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Aviation

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  1. 12.2 hrs • 8/1/2016 • Unabridged

    A dramatic and fascinating account of aerial combat during World War I, revealing the terrible risks taken by the men who fought and died in the world’s first war in the air Little more than ten years after the first powered flight, aircraft were pressed into service in World War I. Nearly forgotten in the war’s massive overall death toll, some 50,000 aircrew would die in the combatant nations’ fledgling air forces. The romance of aviation had a remarkable grip on the public imagination, propaganda focusing on gallant air “aces” who become national heroes. The reality was horribly different. Marked for Death debunks popular myth to explore the brutal truths of wartime aviation: of flimsy planes and unprotected pilots; of burning, screaming nineteen-year-olds falling to their deaths; of pilots blinded by the entrails of their observers. James Hamilton-Paterson also reveals how four years of war produced profound changes both in the aircraft themselves and in military attitudes and strategy. By 1918 it was widely accepted that domination of the air above the battlefield was crucial to military success, a realization that would change the nature of warfare forever.

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    Marked for Death by James Hamilton-Paterson

    Marked for Death

    12.2 hrs • 8/1/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 13.0 hrs • 6/6/2016 • Unabridged

    The Sunday Times of London top-ten bestseller from Will Iredale In May 1945, with victory in Europe established, the war was all but over. But on the other side of the world, the Allies were still engaged in a bitter struggle to control the Pacific. And it was then that the Japanese unleashed a terrible new form of warfare: the suicide pilots, or kamikaze. Drawing on meticulous research and unique personal access to the remaining survivors, Will Iredale follows a group of young men from the moment they joined up, on through their initial training, and to the final, terrifying reality of fighting against pilots who, in the cruel last summer of the war, chose death rather than risk their country’s dishonorable defeat and deliberately flew their planes into Allied aircraft carriers. A story of courage, valor, and dogged determination, The Kamikaze Hunters is a gripping account of how a few brave young men helped to ensure lasting peace.

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    The Kamikaze Hunters by Will Iredale

    The Kamikaze Hunters

    13.0 hrs • 6/6/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 9.8 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible. For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women—known as “human computers”—who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

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    Rise of the Rocket Girls

    9.8 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 4.6 hrs • 4/5/2016 • Unabridged

    On the heels of the enormous success of his masterwork The Grapes of Wrath and at the height of the American war effort John Steinbeck, one of the most prolific and influential literary figures of his generation, wrote Bombs Away, a nonfiction account of his experiences with US Army Air Force bomber crews during World War II. Now, for the first time since its original publication in 1942, this audiobook presents an intimate look into Steinbeck’s introduction to the then-nascent US Army Air Force and its bomber crew—the essential core unit behind American air power that Steinbeck described as “the greatest team in the world.”

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    Bombs Away

    Introduction by James H. Meredith
    4.6 hrs • 4/5/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 14.4 hrs • 9/15/2015 • Unabridged

    In this new edition of his classic 1970 memoir about the notorious U-2 incident, pilot Francis Gary Powers reveals the full story of what actually happened in the most sensational espionage case in Cold War history. After surviving the shoot-down of his reconnaissance plane and his capture on May 1, 1960, Powers endured sixty-one days of rigorous interrogation by the KGB, a public trial, a conviction for espionage, and the start of a ten-year sentence. After nearly two years, the US government obtained his release from prison in a dramatic exchange for convicted Soviet spy Rudolph Abel. The narrative is a tremendously exciting suspense story about a man who was labeled a traitor by many of his countrymen but who emerged a Cold War hero.

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    Operation Overflight

    By Frances Gary Powers, with Curt Gentry
    14.4 hrs • 9/15/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
    11.8 hrs • 6/2/2015 • Unabridged

    A gripping chronicle of the band of maverick fighter pilots who signed on for the suicidally dangerous top-secret “Iron Hand” program during the Vietnam War—which used revolutionary tactics to combat Soviet missile technology—from bestselling author Dan Hampton On July 24, 1965, Soviet advisors to North Vietnam launched an SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM), blowing an American F-4 Phantom out of the sky—the first of several US kills using this fearsome new technology. To counter this new weaponry, stunned Pentagon officials created a classified program—“Iron Hand”—that offered a small group of maverick pilots a chance to counter this deadly threat. Fifty years later, Dan Hampton provides a cockpit view of this highly classified military program that was a radical departure from practiced tactical jet aviation—and carried a fifty-percent casualty rate. Yet despite the odds, a band of courageous, daring, and skilled pilots—warriors who took the name Wild Weasels—risked their lives to save their Air Force brothers. Using first-hand accounts and declassified documents from both sides of the conflict, The Hunter Killers takes readers into the skies and up close to the bloody duels that left half the Weasels dead or captured. At its center are the men who risked everything to be a part of history. Hampton brings them into focus, exploring their lives, personalities, and the characteristics—a combination of ego, bravery, heroism, and duty—that motivated them. He also looks at their legacy, which continues to influence the military today.

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    The Hunter Killers

    11.8 hrs • 6/2/15 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
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  7. 11.5 hrs • 5/19/2015 • Unabridged

    On August 12, 1944, Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., heir to one of America’s most glamorous fortunes, son of the disgraced former ambassador to Great Britain, and big brother to freshly minted PT-109 hero JFK, hoisted himself up into a highly modified B-24 Liberator bomber. The munitions he was carrying that day were fifty percent more powerful than TNT. Kennedy’s mission was part of Operation Aphrodite/Project Anvil, a desperate American effort to rescue London from a rain of German V-1 and V-2 missiles. The decision to use these bold but crude precursors to modern-day drones against German V-weapon launch sites came from Air Corps high command. Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle, daring leader of the spectacular 1942 Tokyo Raid, and others concocted a plan to install radio control equipment in “war-weary” bombers, pack them with a dozen tons of high explosives, and fly them by remote control directly into the concrete German launch sites—targets too hard to be destroyed by conventional bombs. The catch was that live pilots were needed to get these flying bombs off the ground and headed toward their targets. Joe Jr. was the first naval aviator to fly such a mission. And—in the biggest man-made explosion before Hiroshima—it killed him. Alan Axelrod’s Lost Destiny is a rare exploration of the origin of today’s controversial military drones as well as a searing and unforgettable story of heroism, WWII, and the Kennedy dynasty that might have been.

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    Lost Destiny

    11.5 hrs • 5/19/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 10.2 hrs • 3/10/2015 • Unabridged

    This essential, page-turning narrative on the history of drone warfare by the acclaimed author of Rumsfeld explores how this practice emerged, who made it happen, and the real consequences of targeted killing. Assassination by drone is a subject of deep and enduring fascination, yet few understand how and why it has become our principal way of waging war. Kill Chain uncovers the real and extraordinary story of drone warfare—its origins in long-buried secret programs, the breakthroughs which made drone operations possible, the ways in which the technology works, and, despite official claims, does not work. Taking the listener inside the well-guarded world of national security, the book reveals the powerful interests—military, CIA, and corporate—that have led the drive to kill individuals by remote control. Most importantly of all, the book describes what has really happened when the theories underpinning the strategy—and the multibillion dollar contracts they spawn—have been put to the test. Drawing on sources deep within the military and intelligence establishments, Andrew Cockburn’s Kill Chain unveils the true effects, as demonstrated by bloody experience, of assassination warfare—a revelation that readers will find surprising and shocking.

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    Kill Chain by Andrew Cockburn

    Kill Chain

    10.2 hrs • 3/10/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    14.0 hrs • 1/6/2015 • Unabridged

    During the air battles that destroyed Nazi Germany’s ability to wage war, one bomb group was especially distinguished. The Hell’s Angels. At the outbreak of World War II, the United States was in no way prepared to wage war. Although the US declared war against Germany in December 1941, the country lacked the manpower, the equipment, and the experience it needed to fight. Even had an invasion force been ready, a successful assault on Nazi-occupied Europe could not happen until Germany’s industrial and military might were crippled. Because no invasion could happen without air superiority, the first target was the Luftwaffe—the most powerful and battle-hardened air force in the world. To this end, the United States Army Air Forces joined with Great Britain’s already-engaged Royal Air Force to launch a strategic air campaign that ultimately brought the Luftwaffe to its knees. One of the standout units of this campaign was the legendary 303rd Bomb Group—a.k.a. Hell’s Angels. This is the 303rd’s story, as told by the men who made it what it was. Taking their name from their B-17 of the same name, they became one of the most distinguished and important air combat units in history. The dramatic and terrible air battles they fought against Germany changed the course of the war.

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    Hell’s Angels by Jay A. Stout

    Hell’s Angels

    14.0 hrs • 1/6/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 12.5 hrs • 7/1/2014 • Unabridged

    Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific … But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of America’s Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below. The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway—a dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victory—this small band of aviators saw almost constant deployment, intense carrier combat, and fearsome casualties. Many were killed by enemy Zero fighters, antiaircraft fire, or deadly crash landings in the Pacific, while others were captured and spent years in POW camps. Yet the Enterprise’s Dauntless crews would be the first to strike an offensive blow against Japanese installations in the Marshall Islands, would be the first to sink a Japanese warship, and would shepherd the Doolittle Raiders’ bombing of Tokyo. Not until Midway, though, would Dauntless crews get the chance to settle the score. In June 1942, Japan mobilized the best of its Navy to draw out the smaller American carrier fleet for a final showdown designed to destroy the US Navy once and for all. What they didn’t anticipate was the gutsy dive-bombing pilots and gunners whose courage and skill would change the course of World War II. Drawing on dozens of new interviews and oral histories, author Stephen L. Moore brings to life inspiring stories of individual sacrifice and bravery—and the sweeping saga of one of America’s greatest triumphs.

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    Pacific Payback

    12.5 hrs • 7/1/14 • Unabridged
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  11. 17.4 hrs • 6/24/2014 • Unabridged

    The New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot and retired USAF F-16 legend Dan Hampton offers the first comprehensive popular history of combat aviation—a unique, entertaining, and action-packed look at the aces of the air and their machines, from the Red Baron and his triplane in World War I to today’s technologically expert flying warriors in supersonic jets. One of the most decorated fighter pilots in history, retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dan Hampton goes back one hundred years to tell the extraordinary story of the most famous fighter planes and the brave and daring heroes who made them legend. Drawing on his expertise, Hampton shines a spotlight on the pioneers who have ruled the air from World War I through the Cold War to today. He provides unique insight into gutsy pioneers such as Manfred von Richthofen and his red triplane and the flyboys in the iconic P-51 Mustang who faced the Nazi Luftwaffe. Here, too, is a thoughtful look at modern air warriors, including Hampton’s own exploits in the high-tech F-16 Falcon. Interwoven throughout this sweeping narrative history is Hampton’s personal account of traveling the world to find these storied aircraft. Strapping himself into the cockpit of such planes, he shares the thrill and experience of flying each. Exhilarating, told in his acclaimed high-octane style, Lords of the Sky is a fresh look at the development of aviation for history and military buffs alike.

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    Lords of the Sky

    17.4 hrs • 6/24/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 13.6 hrs • 5/13/2014 • Unabridged

    Enduring Courage is the sensational true story of Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s greatest flying ace. At the turn of the twentieth century, two new technologies—the car and airplane—took the nation’s imagination by storm as they burst, like comets, into American life. The brave souls that leaped into these dangerous contraptions and pushed them to unexplored extremes became new American heroes: the race-car driver and the flying ace. No individual did more to create and intensify these raw new roles than the tall, gangly Eddie Rickenbacker, who defied death over and over with such courage and pluck that a generation of Americans came to know his face better than the president’s. The son of poor, German-speaking Swiss immigrants in Columbus, Ohio, Rickenbacker overcame the specter of his father’s violent death, a debilitating handicap, and, later, accusations of being a German spy, to become the American military ace of aces in World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient. He and his high-spirited pilot comrades created a new kind of aviation warfare, as they pushed their machines to the edge of destruction—and often over it—without parachutes, radios, or radar. Enduring Courage is the electrifying story of the beginning of America’s love affair with speed—and how one man above all the rest showed a nation the way forward. No simple daredevil, he was an innovator on the racetrack, a skilled aerial dualist and squadron commander, and founder of Eastern Air Lines. Decades after his heroics against the Red Baron’s Flying Circus, he again showed a war-weary nation what it took to survive against nearly insurmountable odds when he and seven others endured a harrowing three-week ordeal adrift in the Pacific without food or water during World War II. For the first time, Enduring Courage peels back the layers of hero to reveal the man himself. With impeccable research and a gripping narrative, John F. Ross tells the unforgettable story of a man who pushed the limits of speed, endurance, and courage and emerged as an American legend.

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    Enduring Courage

    13.6 hrs • 5/13/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 17.4 hrs • 11/5/2013 • Unabridged

    Gifted storyteller Winston Groom, the bestselling author of Forrest Gump, has written the fascinating story of three extraordinary heroes who defined aviation during the great age of flight: Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle. These cleverly interwoven tales of their heart-stopping adventures take us from the feats of World War I through the heroism of World War II and beyond, including daring military raids and survival at sea, and will appeal to fans of Unbroken, The Greatest Generation, and Flyboys. With the world in peril during World War II, each man set aside great success and comfort to return to the skies for his most daring mission yet. Doolittle, a brilliant aviation innovator, would lead the Tokyo Raid to retaliate for Pearl Harbor; Lindbergh, hero of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, would fly combat missions in the South Pacific; and Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace, would bravely hold his crew together while facing near-starvation and circling sharks after his plane went down in a remote part of the Pacific. Groom’s rich narrative tells the intertwined stories—from broken homes to Medals of Honor (all three would receive one), barnstorming to the greatest raid of World War II, front-page triumph to anguished tragedy, and near-death to ultimate survival—of these three men who took to the sky, time and again, to become exemplars of the spirit of the “greatest generation.”

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    The Aviators by Winston Groom

    The Aviators

    17.4 hrs • 11/5/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 4.5 hrs • 11/1/2013 • Unabridged

    War in the sky for the first time in history! The first military air force, the French Lafayette Escadrille, accepts Americans to train and serve as pilots prior to America’s entry into World War I. James Norman Hall, one of these young men, describes his frightening experiences flying over enemy lines—and his soul searching when commanded to kill. He recounts his training in a French flight school on wooden bi-planes, his warm friendships with other trainees, and crash landing in German territory. After this period in his life, Hall eventually settled in Tahiti, married, raised a family, and became reacquainted with an old friend and writer, Charles Nordhoff. Together they wrote the famous novel Mutiny on the Bounty and other books, many of which became major motion pictures. 

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  15. 7.8 hrs • 6/11/2013 • Unabridged

    As America’s Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK’s favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other’s children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the Moon. As their celebrity rose—and as divorce and tragic death began to touch their lives—they continued to rally together, and the wives have now been friends for more than fifty years. The Astronaut Wives Club tells the real story of the women who stood beside some of the biggest heroes in American history.

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    The Astronaut Wives Club

    7.8 hrs • 6/11/13 • Unabridged
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  16. 1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (1)
    13.4 hrs • 3/15/2013 • Unabridged

    Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail—a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II. This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—Second Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II. A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of one thousand bombers, each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack. Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American Eighth Air Force would later classify as top secret. It was an act that Franz could never mention without facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

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    A Higher Call by Adam Makos

    A Higher Call

    By Adam Makos, with Larry Alexander
    13.4 hrs • 3/15/13 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.8 4 out of 5 stars 4.8/5 (1)
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