The Aviators by Winston Groom Analysis

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:History

Document 1

These three names are synonymous with some of the greatest achievements in American aviation history. Although primarily known for their individual successes, they shared a surprising number of common traits and experiences. Skillful aviators in their own right, their greatest contributions actually came through improvements and advances in aviation doctrine, safety, aircraft design and performance, and military or corporate leadership. Each of the three was awarded the Medal of Honor. They enjoyed close relationships with their mothers. But the brave men and women who followed the Wright brothers into the sky did so in airplanes made of wood and fabric, employed crude instruments (when any were actually used) and learned flying techniques largely through trial and error—and errors made thousands of feet in the air could be fatal.

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Airplane accidents were the norm and not the exception. The initial chapters of The Aviators remind readers just how far aviation advanced over the past century. Although Rickenbacker, Doolittle and Lindbergh were not the only men involved in aviation advances, they were personally responsible for many of the conveniences we take for granted today.  The Aviator’s middle act addresses each man’s respective military career in war and peace. Many of these German scientists were critical figures in the United States’ own nascent space program. Groom concludes The Aviators by examining his subjects’ post-war lives and continued contributions to military or commercial aviation, air safety improvements and aircraft development.   Easily the weakest part of the book, the final chapter largely glosses over this stage, despite the fact that Rickenbacker, Lindbergh and Doolittle enjoyed long, full lives and were still active men through their final years.

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 Indeed, their accomplishments in this period alone would merit inclusion in the annals of aviation history. However, Groom does not build up his subjects as infallible supermen without vice. There are a couple of occasions when he can bring each of the three subjects into his story—for instance, the trial of Billy Mitchell, the Baker Board and occasions prompting World War II. All through, Groom underscores his subjects' achievements and delicate pedals their faults. The most fascinating segment manages World War II. Doolittle's Tokyo Raid gets full scope, with some say of his later parts. The tale of Rickenbacker's crash in the Pacific likewise gets sufficient consideration, as does Lindbergh's administration as a non military personnel avionics specialist. Prepare's rich story recounts their interweaved stories- - from broken homes to Medals of Honor, traveling to the best strike of World War II, first page triumph to anguished catastrophe, and close passing to extreme survival- - as all took to the sky, on numerous occasions, to end up models of the soul of the "best age.

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" Prep (Shiloh, 1862, 2012, and so forth. ) takes his subjects from their most punctual days through World War II, when they all figured out how to help the battle against the Axis powers. Every one of the three of Groom's subjects earned their prestige by accomplishing something exceptional. Eddie Rickenbacker (1890– 1973) ascended from auto repairman to champion race auto driver and afterward turned into the best American flying pro of World War I. Douglas MacArthur, survived over three weeks on an existence pontoon in the shark-pervaded South Pacific after his plane went down, almost starving, proceeding with the mission when he recouped from the experience. Prepare lets his compassion with his subjects to some degree exceed their imperfections, eminently Lindbergh's underlying inability to perceive the fiendishness of Nazism.

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