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The Canvas Falcons

The Canvas Falcons

Ref: 3072

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Price: 12.00

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{detailed description}World War I began as a glorious adventure. On the ground soldiers marched off jauntily, promising their loved ones they'd be home by Christmas. In the air, flimsy "flying crates" made of canvas and wood carried dreamy young men into the clouds in search of daring man-to-man combat. But things changed quickly. Mud, filth, and wholesale carnage were often the fate of the foot soldier, while aviators found that their lives were to be measured in days and months - and that death frequently came in a burst of flames.
The Canvas Falcons tells the full story of the air war over Europe. Using contemporary documents written by the great aces themselves, as well as interviews with survivors, Stephen Longstreet captures both the romance and the horror of combat above the Western Front. Here are the aces on both sides of the conflict: Manfred von Richthofen, "The Red Baron," who shot down eighty enemy planes; Max Immelmann, who extended the combat capabilities of the aircraft itself with his innovative aerial maneuvers; one-eyed British ace Mick Mannock, who brought down seventy-three German planes; and America's own Eddie Rickenbacker, whose twenty-six kills came in little more than one year of actual combat.
The story, however, does not begin and end with these solitary heroes. Longstreet vividly presents the technological aspects of combat aviation, and the inventors like the great Dutch engineer Anthony Fokker, whose discoveries - such as the propeller-synchronized machine gun - had horrific results that even he had not fully imagined. (It has been said that without Fokker the war against Germany would have been shortened by at least a year.) The development and use of the zeppelin as a new form of terror weapon is detailed. Longstreet also considers the teamwork of combat squadrons such as the Escadrille Lafayette and Rickenbacker's Hat-in-the-Ring Squadron. Perhaps most interesting of all is the author's accounts of the sometimes wild, reckless social life of these fliers, who often found welcome release in a bottle or a brothel.
The Canvas Falcons is a carefully documented, spirited re-creation of a world where men too young to have known much of life discovered new ways of killing and dying, a world in which the dream of innocence was shattered - to be replaced by the nightmare of total war.
{Author / Publisher / Date}by Stephen Longstreet
Published by Leo Cooper 1995 (of USA 1st. 1970) 365pp illustrated, index, appendix, bibliography. 15x22
{condition}mint, including d/j.
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