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The dramatic story of the first daredevil pilots of the U.S. Air Mail Service who risked their lives daily to map new aviation routes, which are still in use today, and deliver mail throughout the U.S. It was the pilots of the U.S. Air Mail service who made it possible for flight to evolve from an impractical and deadly fad to today's worldwide network of airlines. Nickna The dramatic story of the first daredevil pilots of the U.S. Air Mail Service who risked their lives daily to map new aviation routes, which are still in use today, and deliver mail throughout the U.S. It was the pilots of the U.S. Air Mail service who made it possible for flight to evolve from an impractical and deadly fad to today's worldwide network of airlines. Nicknamed "The Suicide Club," this small but daring cadre of pilots took a fleet of flimsy World War I "Jenny" Biplanes and blazed a trail of sky routes across the country. In the midst of the Jazz Age, they were dashing, group–proud, brazen, and resentful of authority. They were also loyal, determined to prove the skeptics wrong. Mavericks Of The Sky, by Barry Rosenberg and Catherine Macaulay, is a narrative non–fiction account of the crucial, first three years of the air mail service – beginning with the inaugural New York–to–Washington D.C. flight in 1918, through 1921 when aviator Jack Knight was the first to fly across the country at night and furthermore, through a blizzard. In those early years, one out of every four men lost their lives. With the constant threat of weather and mechanical failure and with little instrumentation available, aviators relied on their wits and instincts to keep them out of trouble. Mavericks Of The Sky brings these sagas to life, and tells the story of the extraordinary lives and rivalries of those who single–handedly pulled off the great experiment. Drawing on numerous first–hand accounts, Mavericks Of The Sky brings to life the nationwide effort to establish air mail service, focusing on the exploits of the most daring and colorful pilots – pioneers who proved the great American belief that anything is possible with conviction, diligence, and perseverance.


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The dramatic story of the first daredevil pilots of the U.S. Air Mail Service who risked their lives daily to map new aviation routes, which are still in use today, and deliver mail throughout the U.S. It was the pilots of the U.S. Air Mail service who made it possible for flight to evolve from an impractical and deadly fad to today's worldwide network of airlines. Nickna The dramatic story of the first daredevil pilots of the U.S. Air Mail Service who risked their lives daily to map new aviation routes, which are still in use today, and deliver mail throughout the U.S. It was the pilots of the U.S. Air Mail service who made it possible for flight to evolve from an impractical and deadly fad to today's worldwide network of airlines. Nicknamed "The Suicide Club," this small but daring cadre of pilots took a fleet of flimsy World War I "Jenny" Biplanes and blazed a trail of sky routes across the country. In the midst of the Jazz Age, they were dashing, group–proud, brazen, and resentful of authority. They were also loyal, determined to prove the skeptics wrong. Mavericks Of The Sky, by Barry Rosenberg and Catherine Macaulay, is a narrative non–fiction account of the crucial, first three years of the air mail service – beginning with the inaugural New York–to–Washington D.C. flight in 1918, through 1921 when aviator Jack Knight was the first to fly across the country at night and furthermore, through a blizzard. In those early years, one out of every four men lost their lives. With the constant threat of weather and mechanical failure and with little instrumentation available, aviators relied on their wits and instincts to keep them out of trouble. Mavericks Of The Sky brings these sagas to life, and tells the story of the extraordinary lives and rivalries of those who single–handedly pulled off the great experiment. Drawing on numerous first–hand accounts, Mavericks Of The Sky brings to life the nationwide effort to establish air mail service, focusing on the exploits of the most daring and colorful pilots – pioneers who proved the great American belief that anything is possible with conviction, diligence, and perseverance.

30 review for Mavericks of the Sky: The First Daring Pilots of the U.S. Air Mail

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brook

    Too much data to cover in a review. If you have an interest in early (WWI-and-forward) aviation, enjoy learning about the precursor to modern technologies, or just learning about logistics, then this will be enjoyable. The head of transportation for the Post Office made it his mission to have viable airmail service up and running within DAYS (yes, days) of being tasked with it. He did it - technically. Like many great feats of engineering, there are asterisks next to the accomplishment. Did we g Too much data to cover in a review. If you have an interest in early (WWI-and-forward) aviation, enjoy learning about the precursor to modern technologies, or just learning about logistics, then this will be enjoyable. The head of transportation for the Post Office made it his mission to have viable airmail service up and running within DAYS (yes, days) of being tasked with it. He did it - technically. Like many great feats of engineering, there are asterisks next to the accomplishment. Did we get mail from DC to Chicago? YES! Did it take us 4 days and two planes, when a train takes about 16 hours to get there? Well, yeah, but we proved the concept. And when they beat the trains from, say, DC to NYC, it was a matter of an hour, and at significantly greater logistical cost (find a working plane that's fueled, get a pilot, hope the weather is clear all the way, dont get lost, hope the landing goes smoothly, and then drive the letter an hour into Manhattan from the airfield, while the train just stops right at Penn Station). So this is not so much beating the train, but rather proving it could be done. The author is very neutral in his history, not painting the overzealous, uncompassionate, and stubbon head of transportation as simply "a driven man." No, assholes are assholes. One aspect I had not considered before is that, at the start of probably just about any Federal program, there must be trailblazers. Rangers to, well, blaze trails, diggers to undertake giant waterworks projects, and (in this case) the best-of-the-best WWI pilots and aces to fly what would eventually amount to be a paper route. Seeing the metamorphosis from cowboys on horses to guys in little white trucks was eye-opening.

  2. 5 out of 5

    John

    A solid read about the launch of the US Air Mail service and some of its early successes and failures. The service was started during WWI as a way to train pilots before sending them off to fly in the war, and to prove the viability of air mail as a service. There's a lot of discussion of the big moments - the first day of DC-PHI-NYC flights, the expansion to include NYC-CHI and the eventual launch of a cross-country service. There's also a lot of discussion of the political side of things, and A solid read about the launch of the US Air Mail service and some of its early successes and failures. The service was started during WWI as a way to train pilots before sending them off to fly in the war, and to prove the viability of air mail as a service. There's a lot of discussion of the big moments - the first day of DC-PHI-NYC flights, the expansion to include NYC-CHI and the eventual launch of a cross-country service. There's also a lot of discussion of the political side of things, and how the service was supported (or not) by various politicians and administrations. There are some stories of the pilots themselves and some recounting of some of the more harrowing flights thrown in as well. The logistics of setting up the routes themselves was probably the most interesting, along with the flights themselves.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Killian

    Absolutely enlightening history of the the miracle of flight and the U. S. Air Mail. I had no idea the cost in lives and property that preceded the efficiency of mail communications we have now. If you enjoy flying or just the thought of flight, I highly recommend this book. Will read it again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim Swike

    I did not know about the story of airmail and the pilots that flew to deliver mail. This is a great story of unsung heroes that we hear very little about and an era not spoken much of. Enjoy!

  5. 4 out of 5

    John E

    Interesting topic and interesting men. Not as light a read as I expected and had a few factual errors. Overall a good book, but not gripping.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vince

    Great history of the beginning of the U.S. Postal Airmail Service.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kiri

    This book contains the nail-biting tale of how airmail got started in the U.S. It conveys a strong sense of the incredible challenge this represented, which is hard to really imagine in today's climate of regular passenger service all over the country (and world). Pilots made the attempt to fly planes with open cockpits, limited power, poor reliability, and few instruments through all sorts of weather, while the bureaucrats strove to make this a viable service in both revenue (it wasn't) and rel This book contains the nail-biting tale of how airmail got started in the U.S. It conveys a strong sense of the incredible challenge this represented, which is hard to really imagine in today's climate of regular passenger service all over the country (and world). Pilots made the attempt to fly planes with open cockpits, limited power, poor reliability, and few instruments through all sorts of weather, while the bureaucrats strove to make this a viable service in both revenue (it wasn't) and reliability (a mixed track record). Meanwhile, pilots died. And yet this push, perhaps overly ambitious for the time and technology, is what paved the way for the advances in plane design and support (weather, radio) that enable us to so easily criss-cross the skies today. 5 stars for content, 4 stars for form/writing style (mostly engaging, but some of the language is cringe-worthy - e.g., one character is described as "tall and erect like the sequoia trees of his home state of Washington" and a female pilot is "just a little sprig of a thing" and "an elfin dark-haired creature").

  8. 5 out of 5

    M.T. Bass

    “Mavericks of the Bureacracy” might be a fair alternate title for this book. While plenty of ink and/or pixels are devoted to pilots and planes, budget battles in Congress; political infighting between the Postmaster General and the U.S. Army for control of the air mail program; technological competition between planes, trains & automobiles; and postal officials butting heads with their own pilots over schedules versus safety form the back story of the government’s efforts to establish mail deli “Mavericks of the Bureacracy” might be a fair alternate title for this book. While plenty of ink and/or pixels are devoted to pilots and planes, budget battles in Congress; political infighting between the Postmaster General and the U.S. Army for control of the air mail program; technological competition between planes, trains & automobiles; and postal officials butting heads with their own pilots over schedules versus safety form the back story of the government’s efforts to establish mail delivery by air. The events here predate Charles Lindbergh and Juan Trippe, so Barry Rosenberg offers a unique perspective on the subject. I’m amazed he resisted the obvious comparison to the Poney Express—brave men relaying the mail across the county.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janine Spendlove

    I enjoyed the book - once I finally got into it. At first, it was a bit slow paced, but then I found it fascinating. Mostly because I was usually saying something like "OHMYGOSH HOW DID ANY OF THESE PILOTS SURVIVE FLYING BACK THEN???" They were nuts, absolutely nuts! They'd crash, & then go fly again. They'd fly in any weather, in clouds through mountains hoping they'd get lucky and not hit them. Get lost and land in a farmer's field to ask for directions. I mean seriously, these first few pilot I enjoyed the book - once I finally got into it. At first, it was a bit slow paced, but then I found it fascinating. Mostly because I was usually saying something like "OHMYGOSH HOW DID ANY OF THESE PILOTS SURVIVE FLYING BACK THEN???" They were nuts, absolutely nuts! They'd crash, & then go fly again. They'd fly in any weather, in clouds through mountains hoping they'd get lucky and not hit them. Get lost and land in a farmer's field to ask for directions. I mean seriously, these first few pilots were absolutely CRAZY! This book is not for everyone - but if you've got a love for history, or flying, or both, you'll enjoy it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rob Anderson

    This is the amazing story of the men who changed not only aviation- but the way we receive our mail. If you did not know-- the air postal service was set up as a way to provide new aviators with much needed experience in flying aircraft cross-country in order to prepare them for combat operations in Europe in WW I. Excellent read for any aviation or early 20th century buff!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dannyg

    A pretty good history of the beginnings of Air Mail. Most interesting is the intersection of politics with the provision of a vital service. Like most things that Government gets its hands on, some things get better while other things get worse.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pat Fahrenthold

    Interesting history of the beginning of air mail service during World War I. It made me appreciate how far we have come with industry safety measures for airlines!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    This book was a decent read - a little flowery and flamboyant at times, but it kept the focus on the men and women behind the air mail service. I especially enjoyed the epilogue.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Badly researched and terribly written.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Addie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Maier

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bob Steele

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hendrickson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jfarley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  23. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janet Manning

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robert Kline

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ron

  27. 5 out of 5

    Angie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Gossard

  29. 4 out of 5

    G. Smith

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Schroeder

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