I once read a great book about marine pilot’s life in World War II: Flights of Passage, by Samuel Hines. The pilot wasn’t the world’s greatest aviator, and he wasn’t in the fighting for a much of the war. But the story was meaningful and poignant. The author, who was the pilot himself, told the story as he saw it–he could do no other.
As reviewers have pointed out, he damaged some planes and cost the taxpayers money, but I think focusing on those things misses the point of the memoir. In the book, we are introduced to both the author’s attitudes and those of his friends, his fellow pilots. These men were no saints, as was evident in the language they used in the songs they sang, but there was a war on, and they all knew they could all too easily and quickly be put into situations that could take their lives.
The book is a short read, and it is well worth the time. You will find yourself laughing at the antics and crying with the tragedies. I think this book should be required reading for college freshmen.