

As citizens of a neutral nation from 1914 to early 1917, Americans were prohibited from serving in a foreign army, but many brave young souls soon made their way into European battle zones: as ambulance drivers, nurses, and more dangerously, as soldiers in the French Foreign Legion. It was partly from the ranks of the latter group, and with the sponsorship of an expat American surgeon and a Vanderbilt, that the Lafayette Escadrille was formed in 1916 as the first and only all-American squadron in the French Air Service. Flying rudimentary planes, against one-in-three odds of being killed, these fearless young men gathered reconnaissance and shot down enemy aircraft, participated in the Battle of Verdun and faced off with the Red Baron, dueling across the war-torn skies like modern knights on horseback.

Drawing on rarely seen primary sources, Flood chronicles the startling success of that intrepid band, and gives a compelling look at the rise of aviation and a new era of warfare.
 

HUBBY'S REVIEW:
This is a book about the men or at some of the men that flew with the Lafayette Escadrille. Some of the stories are men who went and joined the French foreign legion others moved to France, and still some were rich and payed the way to fly and to fight years before the U.S. entered the First World War. Some men already knew how to fly but all did not know how to fight in the air. Plus the German planes were much more advanced than either the French or the British at the beginning. Even their guns on their planes were better. The stories of how these men ended up over in Europe and the ones that made it through the entire war were amazing. Some stories were funny and of course there were sad stories as well. Pilots that would make it through the battle in the air but not make the landing. Overall this was a good book with a lot of research. I got this book from netgalley.   I give this 4 stars.

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